Can Series #5

Again, sorry. But now I’m on a roll! (Pun may or may not be intended.)

Port-a-potties.

They used to be gross enough. But in the last however many years, some dudebro got the STABLE GENIUS idea to put urinals in there. And let us all remember the lack of a flush in a porta-potty.

Let me explain this to you, Doctor Genius Dude Bro:

Women are encouraged–and most do–to sit and pee. I hear that even men sit sometimes. You apparently never have, and just went, “Dude! Bro! I just got this GREAT idea! There’s, like, 54 square inches of real estate in this box that we’re not taking advantage of! …How bout a urinal? That way we def won’t have to touch anything in there!”

I’m assuming that’s the reason, and not some incel going, “Yo! Bruh! if we put a pee cup riiiight about here, the females will have to have their faces right in our urine!” [And then “Mwah hah hah!” I assume.]

At any rate, SOMEONE DID NOT THINK. And I’m of the mind that people should WORKSHOP their ideas. Come on, people. Get your shit together. NO PUN INTENDED.

Can Series #4.

I’m so sorry.

But scalloped toilet paper.

Can it really be that much more efficient? And honestly, paying someone to rip pieces of toilet paper over and over again for eight hours a day. Is it worth it? I’m sure it’s the job of an engineer, but come on. I’m sure they have better things to do. I’m just guessing. And I do wonder how long they sit there and mull their situation over. Like, they’re ripping tp and every so often, between once ever ten seconds and twice a day they sit up and realize what they’re doing for a living.

Or maybe they’re really into the fact that they grew up to get to play with toilet paper all day. I hope so. Everyone should find joy in their work.

And yes. I am aware of the irony of writing about the toilet my last 4 out of 5 posts.

An epiphany! …that everyone probably already knows…

…but now I do, too!

For a year, I felt so guilty about quitting my selflessly-teaching-children job to head off on my own and do this acting/narrating thing. It just seemed so counterintuitive to making the world a better place. There are so many amazing actors, all vying for the same jobs. I’m just throwing myself into the pit, it seemed, to do something lots of other people would do if I weren’t there. As opposed to teaching preschool, where you help shape tiny people into the wonderful selves the world needs them to grow up and be. And you nurture them. And encourage them in what feeds their souls. And make sure they don’t die. And deal with their parents. And also the administration.*

But preschool teaching is not my calling, and acting/throwing ideas out into the world in their proper format is.

And I realized (for lack of a less woo woo sounding name) “that calling” is everything. I started realizing that the work I am doing to improve my craft is parallel and symbiotic to the work that evolves me into a better human being.

Since I realized that, the guilt has vanished. I’m doing what I’m supposed to.

 

 

*You all know what I’m gonna say. Teachers are gods. The least we can do is respect and pay them. There. I’m done.**

**For now.

Can Series #3: They lock the women’s restroom at my therapist’s office.

Not the men’s. And in my experience, the men’s is the one that much more often needs locking.* In fact, maybe they should keep the men’s room locked and not give anyone the key, in order to keep it clean.

Of course not. I kid. I think everyone has the right to pee. This isn’t Urinetown.

So I’m offended on behalf of us all. Of course I am. I’m offended that women can’t just walk into what should be a public service, and I’m offended for the men that I assume they presume would walk right in if it weren’t locked. Men are people too, you know. And if they want to use the women’s restroom, as a friend of mine once said, let them live their truth. At the very least, we have doors on the stalls.

 

 

*How does it smell so much in there? Is it peeing onto porcelain, rather than into water? If that’s the case, they should get rid of urinals. Because it smells like a barn in there. Trust me, I know—I go in there when I need to go to the restroom at my therapist’s office.

 

 

 

 

Girl. I got BOOKED.

And not in the bad way! Not like in Moscow when they dragged me to the police station and…

Well, that’s another story.

Last week, I said my name and the line “Thanks for a nice time. I love it here*” in a German accent and sent it to my agent. Thursday, they emailed me back and said, “They want you on check avail!**” And I was very happy. I’ve only been check availed three times. And the other ones fell through.

