5.05.2015

behind the curtain

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | behind the curtain

Yesterday, I had to be three kinds of human. Mysteriously Sad Human, Blossoming Activist Human, Slightly Broken Human. And I needed to be a particular race for each of these humans, requiring an entirely new hairdo for each role. (My hair is not happy with me today. SO MUCH STYLING.)

Having nothing and everything to do with my chameleon tricks and my pounding of the city pavement, I was struck once again by how rare it is to encounter a human OF ANY TYPE these days. It broke 80 in the city, which always brings out questionable behavior in force. As I strolled to my first subway ride of the day, determined to set a relaxed pace for the hours ahead, a biker casually coasted onto the sidewalk, bringing a wide eyed stare and his sweaty mug inches in front of my face. A baffled toe on his front tire, I glared: Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? That's the choice you've made?

What he replied, emotionless and bored, as if speaking to me from another plane, one in which I did not exist further than my apparently captivating beauty. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and moved on.

Running the gauntlet of purse and perfume hawkers at 28th street, Mysteriously Sad Human headed into the first call, which involved multiple takes of crying on cue. My competition was more cutthroat than usual. It was a callback (the second and *usually* final round before getting a job, though god knows I've been to ninth and tenth callbacks), so the stakes were higher. This is when some actors will employ mind games to psyche out their competition. IT'S SUPER FUN! The waiting room was filled with mostly quiet ladies, respectful that any female in the room was readying herself to get all teary eyed. For my turn "on deck" (where you stand and wait before heading into the audition room), two actors parked themselves inches away from my face and embarked on a banal, loud conversation, shooting me odd pointed looks, emotionless and bored. Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? That's the choice you've made?

(This time, I said the mantra of the day in my head, because I'm used to silly actors and their silly ways and I refuse to validate actor silliness. I rolled my eyes and shook my head and moved on.)

In the sunshine filled streets of the West Village, Mother With Baby and a stroller the size of the Grand Canyon set her sights on me, pushing her charge directly into my path, fixing me with what can only be called a murderous stare. Walk to the right, IT'S NOT HARD I intoned, emotionless and bored, as I planted my feet on the pavement and waited for her to move around me. At this point I was Blossoming Activist Human, so no-nonsense mode was in full swing. Dirty looks all around. I think even the baby was glaring at that point. 

A roll of the eyes, the day went on, the auditions went on, the hairstyles went on, until I landed in Midtown. My competition was invisible, I was the only human in the waiting room. Truly, it was the cherry on top: Slightly Broken Human on one side of the table, twenty five Humans With Power on the other side of the table, and as far as I could tell, the definition of emotionless and bored. A handful of words were spoken apart from the audition material, most of them mine. Turnabout is fair play: their "thank you" had a double meaning; translation: Really? Seriously? That's what you're going with? THAT'S THE CHOICE YOU'VE MADE?

As I left the building, I rolled my eyes and shook my head and broke the pencil in my hand in half .

Now don't go worrying, two out of three ain't bad; there are far worse things in the world to deal with than a bad day. And hey, I returned home to the best human that I know, who is currently making some of the tastiest meatballs in Manhattan. LUCKY DOESN'T COVER IT. But a day like that does beg the question (and I question myself, as well, I'm sure I was no ray of sunshine for about 8 of those 10 hours): whatever the day might be, what if we tried to be the best definition of Human that we can personally come up with?

The day might get better.

44 comments:

  1. this is timely for me, as I got a similar stare from a bike-riding fellow this morning (mind you, he had a red light while I had the walk signal, but still he gave me a look of "move, you idiot"), and THEN I was walking by a school on 21st street during recess and heard a kid yell, "your purse is ugly!" haha, it's possible that was not directed at me and since I refused turn around and validate it with a response I will never know. anyway, i hope your day gets better!

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    1. child fashion critics! what is the world coming to?!!

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  2. Many hugs, my darling. Meatballs definitely have the power to turn bad days around. XOXO!

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  3. We walk like we drive, to the right!

    Although, I was recently in Hong Kong and my husband and I had no idea which side we should be walking on. As we passed people, some wanted to be on the left, others on the right, so I'm sure everyone just thought we were stoopid americants.

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    1. yes, isn't the rule reversed there? or is that england? i try to go with the flow in a foreign country, i'm SO hyperaware of not wanting to be a stupid american! (americant, HA.)

