11:12 am - Thursday, Aug. 28, 2003
Went to Denny's for breakfast yesterday.
I ordered steak and eggs.
I had finished my eggs (scrambled) and my hash browns, and had had maybe one bite of my steak when I suddenly–and I do mean "suddenly"–started to feel sick.
I had a bout of chronic "Morning Sickness" earlier on in my time here, where I felt like throwing up most mornings but didn't, so initially I didn't know if I was really sick or just feeling sick.
Then I started to retch, and it hit me-- "Turns out I am really sick. And if I don't get myself moving towards the restroom, I'm going to throw up right on the table here...". I moved briskly towards the bathroom, moving the little yellow "We're cleaning the bathroom" pylon out of my way, and made it to the toilet with a second or two to spare (Throwing up sucks, by the way. I've always wondered why certain physical processes–like throwing up or having a baby-- have to be such an ordeal. Why don't they just sort of...happen?).
When I got back to my table, I didn't quite know what to do. I hadn't felt sick before I went into Denny's–If I had been feeling sick, I wouldn't have went into Denny's in the first place–but on the other hand, nothing had tasted "funny", and I've never heard of "instant food poisoning", so I couldn't say for certain "Hey, your food just made me puke!".
So I sort of "took stock" of myself, thought I was okay...and finished my meal.
("And he didn't throw up again, not even once. The end.")
Mandy called this evening.
We talked for a couple hours, on a variety of subjects; Her job, the Macy's thing falling through, the bookstore, the guy she likes at her new job (But who's been driving her crazy), etc and so forth (She had some particularly amusing things to say about the "Ten Commandments" flap that's been in the news).
She wasn't having a very happy night, and of course, if you're following along, you know I was feeling a little downhearted about the commercial thing myself, but she certainly lightened my load, and I hope I provided the same service for her.
I've decided already that I love her (Actually, I decided that awhile back). And not just in a corny, "She shore is purty" kind-of-way, though that's definitely there; Nothing's going to happen between us, and that's not really the point. She just makes me feel better about life. And you've gotta appreciate the people who make you feel better about life when they come along.
In a word, I think she's pretty special.
Pat and I saw American Splendor last Thursday (At the Laemmle 5 on Sunset).
American Splendor is the story of Harvey Pekar, a file clerk from Cleveland who writes an ongoing comic book about his life, illustrated by different artists (The most famous of which is R. Crumb, of "Fritz the Cat" fame). The comics are basically just his day-to-day misadventures. No superheroes, no wild comic hijinks, just a bright, cranky, lonely, thoughtful guy, close to the bottom of the social strata, trying to make it through his days and nights intact.
Pekar is played by Paul Giamatti, but there are also appearances by the real Harvey ("The guy who's playing me doesn't look anything like me, but he's alright..."), in addition to various Harvey "incarnations" in the style of different artists who draw the comic.
(One of the interesting things about the comic is that "Harvey" looks different depending on the artist drawing him. And while I don't think this was the intent–I think Pekar just roped in whoever he could get to draw his comic for him–the effect is to visually demonstrate how people view others through their own "lens".)
I don't want to bore you by describing the whole movie–If you know about it, you don't need me to tell you about it, and if you don't know about it, you probably wouldn't be interested anyway–but Pat and I left feeling surprisingly inspired and uplifted by the whole thing (The end of the movie doesn't provide a phony, "Hollywood"-level triumph, but is a happy ending nevertheless).
I guess, in terms of my own response to the movie, I saw lots of parallels between Mr Pekar and myself (As a fellow slob, I was amused by the scene where he has his current wife over to his house for the first time, saying "I would have cleaned the place, but I didn't want to create any false impressions...". I sometimes wish I had more of that "take me or leave me" attitude). Just two smart, thoughtful guys, with dead end jobs, unlucky in love, harboring creative aspirations and a desire for acclaim, who decide(Who knows why?) that the story of their lives doesn't just merit being documented, but is a potential ongoing work of art.
Afterwards, Pat suggested a place called Carneys on Sunset (A restaurant inside a couple of train cars–reminding me of Claras, one of my favorite restaurants back in Lansing-- that served chili-everything; I wouldn't have been surprised to see "chili soda" on the menu!).
Pat was very excited about what he'd just seen, and thought we should collaborate on something.
Didn't really know what he meant exactly. If he was talking about making our lives into some sort of story for public consumption, well...I sort of do that already (Though I tend to think of this more as potential "raw material" for a story than an actual story itself). And he and I, as friends, don't really have a story to tell as of yet (He made brief mention of his being gay and my being straight, I guess as kind of an "Odd Couple" thing. But Kevin and I have been friends for years now, so I don't see being friends with a gay man as particularly "odd" anymore). But I liked his enthusiasm, and was flattered that he just assumed I "had the goods" creatively.
I've been telling myself, after the Macy's thing, that "I can't fall apart every time I don't get something...". But I think that's being unfair to myself on a couple fronts–Being bummed because something you wanted to have happen isn't going to happen doesn't necessarily constitute "falling apart". And besides, the fact that I'm particularly disappointed about this not working out has a very specific context; I thought I had an "in" with the production company, thought things were "going my way" again, and really wanted a little something extra to brag on when I got back to Lansing. Having to "regroup" after not getting something like that is just "normal".
Actually, when you think about it, I've had 45 commercial auditions, and lost out on 44 of them. Add that to the auditions I've had for other things out here that didn't work out–Club 70s, student films, a couple of plays, etc–The headshots sent to casting directors, and the 45 headshots I sent out trying to get a theatrical agent (Getting exactly one response, which was a "Thanks but no thanks"), and that's a whole bunch of rejection, much more rejection than I experienced in Lansing.
Should I be figuring out a way to push harder, to find a way to act in spite of the obstacles? Yeah, I definitely should.
But that said, I've heard a lot of "no" out here, dealt with what sometimes seems a brick wall of indifference, and haven't run back to Lansing yet. And I don't plan to.
Except for this upcoming vacation of course...
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