My few attempts to write down what my last week felt like has continually ended in a failed pile of random letters with a whiny after taste covered in old ketchup and cheap table salt. So, I did what I never do and just stepped back and waited until the noise stopped and my fingers started. And shit, looking down on these claws I sadly realize they need a manicure and a skin graph. Yet, only when hell freezes into a snow-cone will I get my cuticles pushed back and my nails painted because I refuse to waste money on prettying up my two, meaty farmer’s hands my long dead ancestors bequeathed me in their sturdy and strong ogre-appendaged DNA.
After my last blog (see last blog, complaint department 11 or list of lethargy) I thought things would perk up a bit emotionally. When rejection comes calling in this business of show I usually barf out a boo hoo and carry on. But as I had previously written, I had no carry on left in my carry-on. The tank was empty, the well was dry, and my Charlie had Sheened.
I spent a few days in bed with flu-like phantom pains. I spelled out my bruises in the blog. I brushed off the stubbed toes and went on my way. About four days later, still feeling low on gas but somewhat better, I went hiking in the canyon where I have gone every week for the past thirteen years. Now that Otto is able bodied and fiercely fast I have started taking him along to scale the heights and watch the Red Tail Hawks and ingénues circling their prey and hoping for a good catch and a full stomach. Otto loves this hike and has hoofed it many times with a mixture of awe and awesomeness no one could match.
On this particular day, as we climbed to the top of the first hill, my stomach suddenly felt as if I had beer-bonged a bucket of expired chicken curry. I continued walking, assuming that my over-priced Brie sandwich was the culprit. But before I could convince myself to never again spend ten dollars on a dollar’s worth of food, my chest tightened, my throat constricted and everything began turning white. I made sure we got to a safe landing a few yards away and placed Otto down next to me on a rock and began to see the clouds form into one, big marshmallow fluff sandwich.
For twenty minutes, 20, TWENTY minutes, I sat with my head between my knees trying to catch my breath and not faint. And in those 2O minutes, at least TWENTY people passed me by, not ONE stopping to see if I needed help. I never passed out completely, I never barfed and I never piddled in my Target yoga pants. But people, when you see a woman the color of a newly-poured sidewalk bent over gasping for air and clutching a four year old you stop and say SOMETHING, ANYTHING!!!!
“Hey there, pale face. You okay? Need some Smartwater? Want an M&M? What’s your sign? Are those real? Do you have an agent? Look at my new, completely original tattoo of an ancient Chinese symbol on my lower back just above my ass crack that means, cum what may.”
But no one said shit. I was lucid and I had water and enough food to last a fortnight but still. It was late in the afternoon and I couldn’t get down the mountain with Otto on my own while the world was spinning and my view was all cotton balls and Q-Tips.
Finally, a lovely, young lady and her brother stopped and insisted they were not going anywhere until I felt well enough to walk. They waited for half an hour. They talked to Otto. They reassured me that I was not ruining their hike and they walked us down the mountain, carrying my backpack and telling us all about their hometown of Detroit. That’s right, folks! They were NOT from L.A. but rather the Midwest, a crazy place where people stop and help strangers. I thanked the alien life forms profusely and managed to get back to the car and drive us both home without going back to the unhappy place that looked and felt like the inside of a tampon box.
Cardiogram, blood tests, abdominal ultrasound, Dave missing a day of work and a suspicion of gallstones = No… Looks like wacko had the mother of all panic attacks.
And as all of you know when the shit hits the fan the fan gets dirty and much slower. The blades keep rotating but generates much less wind velocity while engulfing the room with a powerful odor that no one, not even a healthy, young, poop-eating pup, would want to inhale.
That is when the shit is obvious, like a seriously broken femur or a thrice-cracked patella or a gallstone the size of a matzo ball. But when the shit is invisible and unidentifiable there is no stench, no waft of gross, no cloud of questionable sneaker treads. There is only an unpleasant and confusing feeling standing in your foyer next to the carpet where the real poop should be. Not being able to define what exactly has crippled you emotionally or bankrupted your buzz is the hardest thing about this hardest thing called life. I could say it was one event or even a handful of half-moments but that would be inaccurate at best.
Dave and I have both pursued this path in show business a long time. And I have had my ass handed to me so many times in so many formats that I cannot keep track or keep count without an egg timer and an abacus. That is part of this business. I know that. You arrive straight out of college with a Little Debbie snack cake haircut, some crinkled up graduation money stuffed in your baby back-pack and a pair of high-waisted 501s hoping for fame, fortune and a ticket into the On-Your-Knees Olympics. If you’re lucky you will get a gig as the Payless Shoe Source spokes person long enough to buy a car that doesn’t catch on fire at cross-walks and health insurance that covers venereal wart removal, medically necessary nose jobs and questionable, un-Asian acupuncturists.
If you are unlucky enough, as most are in this wasteland of the wanting are, you will only work as often as a solar eclipse while struggling to find meaning in a found penny facing heads up and a shoulder shrug by an wrinkled, restless assistant behind a dirty-lensed audition camera.
Most would say, buck up or shut the fuck up. Shake it till you make it and keep on trucking. Really. How reassuring it is to know that every 70’s iron on t-shirt slogan can so perfectly and completely encapsulate my tangled emotional journey through a handful of hopeful and helpless years? Not very.
What is reassuring, what has gotten me through these last few weeks are the messages and conversations from my old faithful fillies, a handful of beautiful, treasured blog comments, a forever patient husband, who should have punched me in the shin when they said I was simply losing my shit after years of yo-yo, starving- artist living, and a great friend who got down and dirty with her pinch-hitting and ass-kicking by taking Otto for the majority of this past weekend. Whatta hatta whattttt????
That sticky, chocolate-covered story is coming soon. But for now, I just want to say thanks for reading and speaking and hugging and listening and stopping and asking if I am okay and walking me down the mountain, no matter how slow I go. You all know who you are and what you did. And I am forever in your debt. And if and when any of your children tell you that they want to come to Hollywood and make movies or write movies or be in movies, lock them in their room until they have a Master’s degree and a reliable car.