So I have to be brief; this is between eating and running off to the theater to review a show and I wanted SOMETHING to post today. I mean, otherwise, mightn’t you think I was dead? Is mightn’t a word? That looks strange.
Anyway, this is a story called Unexpected Fanciness.
On Thursday night, friend K. and I met after work to go to dinner and a play. I was reviewing the play so, FREE. I do so like this reviewing gig. Not only because, well, free, but because I get to write and get paid for it. And then it gets published in the paper. And I like to imagine people reading my review over their morning coffee and saying, “That Amy. What a writer.” Although probably that doesn’t happen. ALLOW ME MY DREAMS, PEOPLE.
So I forgot to get gas (sorry, my brain’s been a mooshy squooshy mess lately) and then I had to get some on the way home and then I was like five minutes late meeting friend K. in my parking lot and she texted me all “I am here, are you?” and I texted her back as I was pulling into the lot all “Am here mow.” Mow? Like mowing a lawn? That didn’t make sense. So then I had to change it to “Um, NOW, obviously” but by then she’d already gotten out of her car and we’d said hi so that horse was already out of the barn. Mow. I’m so embarrassed. This is why I don’t text while driving; not because of potential accidents, but because of typos.
So then we took off for the restaurant, which was about 20 minutes away, but with after-work traffic, much longer of a trip. Didn’t matter, though. SO MUCH TALKING! I have not had substantial friend-K. time in a while. We’re theater friends so mostly see each other there, and talk via email, so actual outside-of-theater-time is special and infrequent. We’re both busy and VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE. (Also, she’s in the middle of producing a show, going back to school, and planning her wedding to friend A., so she’s got more valid busy-ness than I do, to be honest.)
Here is a story about friend K. We promised we would never talk about it again but I’m totally going to because…well, it’s reached the statute of limitations, I think. When we first met, there was ALL THE ANIMOSITY. This was on my part. Because I am a jerk. I saw her as a threat? For no reason at all? I got this weird thing in my head about her that she was trying to take my place at the theater and there wasn’t enough room in this town for the two of us, pilgrim? Yeah. Like I said, jerk. And once I make up my mind about someone, I don’t change it. DEAD TO ME. So we kind of went on with this weird frenemy thing for a few years, until THE BIG BLOWUP. THE BIG BLOWUP happened because she turned off some lights backstage (in order to help me out) and I STARTED YELLING AT HER TO LET ME DO MY JOB. Yes. Did I mention, jerk? Total jerk. (She was acting in the show and I was stage managing. SHE WAS DOING ME A FAVOR.)
So the next day, we had the worst email fight I’d ever had in my life. SO MANY MEAN EMAILS WERE EXCHANGED. Accusations and insults and passive-aggressive crap and it was TERRIBLE. I didn’t even want to open my email program, it was so bad. And at one point, she said something…well, I’m not going to repeat it, it’s kind of just for me. And it was SO HURTFUL. And I was shocked to tears.
Thing is? She was right. She was completely right. She wasn’t being hurtful. She was being honest. And when I took a step back to think about it, it was one of those a-ha! moments that hit you every once and a while and totally change your whole outlook on things. (And it has. To this day – like 5 years later? – I still think of that comment, and it’s changed who I am as a person. For the better. So much for the better. And I bet she barely remembers saying it. No, seriously. Sometimes the biggest moments in your life are the smallest ones.)
So the next time we saw each other, we had a moment of weirdness, then we apologized tearfully and said “WE WILL NEVER TALK ABOUT THIS AGAIN” and we haven’t, until now (and she doesn’t read this often if ever, so I don’t think she’ll see this.) And that turned frenemy K. to friend K. and someone I would totally happily jump in front of a bus for. This has, honestly, never happened before. Like I said, if someone’s dead to me, they’re dead to me. I’m a stubborn ass. But that thing she said – that took balls. Listen, I’m scary as hell when I’m angry. That she stood up to me when I was in a righteous fury and said, “No. NO. Listen, I am telling you this thing?” She won a lot of respect right there.
(And I will now freely admit: I was being a jerk. Nope, even worse, I was being an ASSHOLE. There was more than enough room for both of us at the theater. Why did I ever think there wasn’t? Why did I need it to be all about me? What is so broken in me that I needed it to be just me, and I didn’t want there to be two of us, when there’s so much work that there’s no WAY I could have done it without her, and also, it’s so much fun to work with her, I wouldn’t WANT to do it without her? Asshole. Total asshole. Weirdly broken-inside asshole.)
And now friend K. can pretty much say whatever she wants to me and I’m down with it. (And has. The other day she said something and I was all “Whaaa?” for a second, then I was like, “No, you know what? She’s right. YOU ARE RIGHT.” And she WAS. She doesn’t pull punches. Man, do I love that about her.) She’s friend K. She gets a blank check. Very few people do; she does. She’s earned it. Seven and a half years we’ve known one another. She’s earned that blank check and she can use it whenever she wants. It’s an infinite blank check. She’s one of the best people I know, and that’s not even an exaggeration. And you KNOW I love to exaggerate.
