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10:23 am - Weds 11/24/04
Resisting Reductionism

Resisting Reductionism

Tues 11/23/04 (1:45 p.m.)

Okay, I thought this was at least kinda funny: I spent most of this morning writing an entry online, an entry devoted entirely to "Things To Be Happy About", but when I tried to post it, my ISP cut me off, and the entry just...went away.

So I guess I should add to my "Things To Be Happy About" list, "I'm happy I can write my journal entries ‘off-line', then copy them in Diaryland" (I'm not sure why I ever think to do things any other way, since this isn't the first time I've lost an entry to an online glitch. But anyway...).

Called Jane this morning. I was not completely thrilled with her recent characterization of me as wearing "shit-colored glasses". It seemed, to my way of thinking, dismissive, condescending, and other big words that imply something negative is going on.

Obviously, one of my "buttons" had gotten pushed: I don't like it when I feel belittled.

I was prepared to be mad for awhile, not talking to her and stuff, but then I remembered that it's Jane we're talking about here. So I called her, we worked through it rather easily, and had a nice conversation (And in a delightful two-for-one deal, I also got Mark for a few minutes, before he had to jet off to solve the ongoing Middle East crisis).

I do feel like if you know me, and know my situation, and all you get from that is a guy wearing "shit-colored glasses", you're not getting the full picture. Your view of me is easy, and reductive, and too simplistic by half. But I will try to forgive you, because my view of you probably has a similar lack of...complexity.

But more important than the picture you're getting of me is how I see myself. And I might joke about my tendency towards "the dark side", but honestly, I don't think I'm making bad stuff up out of whole cloth, seeing essentially neutral–or even positive-- situations through...well, "shit-colored glasses".

I'm a single 43 year old, with sleep apnea, working a crappy retail job, with little money, few friends, and no industry connections, trying to make it in one of the most competitive industries in the world.

And yes, I do have certain...tendencies that are not, perhaps, always the most helpful, due to my "Dickensian" childhood and whatnot. It isn't always "Candyland" inside my gigantic head, to be sure, but if you don't think my day-to-day life out here has lots of genuine...well, let's call them "challenges" instead of "problems", then you come out and try to do what I'm trying to do.

I double-dog dare ya.

Weds 11/24/04 (8:36 a.m.)

Just got off the phone with my buddy Kevin, to wish him a happy birthday (He's "39 years young" today).

It hit me, after I got off the phone, that I've been jealous of him for quite awhile now, and for doing essentially what I was doing when I lived in Lansing: Working and doing lots of theatre (Okay, I'm not jealous of the "working" part. Just the "lots of theatre" part).

(Now you tell me, would I be able to see that the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence if I were wearing "shit-colored glasses"?)

It was good to talk to him. I told him that his visit–and our trip to Vegas-- was one of the highlights of the past year (Very true), and that one of the nice things about his birthday being the day before Thanksgiving is that it reminds me of one big thing I have to be "thankful" for in my life (Which was also true, and not just me channeling my "Inner Greeting Card Writer").


I thought I was over being wounded by Jane's comment, but I'm really not. I found myself getting mad about it all over again last night at work (I tend to want to "make up" with Jane really fast, on the rare occasion when there's any tension between us. Maybe too fast sometimes, before I'm completely ready emotionally, because it alarms me to be upset with her).

It occurred to me last night that I could demonstrate what it would read like if I really saw things through "shit colored glasses":

I had the Jack-In-The-Box shoot on the 11th.

It was pretty disappointing.

Yes, I had a "dressing room" for the first time, but it was really small and not particularly comfortable, and it made me realize that I'm probably never going to be successful enough to have a really nice dressing room.

My call was at 8:00 a.m., but I didn't do anything for hours. I found myself thinking "Is anyone ever going to respect my time in this business? I could be home sleeping right now, or watching tv. All this ‘hurry up and wait' in commercials is really annoying".

The food was okay, but I've actually had better on some of the non-union shoots I've done (And they didn't even get my breakfast order right!). And of all the ethic foods they could have chosen, why did all the lunch entrees have to be Mexican? (As I used to joke back in Michigan, whenever I went out to dinner with people and we had to choose a restaurant, "I'm not really a big Mexican man...but you probably already knew that! HA! HA! HA!").

One of the actors, Brogan, seemed like an okay guy, but he was very "on", and I wasn't (I got even less sleep than usual the night before, and was very tired), so even though he wasn't much younger than I am, and no better looking, he got all the attention of the three pretty young actresses that were there. I was jealous, and it occured to me, not for the first time, that if I don't put on a little "show" for people, they aren't really interested in me.

Judy, the actress playing my "wife" in the spot, was easily 20 years older than I am. And I thought she looked it, but it still made me feel paranoid ("Do I look much older than I think I look?", I thought to myself).

In terms of the actual shoot–when we finally got around to it–I knew there wasn't going to be any real "acting" involved, but I was disappointed that I didn't even get a "reaction shot". I don't have a "moment" in the spot; I'm really just "part of the mix".

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Not a great experience, by any stretch of the imagination.

I think maybe I'll call Mary Ellen, and see if I can get my old job back at Schuler Books...

If you remember, that's not the entry I wrote after I did the shoot. But it's the entry I could have written. And in effect, it's the type of entry I could write every single day here in Diaryland, if my emotional "modus operandi" was as simple as "to look for the bad thing in any given situation, so I can get to keep being unhappy".

I'm not as simple as that. And in point of fact, no one is as simple as that.

At least not anyone I know.

(P.S. to Alan: I did the volunteer thing last year. For three months, I volunteered for the "Reading By 9:00" Program at a nearby elementary school. It didn't really "do anything" for me, but I'm not ruling out taking another crack at volunteering at some juncture. It's something that is hard to figure out with my schedule, my need to keep myself "open" for auditions, and my energy level.)


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