Friday, August 12, 2011

A Movie Moment

As I hurried out to the water’s edge to sing at the receding dusk tonight, I didn’t think to bring my phone. I so rarely go anywhere without my phone that it made me pause. I thought briefly that I should go get it. Then I remembered the last time something big happened before I had a cell phone where having that phone would have changed things. It was almost exactly eleven years ago. Eleven years. My God. My girlfriend and I had broken up. And my theatre company had three deaths in 3 months. One cancer, one AIDS and one suicide. Those deaths drove me to make a perverse way of choosing to seize the day. I went out and bought a used convertible. I wanted to put the top down and feel the wind through my hair. It was something I’d always wanted, but thought I didn’t deserve. But I really thought it would make me feel alive. And it did. Then I did the next thing that everyone does post-breakup… I ran away to the circus.

Specifically, I spent a month learning clowning at the ‘Dell Arte school in Blue Lake, CA - studying with Yuri Belov, former head clown of the Moscow Circus. While there, JFK Jr. died in a plane crash off of Martha’s Vineyard. And though I’ve never cared about The Kennedy’s it shook me. The first thing that I thought of was that my ex was on tour a lot, flying somewhere every week and that if she died in a plane crash I would be devastated. There was so much I hadn’t told her. So I ran to a pay phone. A full body glass phone booth. I dialed in my MCI calling card and got her at home. We talked for an hour. Me standing there cluthing the public phone to my ear. I told her I loved her and I wanted to see her as soon as I got back. She said she would absolutely not see me unless we got back together right then on the phone. I said I wanted to see her in person and look into her eyes. She said she wouldn’t see me until I made a commitment to get back together.

The next Sunday I had to get up at 6am for an 11-hour drive with nary a bathroom break. I drove with my top down which creates an effect where my head feel like it’s directly under a helicopter for a few hours after I stop driving. I had to rush back because I was starting the first day of my first training with Anne Bogart and the SITI Co. That first meeting was magical. And somehow between the drive and hearing Anne’s passionate speech, I knew what I needed to do. I raced to my ex’s house to win her back and declare my love. I ran to her door, knocked and knocked and… nothing. No response. Maybe she was hiding inside. Or at a friends. She had to come home some time, so I camped out on her doorstep. I waited. And I waited. Neither of us had cell phones. I had no way to reach her. So I waited some more, and I fell asleep sitting in front of her floor. A few hours later, my eyes fluttered open to see her standing above me. I stood, kissed her and told her I missed her. Then I told her I loved her and before I asked her where she’d been, she said she’d been waiting for me at my place. And we both burst out laughing and crying at the same time.

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