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  4. Lovely writing here, Marcy! My favorite definition of being the best human I can possibly be is to try to be an "ally" for anyone I come into contact with (more on that in this post: http://www.raptitude.com/2014/09/how-to-be-a-good-stranger/). This is always bound to make my day better, as it feels way, way better to know I am going to be nice to everyone, no matter what, no matter how annoying or mean the other person is. When I get a call from a coworker with an annoying request, I quickly tell myself "be an ally" and the experience becomes totally fine and just a blip on the radar, whereas if I grumble and loudly sigh and make it obvious to the other person that I'm annoyed, I end up feeling bad about myself and the day and the person, and I'm sure they feel the same. But also, I always hope that when I'm an ally, it will catch on with the person I was kind to, and they'll feel more inclined to be an ally for others. If I see someone put on their blinker in rush hour, I always let them in and give a friendly wave, hoping they'll do the same for others. (Although this definitely does not always work...I let someone in yesterday and he even waved back nicely, but then did that thing where he refuses to let the next person in and just continually slows down or speeds up. I was like, NOOO, MY LESSON TAUGHT YOU NOTHING?!?!)

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    1. I love this - I think "ally" is a wonderful word and I try to approach the world as a potential ally to all and sundry. Why my last relationship was disintegrating I thought a lot about how a romantic partner has to by your ally in life, more than any other quality or thing.

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    2. Yes, this time a million, Caroline! Partners should truly be partners and allies. I have noticed that anytime I usually feel upset with my partners, it's usually because I've started seeing him as being in opposition to me. As soon as I remember that we're allies and in it together, it becomes less about blame and more about working things out together. I only realized this in the last year or so, and I feel like I am so much happier and less stressed than I used to be!

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    3. i love this! although i would totally have to shake my fist to the heavens if i saw an ally take nothing from a lesson ;). i try to remember that a stranger might be having the worst day ever, but making a stranger an ally takes it to another level.

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  5. Oh Marcy! Sometimes people are tough. I do my best to be kind when I am out in the world, because although it can be incredibly hard, I find kindness to be contagious. And I also try to remind myself that I don't know everybody's story, and a little love goes a long way. Somedays (and some people) are harder than others, but on those days I'm happy to come home to my smiling little bundles of unconditional love (the pugs) and my husband who always makes me laugh. I try to keep my vibration high and try to bring people up in the clouds with me, instead of down in the dregs where they are. I also hide in the safe place that is my house and just avoid the miserable people too. ;)

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    1. beautifully said-- bringing people up into the clouds with you! and it really is nice to have a home base to recharge.

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  6. it's funny, M, i was running the gauntlet up 6th ave yesterday, hot and harried, and the only words in my head were words you might know: "it's a comfort to know...when you're singing the hit-the-road-blues...that anywhere else you could possibly go after new york would be a PLEASURE CRUISE."

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    1. haHA! truer words were never spoken, sung, or typed.

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  7. I find this situation as described very familiar. Two days ago on the bus ride to work, post my 100lbs-over-weight-early-morning-walk/run/walk/run-workout-while-recuperating-from-my-previous-day's-encounter-with-the-Pilates-Nazi, a man seated behind me asked me if he could ask me a question. As this was prior to my cup of coffee, my answer was no. I didn't know what he looked like and honestly didn't even know he was there until he spoke. He responded that he must look crazy. He then asked another person who apparently gave him a negative response as well. Finally he proceeded to ask/shout the air "When was the last time you lied?" ....
    ]:-| Oona, I have learned later in life that I don't give my fleeting energies to strangers and many that I actually know. Most of the time aimlessly engaging people results in a depletion of energies best used in other ways. These resources have limited renew-ability at this point. The best I can do for anyone is pray for myself & them and get out their way while hoping they get out of mine. It seems we are (or at least I am) not built to experience so much sensory input. Maybe I need to move and live amid cows.
    So when my stop came I was able to pass this man who clearly did not work 4-10s a week. I have noticed so many people who seem homeless and/or peculiarity challenged. They do NOT like being ignored but rather act like troll whom we shall NOT pass without some type of acknowledgement for threat of unknown unpleasantness.
    This is life on the other-side of the US.

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    1. wow, that question posed to the general public seems so loaded! like he was some sort of magical being in disguise that would grant a wish to someone with the right answer...

      on the flip side, there are several men i know (well, as much as you can "know" a stranger) who sort of look out for me in my hood. i don't know where they go overnight, especially in the colder months, but there they are, back in the daytime, keeping watch over the surrounding blocks. have you ever seen the movie "grand canyon"? it's that sort of feeling.

      obviously, i'm feeling better, if i'm turning men on the street into bodyguards and possibly insane people on your bus into genies ;).