But the other ones had told me when the production released me.*** This time, not so much. It became Friday. Then Saturday. And since the shoot they checked avail for was that day, I was kinda sad. Melancholy on the morning walk. Trying for acceptance during meditation.

But there apparently was no acceptance, because when the phone rang halfway through it, I flung open my eyes and leaped for it. It’s Saturday morning! I probably thought subconsciously. Nobody would call me Saturday morning unless I was supposed to be somewhere that I was not! I probably thought subconsciously. Let’s pretend that I Just Knew, because it’s easier and that’s how it is in books and trashy news stories.****

“Hello?” I asked.

“Amy? This is Sylvia. Did you know you’re booked?”

“No! I did not know that! I never heard!”

“You are! You are! Get over there as fast as you can!”

I jumped in the shower, checked email sporadically while Sylvia worked on finding the correct emails, and found something generic to wear. Jacob (AD? I don’t know; this is one of my first real shoots, STOP HOUNDING ME!) called and told me not to rush–they were still setting up. So I stopped rushing and left the house. Most of the way there, he called again, telling me they were ready for me. So I started rushing again.

At stoplights, I saw that the paperwork had come through. I emailed Sylvia back: “Got ’em! Almost there!”

Sylvia: “Great. HAVE FUN!”

So I did.

I arrived, met Brad, an extremely kind and welcoming man who led me inside to Robin, a beautiful but stressed costumer who asked me, “Did you bring anything?”

“No–I didn’t know what to bring,” I confessed. This stressed him out more, and I was led to the green room. I sat down, started to get out my phone with the lines, but Robin took a photo of me and whisked me off to makeup and hair. Kendall made me [more] gorgeous, Robin emerged with a shirt and jacket, I met Kate, who supplied said shirt, I tried on previously stated shirt, and returned for Kendall to put my hair into a messy bun. Note for next time you don’t know your lines: maybe talk less to the delightful makeup artist and study your script more.*****

Robin took more pictures and adjusted the collar with clips and tape and staples while Kate took a deep breath and kept repeating, “We’ll make it work. We’ll make it work.”

Jacob ushered me up the stairs, giving me a tour on the way. Despite everything happening so fast, the vibes of everyone were so chill. And I was like a kid at Disney, taking in all the sights and having just the SWELLEST time.

Then we filmed. It took about half an hour, and I did all right! Nobody stopped rolling because I messed up. (We stopped rolling because of many sounds coming from outside and downstairs.) They first filmed my scene partner who was really talented and really professional and really nice and really supportive and I couldn’t have asked for more. By the time they flipped the camera and the boom around and focused on me, I…mostly had the lines down. I was reading from files (that looked a lot like my script) for a lot of it, so that was a blessing. And I got used to being in front of the camera.

And now, when we watch tv, I’m insufferable in my head, thinking things like, “Yeah, I totally understand why it was edited this way, would I like me to extrapolate?” and “That camera angle is interesting because now I’ve seen a camera in real life, you know.” But I’m working through it with myself.

When I was packing up to go home, Ari (the director) popped his head into the green room and introduced himself to me, saying, “Normally, I’d talk to you more, but…” and I told him of course and shooed him back to the set. He didn’t have to come down and do that! But he did!

THE POINT IS that from my agent to the crew, I had the best of all times on Saturday, and I learned a hell of a lot and discovered the lair of so many amazing artists. And I learned that I CAN still learn lines like I could in the good ol’ days. I just need lots of pressure. 😜

 

 

*line changed to protect everybody and everything. Especially me.

**from what I understand of check avail, having only been there thrice (see above) they’re at the point where they’re like, “Say we did want you….Could you come?” It’s the step below being booked.

***Yes. They “release” you. It’s a much kinder way of dashing your hopes, like now you’re free from your check avail cage to spiral into the sunny sky for That Other Job. Which mostly for me involves children and being coughed on.

****And now I can put “Trashy News Stories” on my writing resume!

*****But it was HARD! I was closing my eyes much of the time as she fixed my face, and she had to stand in front of me so it was hard to look. But yes, point taken.

We Have To Talk About Single Ply (Can Series #1)

Let me tell you a story:

 

I’ve been peeing and pooping for over 45 years.

