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12:44 am - Sat 2.28.2009
Hope Abides

Hope Abides

My audition for The Mentalist was Thursday (For the record, I didn't get it - I would have heard before now).

It was a "producer session", so it was on the Warner Bros lot, and that's always nice - Driving through the gate, getting my little "visitor pass" and so forth, makes it feel like I'm actually "in the business", and a much bigger deal than going to a casting director's office.

The audition went fine. I felt very upbeat immediately afterward, before I was assailed by the the inevitable self-doubts (And even then I was able to employ some positive self-talk, to say, "Come on, Self! Don't do me like that - You know you rocked their world...!").

The good times were threatened again by the drive home, in afternoon rush-hour traffic (Even though I've lived in L.A. for eight years now, I don't have to deal with rush-hour traffic very often, so I'm not used to it and find it pretty crazy-making).

But in spite of averaging ten miles an hour on the freeway, I got home in time to park the car (In a spot near the apartment), run in, grab my bike, call Elaine B. (To tell her I might be a little late), and ride to my Thursday night WW meeting...arriving only five minutes later than usual.

(For the "uninitiated" - I hate having to drive at night, because that means afterward I will have to drive around and around my neighborhood, trying to find parking. Most times, it drives me to scream and curse in frustration; I will sometimes, in my frustration, actually inflict pain upon myself, like I did when I was a - clearly disturbed - child. It is easily my least favorite thing about my life in L.A...And I'm including that time I got assaulted on Xmas Eve.)

So anyway, I had the good mood going from the audition, bolstered by the fact that I didn't have to drive to my WW meeting.

I was as chipper as I've been in quite some time (Because as you know, I've been feeling a bit...stressed lately).

That lasted until I met "Member X".

"Member X" was a new member, who got up to me at probably around 6:25 (The weigh-in time is from 6:00-6:30, then the actual meeting begins).

With a long line behind him - because everyone arrives right before the meeting's about to start - he couldn't decide whether he wanted to pay by the week, or go with the ten week coupons, or do the monthly pass.

I was fortunate there are only the three options.

"I don't know if I want to put a charge on my credit card (Dithering about that for a minute-and-a-half) much of a savings is it if I do the ten week coupons? (Editor's note: the three payment options and how they compare on a weekly basis are on a big sign on the wall) How much is it for the monthly pass? Do I have to set up the recurring payments online? (Me - "Yes, you do") Can I just pay you by the month, instead? (Me - "No, we aren't set up for that") Can I pay for the coupons and get e-tools separately?... (Me - "The Monthly Pass comes with e-tools Sir, so why would you want to do that?")

This went on...and on...and the natives, my normally friendly and personable regular members, grew exceedingly restless.

I finally had to suggest that he go on into the meeting, think about the momentous choice he had in front of him, and get back to me afterward (...before I punched him in the head).

Which meant I had to go through Round 2 with him at the end of the meeting, when all Elaine and I wanted to do at that point was get through the Tally and leave.

"What products do you recommend...? What's this book about? Do I need this? What about that? Is that good? Which oatmeal is the best? What's in the basic kit? Do I need that? What did you buy?"

Along with all this was a detailed history of his weight loss efforts, and a pointless anecdote about some weight loss guru in his past, and a study he read that said weight loss was all about eating fewer calories ("Yeah, we're well aware of that amazing discovery, Sir...").

Clearly, he was lonely and needy, and I genuinely try to be understanding about these things, since I'm pretty lonely and needy myself these days.

But there are limits to my energy and patience, and he drained me of every drop of joy I'd come in with earlier (In a service situation, it's not just that someone this "labor intensive" is annoying all by themselves; they also succeed in throwing your entire evening off, because they then make everyone you have to deal with afterward more impatient. And the extra time you've had to take with them is time you haven't gotten to all the other things you need to do).

But eventually he left, and the Tally was finished, and I got on my bike to go home (After fighting off a powerful desire to go to Subway first).

And my knees started aching so badly that I was on and off the bike all the way home, half-riding and half-walking (Between "Member X" and my knees, I got home an hour later than usual).

I would say, in the past couple weeks, that right after financial worries, the chronic knee pain I'm feeling when bike riding has been my biggest concern (Followed by the return of what feels, for all the world, like hernia pain. Which, as you might remember, I'm not supposed to be feeling anymore...since I had my @#$! hernia fixed back in December).

By the time I got home, not only was the "joy" I'd felt earlier completely gone, but I was about as deeply depressed as I get (Which for the record, is pretty damned deep); I was tired, my knees ached, and I was back to worrying about money. And not just worrying about money, but worrying about money...and the grim possibility of more surgery (Which, in turn, led to more worrying about money - This is so not a good time for me to be unable to work, or audition for gigs that could get me out of the financial hole I'm in).

I was so down, so much feeling the bottom dropping out of my sad little world, so tear-ful and fearful, that I had a moment where I regretted given up binge drinking - Cause I desperately needed to vent, but couldn't call Jane (In the middle of the night, Michigan time) without the dis-inhibiting effect of copious amounts of alcohol.

(My not-drinking: The gift to Jane that keeps on giving...)

(And I couldn't call Cary because I'm feeling like every conversation I have with him these days, whether either of us mean for it to or not, has an awkward subtext, where it seems like I'm asking him for money and it seems like he's telling me that's not gonna happen.)

But yesterday I talked to Lynn K., and it reminded me that food stamps are coming, and that's going to help.

And I'm working two more WW meetings on Sunday (My typical member meeting, and the meeting before that)...and that's going to help.

And in the afternoon, I got an email notice that I have a commercial audition on Monday...and that could potentially help big-time.

Hope abides...and life goes on.

But it's gotten quite late, I have a morning WW meeting, and I should be hitting the sack.


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