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  8. I'm sorry you had a bad day. I like your mantra, mine is, 'I'll never go to bed feeling guilty about being too nice.'

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    1. VERY true! though you might feel slighted at times. still better than feeling guilty!

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  9. Ah yes, some days are really eye-poppingly WTF. Good you have (and are) a Loving Human to come home to.

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  10. I have never dealt with anything like this when I lived in RI or CT, now it is daily life. The city makes people insane.

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  11. If it's any consolation I squeed when I saw you on Elementary a few weeks ago :)

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    1. Me too. It was a such a treat.

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    2. thankya so much! it was a great set to work on.:)

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  12. That does sound like a slog of a day. Being the best human you can be is definitely the ideal, big-hearted grown up and admirable approach. You could also trying to be whatever Muppet you want to be, just for a while. Super Grover is good. Or Miss Piggy if you still need an edge. Cathartic. And since most Muppets are kind at heart, an easy segue to the ideal response.

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  13. That does sound like a slog of a day. Being the best human you can be is definitely the ideal, big-hearted grown up and admirable approach. You could also trying to be whatever Muppet you want to be, just for a while. Super Grover is good. Or Miss Piggy if you still need an edge. Cathartic. And since most Muppets are kind at heart, an easy segue to the ideal response.

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    1. I LOVE THAT. though i would mainly want to stomp around like animal. he has such an insane love for life!

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  14. It seems that being the best human you can be in New York is quite an ask. You're the one to pull it off though! Best wishes for those and all other auditions. I saw a video of the tribute to A Chorus Line at the end of a performance of Hamilton and I wanted to see you on the stage!! One day, I will!!

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    1. i saw that! i'm so happy it's going to broadway!

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  15. Clowns. I had to deal with a real Clown yesterday. The white faced, red nosed, ruffled-from-HELL version of a clown on BART. He tried to 'interact' with me. I pointed to the door and gave him a look. He then tried to berate me for hating clowns. I told him I was taking his pic and reporting him to the police (because there really is an app to do that now!) and he finally fled. All before 7am :)

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    1. i just. i. what?! if someone had captured it, it would have gone viral!

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  16. Hope your day does get better, Oona. I feel like Dorothy "Wizard of Oz", most of the time; saying, "There is no place like home." Mary

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  17. Hope you added a glass of wine to the meatballs ;) That will fix just about anything!

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    1. YOU KNOW IT. he had the perfect bottle waiting!

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  18. Yesterday I sat across from a guy who had taken off his shoes and was sitting with his naked feet curled up next to him like he was on a sofa at home (crowded train from Victoria to Brighton).
    Last week I came home on the night bus and a man are his chicken dinner and threw the bones on to the floor of the bus on the upper desk.
    What is wrong with people - just behave

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    1. ewwwwwwww. i want to ask those people "what would your mother say?!"

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  19. I think I met the same woman with the stroller yesterday. Giving me evils because she had to slightly divert her course because I happened to be on the same stretch of sidewalk. Ironic thing is I was pushing a stroller too (a double one at that) and enduring toddler meltdown but still I shouldn't have been on her sidewalk. Hope your week improves.

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    1. it did improve, i hope yours did too! now that's something i've never seen, shade given to another stroller operator! maybe she envied your double wide ;)

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  20. I don't know how you can traverse the acting world. It sounds horrific.

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    1. i'll tell you what, sometimes it really, really is. the reward is great, but getting there requires a very thick skin. and a glass of something delicious ;)

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  21. I once stopped in the middle of traffic and ran into the street to pick up a cat that had been hit by a car and yelled at the oncoming cars who didn't seem to care about me or the cat- "stop you fuckers!!" Later upon telling my tale at work a friend said to me, "don't ever lose that humanity". I say the same to you. Sometime you just have to yell into the street- STOP YOU FUCKERS!!!

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    1. ugh! that's terrible! and very true, it's so easy to lose it amongst all the muck.

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  22. Perhaps in times like these you could use my mantra - "What would Miss Marlo Thomas in 'That Girl' do?" That Girl had it goin' on. A lorazepam washed down with cabernet also takes the edge off. Just don't sew on this concoction.

    Be well.

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    1. haha! i sew strictly on liquid libation;)). and now i need to see "that girl"!

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  23. LOL i love you XO

    I believe being in public long enough (particularly on public transport) will make anyone question how many of us are truly human, on the best of days, and whether or not humanity is actually a good thing ;)

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!