I’ve been peeing and pooping in the potty for at least 42 of those years.

 

That’s it. That’s the story. Point is, I have a lot of experience wiping my ass.

 

You’re not tricking us. You’re just disrespecting us. It hurts not to be trusted to use the bathroom.*

Math may not be totally super in this country, but I think that the vast majority of the over-5 crowd know that if you take away half the paper, you need more paper to do the job.** Just let us have it. And if you can read newsprint through said “paper”, newsflash: it’s not paper; It’s an insult.

It’s particularly galling when you’re in one of those stalls where the dispenser doesn’t roll with the paper, and you have to unroll it around the metal thing like you’re unwrapping a head wound, but it keeps tearing because it barely exists***, so you do it like eight times but your arm gets tired, or you get sick of it, or you have to be somewhere else so you just give up and use what you have which is never enough, so now you’re urine-ated. And places like these are the ones that have those rusty soap dispensers that are so ancient that nobody’s refilled the soap since the Clinton administration. It’s like an oxymoron, how you can see dirt in the old, pink soap.

 

*That brings me to Can Series #2: What’s the deal with businesses not letting the public use their restrooms? Will I use up your toilet? Helpful Hint: that’s not how that works! If it’s the paper, I’ll bring my own. If it’s the water, then get the hell out of here and stop being an asshole. We’re not in Flint. We’re in Chicago, and we have an entire Great Lakeful of water. And listen, the alternative is I stand here arguing with you and have an accident on your floor. And ok, if that’s the preferable experience for you, so be it. If that’s how you get your jollies, I say different strokes for different folks. But I ain’t cleaning that shit. You’re on your own. I, with the dignity I’ve gained from having Ulcerative Colitis for 25 years, will march out the door, cross the street, and maintain eye contact with you as I scrape my butt on the grass like a dog with the runs.

**Same with shortening the rolls. You’re fooling nobody, bud.

***Schröedinger’s toilet paper?

To whoever stole my bag at the beach while I was 30-50 feet away with my back turned for 5 minutes

Well. Then. I certainly hope you enjoy my belongings. I hope that you get lots of use out of my two pairs of goggles. I hope you use them at the same time, and see a big scary fish coming right at you. And my floatie. I hope people see you coming from miles away and that you don’t drown. And besides THE CAR KEYS, which are of ABSOLUTELY NO USE TO YOU AND MEAN A SHIT TON TO ME AND MY ENTIRE FAMILY, I hope you enjoy my ~75 rocks, which were, I’ll add, curated lovingly by me, and for the most part, smooth and beautiful. But there might also be a few sharp rocks in the bag, and I hope they cut off your nipple. Just the one.

But that wasn’t enough for you, was it? You took my shoes. My shoes, which is why I drove around barefoot and pantsless. (Ok, so the pantsless part was on me, because I didn’t put on pants to go to the beach, BECAUSE I DIDN’T THINK I WOULD BE WANDERING AROUND THE ENTIRE THING, ASKING RANDOM STRANGERS IF THEY’D SEEN MY BAG LIKE SOME KIND OF OBSESSIVE FREAK. So that’s on me.) Well, enjoy them. Both of them. Who the lonely FUCK would look at those paint-splattered, worn down, gungy, ancient flip flops and say, “You know what? I’ll grab those too”? You know what? You’re welcome to them. I think you’ll probably get about negative three years worth of wear out of them. You know, honestly, I can’t be mad. You did me quite the favor. Because I would have worn them for the rest of my days and they are actually quite unacceptable. BUT DON’T YOU DARE THINK THAT MAKES US EVEN.

And what kind of psychological trickery is that, even? If you left my crappy shoes, I would be like, “oh, I’m not going crazy–my bag is gone, and I was correct in thinking I put it here,” instead of thinking, “Did I put my stuff somewhere else and just distinctly remember putting it here because the mind is a fragile thing held together by electricity and mucus?” or “Am I actually losing my mind and I didn’t have a bag at the beach at all? I could very well be that absentminded” or “Was it the universe fucking with me? Did the universe send seagulls to pilfer my stuff?” I WILL NEVER EVER KNOW.

