i won’t be afraid

There are definite benefits to office life.

a.) Set hours within a set number of days at a set rate of pay.  I never thought this sort of thing would be as fantastic as it is.
2.) Getting to learn a crap-tonne of information in a field in which you have absolutely no experience.
iii.) In your downtime, you can spend hours imagining Mad Men inspired ‘sequences’ all over the large and rather comfortable couch in the lobby. And that’s just fun.

In short, I kind of enjoy being a desk monkey.

My first official Chicago summer is turning out to be pretty great so far.  I’ve been getting a lot of face time in with friends down in Carbohnduhlay as well as up here and I’ve even managed to make new friends and rekindle bonds with old ones.  I’ve gone to street festivals, bars, improv performances, and world premieres (well, just the one, but it was awesome!).  And I’ve gotten back to writing again, which is the best gift I could’ve ever asked from myself.  In short, I feel happier and more stable now than I have in a long time.

For those of you who don’t know (because I haven’t updated on anything since, apparently, October), it’s been a rough year.  I gave a bad relationship a second chance and that didn’t turn out so well.  In no way to I regret doing that: we had a lot of really good times over the past seven months.  We also had some really crappy times.  We were living in a grey area and I could see things going down to a really unpleasant place.  Feelings weren’t being discussed or acknowledged, eyes were wandering, hearts were breaking; you get the idea.  I didn’t want this to explode in confusion and woe like they did before, so I called off the deal.   I wanted to end things on amicable terms and stay friends but he’s not prepared for that and I understand completely.  Sometimes it’s not possible to keep people in your life.

I spent the year working a job I loved that was failing.  I managed to survive liquidation of the store and, after a brief sojourn as yet another disenfranchised Borders victim, I was transfered to the last store in Chicago.  The people are wonderful and beautifully sarcastic and I got to keep working with my old store manager and a couple of my friends, too.  But I wasn’t getting paid enough and I fell behind on rent.  I’d been looking for a new job since January with little-to-no luck and a lot of frustration.  Then I lucked out and landed the job I’m at now.  The pay is good and the hours are stable and my bosses are two of the sweetest I’ve ever met.  I’m still technically on the payroll downtown, but I haven’t been there in a couple weeks and I don’t get much in the way of hours.  I might turn in my resignation just so they can give someone else a chance, but I will definitely keep popping by the café and seeing what those crazy kids are up to.

I worked two shows this past year.  One was lovely and frantic and fulfilling (The Last Night of Ballyhoo with Project 891), the other was a headache in a can.  A very heavy can that sat on my shoulders.  …That metaphor didn’t turn out well.  The second show I worked for was with a company that’s incredibly disorganised and caused a lot of frustrations.  My cast was lovely, my director was fantastic, but the higher ups had absolutely no regard for what I do and what I needed from them to do my job.  I couldn’t handle it.  I know that, as a stage manager, I’m prone to complaining about productions I’m working on because, let’s face it, SM-ing is pretty much the most thankless job you can get in the theatre world.  But whenever I run into problems during a production, I still manage to have fun while working on it.  I didn’t have much fun on this production.  And that makes me want to quit.  I decided to take the summer off and I’m very glad I did so.  I’ve been going to productions instead of running them.  And whether it’s a showcase for a beginning improv class or the amazing production I saw at the Goodman last night, I’m starting to remember why I love theatre so much and, more importantly, why I’ve spent so much time and energy on it.  I have spent more years of my life in a theatre than I have out of one.  That would be horrible to throw away.  But this new interest means I’m hoping (hoping!) to audition for a show next week (if I can even get a package together) and I’ve got a potential SM gig lined up with Project 891 in the fall. I’ve even gotten back to playwrighting after a shameful year-long drought and I’m in tentative talks to have Das Play performed in Indiana next year.

It’s times like these that I have flashbacks of rolling my eight-year-old eyes at my mother while she chanted, ‘I think I can, I think I can,’ at me while I worked on my science project.

This might border melodrama, but I honestly feel like this is the best I’ve ever felt about myself and my life.  Sure, there are things I’d like to change or improve, but isn’t that always the case?  I’ve still got a guitar and a mandolin I need to figure out how to play, my room is an absolute mess, and I’m perhaps further from marrying Prince Harry than I have ever been (curse you, Pippa, and your freakish, flawless body!), but I’ve got a good job, incredible friends, and moxie enough to hope.  I guess those hours of crying in therapy really did pay off.

Of course, these dreams may be shattered when I try to walk to the L after work under duress from not one, but TWO crowds of Cubs nuts.  Whoever decided to schedule two games in one day clearly has it out for me.


she will smile/and her eyes will seem to say/’do you remember/when times were good?’