There was nothing in there for you. None of that stuff was yours. And yet, you decided, “Huh, maybe I’ll start open water swimming,” or “ooh, this bag’s really pretty,” or “I’m gonna take this home and not look inside until I get there and it’ll be like SURPRISE! and I love surprises!” None of that was yours. And none of it was even worth anything, because I took out my phone and wallet and left them in the car. Because sadly, YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST HUMANS WITH YOUR MOST WORTHLESS STUFF. I have my valuables with me now, motherfuckers. Amy: 2, Soulless bag thief: 1.

Oh, and hey! Why don’t you strip my raggedy ass swimsuit off my body too while you’re at it? I mean, it’s not like I could possibly be using it. Who needs clothes? WHO NEEDS ANYTHING, AM I RIGHT??

Because IT’S THE FUCKING PRINCIPLE. IT IS NOT. YOURS. You violated me, dude. And it’s not like you violated me in a vacuum. You did it during the worst week in a loooong time. Dealing with a death. Car not starting in the rain. Car not starting in the garage. Car not starting in Mundelein. Family members having to be in Mundelein. Lots of triggering feelings associated with watching the new Sandler family movie. It took me right back to being 13. Maybe you don’t remember, so I will gently remind you: BEING 13 SUCKS BIG OL’ BUFFALO BALLS.

Bottom line is, please don’t steal things. I shouldn’t have to say this. We live in a community. Let’s fucking ACT LIKE IT and look out for each other.

Happy fucking New Year, you piece of shit.

 

Sincerely,

Amy

“Sharing the Wait”

TUTA Retreat!!! So much fun.*

But the point here is Wain asked us:

What are we waiting for?

And now I wish to experience the question, wash it around in my mouth, and spit or swallow according to my mood.

What a lovely way to put things! Waiting is not inherently a bad thing. As Gandhi said, “The importance to life is not to increase its speed.”** Sometimes you wait, sometimes you don’t, and if you don’t want to wait, often you don’t have to.

At any rate, Wain contrasted it with the word “stuck.” Stuck leaves you nowhere to go. It’s a state of being. You have to actively hunt for ways to climb out of your hole. But if you’re waiting, that in itself can be an active thing. I imagine being on the tips of my toes, listening for the cue that I need to hear to continue on my way, whether “my way” is picking up a first draft, or recording in the booth, or finishing a visual art, baking bread, or going for a walk or run.

But are those cues not always necessary? Many times they’re illusions.

In TUTA, we don’t ask “how?” We ask “when?” I’m really good at asking when. It can be really annoying. But maybe it’s a good annoying.

I challenge the world to annoy itself more.***

 

*Holy hell, Adam helped me better the site and the words are so honking large.

**Thank you, my Ben.

***Especially on the national level. Many of us are waiting for equality, or a better education system, or consequences for the powerful. And the people who are not waiting are slooowly dragging us into the 21st century like a person pulling a semi with their teeth. But if everyone quit waiting…

A Learnable Moment

Hi!

I’ve been studying the Linklater voice method with Andi Arndt. It’s long, and frustrating, and brought up Some Shit that needs to be dealt with, but ultimately it’s changed my life and it’s in the process of changing my career.

I’ve consistently had unnaturally loud breaths. Many of them I’ve edited out. So many hours of editing. But as it turns out, it’s not just the throat that creates them. I’ve been narrating with tension in my chest that stems from shallow breathing, trying to keep it down, sheesh, it’s seven in the morning around here.

That hasn’t happened since Tongue Week*, where I was pretty relaxed and calm, if a little stressed out from focusing on breathing correctly. But today I was back to chest breathing, probably because of a shortened warmup. Then, for some reason, maybe frustration or maybe some push from my deeper self, I took a deep breath. From my belly.

And everything relaxed.

My large, gorgeous belly, which expanded a great deal and let in all the oxygen my body needed. And the only sounds were those of my voice, and my Voice.

That’s the work half done, right there.

 

 

*Which is a little like Shark Week, in that they’re both Weeks.