Also? Her fiancé A. got me my job. Well, he told me about it and said “Email me your resume immediately, goober.” (I don’t think he called me a goober. He might have, though. A. can call me whatever he wants. I absolutely adore him.) So there’s that. K. and A. are two of my favorite people. I don’t know where I’d be without them; I’d walk through fire for either of them. I feel so lucky to know them both. Also, I’ve already warned them – I’m going to BAWL at their wedding.
This kind of went off-topic.
Anyway, we ate dinner. Guess what I had for dinner. NO GUESS. Well, I suppose that’s kind of an impossible task, I could have eaten like almost anything, couldn’t I? You’re right, that was mean of me.
Schnitzel. I totally had schnitzel.
Then when I got home I yelled* at Ken for not telling me that schnitzel was DELICIOUS and therefore I went almost forty YEARS without trying such a thing and what a very long time that was wasted, dammit. (*Of course I didn’t really yell at him, I don’t YELL at him very often. What kind of jerky friend yells at people? Come on now, give me a little more credit than that.)
SCHNITZEL IS BATTERED MEAT. Meat! With BATTER on it! But not like fried fish or something. Like a very thin meat cutlet with a very thin batter or some sort on it and then I’m going to say probably cooked in an oven because it wasn’t at all greasy. It was DELICIOUS.
There were also other things involved like a salad (which I ate AROUND – this is how I eat a salad. I eat the leaves and I eat some of the other things but I totally don’t eat things like cucumbers or onions, and if there ARE onions, I have to pick them off before I even get STARTED, this is how much I hate onions and everything in the world onion-related.) Then with the DELICIOUS SCHNITZEL there was red cabbage, which I attempted to eat but I will never like cabbage, apparently, not ever, and also there was some sort of potato pancake thing which I ate but then it was FILLED WITH STEALTH GARLIC so I had monster dragon breath for the rest of the night and no breath mints. Remember this for later, it’s important. Also applesauce? I assume that was supposed to go on the potato pancake thingy but it was mega-sweet. I didn’t eat much of that, it tasted like pie filling. Who just eats pie filling? Heathens, is who.
THEN (I know, it was totally a night of bon vivantery) we went to the theater. The theater was only about five minutes away but my GPS was being a jerk so it didn’t direct us there smoothly so it took about ten minutes. BAD JOB TOMTOM.
We got to the theater and I said, “K., sometimes they treat me like visiting royalty when I review; sometimes they are all blasé and ‘whatever, you’re here,’ no way to tell, really.” She said, “ok, then.”
So we got to the ticket window and it was kind of magical.
“YOU’RE HERE!” the very nice lady said. She gave us our tickets and a press packet (I like when I get a press packet, it’s just a little extra touch, but it shows you care) and then said “since it’s general seating for this show, we wanted to make sure you had good seats, so we taped off a couple of seats for you. Front row aisle in the balcony – you can just seat yourselves there, or elsewhere if you’d like.”
“Um. Wow? Thanks?” I said. K. and I were DULY IMPRESSED with this. “I am FANCY,” I hissed. “YOU SO ARE!” she responded. We both marveled in my fanciness. (K.’s known me a long time. She’s well-aware I’m far from fancy and, much as I do, revels in the fact that somehow, in some way, I’m being all-of-a-sudden celebrated for fanciness.)
So we got into the theater and went up to the balcony and there…there…was a SATIN RIBBON taped over TWO SEATS with MY NAME ON IT. My name spelled wrong, but my name nonetheless.
“I know your name is spelled wrong,” said K., “but look at the bigger picture here. YOUR NAME IS ON A RIBBON ON SEATS!”
So I pulled off the ribbon among much oohs and aahs from me and friend K.
An usher ushed on over, very officiously. “You cannot SIT there!” said the usher. “Those seats are for the REVIEWER!”
K. became both a protective mamma-bear and a proud parent. “SHE IS THE REVIEWER!” she said.
“Oh! OH! I’m so SORRY!” said the usher.
“It’s ok,” I said to her. I didn’t want her to feel bad. I don’t look like a reviewer. I don’t have a little pad and my hair was all sticking up. She ushed off to ush another day.
A fairly pretty man was sitting next to me. “Well!” said the fairly pretty man, who was rugged and beardy. “I wondered who was sitting here. Someone important, I see!”
I laughed. And then promptly tripped over my purse and coat and almost face-planted. “And also clumsy,” I said. Rugged Beardy laughed in delight. I DELIGHTED HIM. However, what did I tell you to remember about dinner? I COULD NOT FLIRT WITH HIM. I had the worst breath. I spent the entire show laughing with my mouth closed. DAMN YOU GARLIC!!!
I totally saved the satin ribbon and name tag. I’m hanging it up in my home. Listen! Unexpected fanciness! How often has that happened to me, I ask you? The answer is NEVER. I was absolutely DELIGHTED.
Happily, the play was wonderful; I didn’t have to give a bad review to the theater that made me feel like a superstar (thank goodness.) It was funny and intelligent and well-acted and well-directed and only an hour long, which was nice, because I was garlic-breathed and also kind of tired and had a review to write and wanted to come home and tell people about the SATIN RIBBON OF FANCYTOWN. Dad was all, “those people were buttering you up in order to get a good review” but I assure you if the play was bad, no satin ribbon would have stopped me from saying so in the paper. I might be easily delighted but I’m not that easily bought. Now, if they’d provided CHOCOLATE or perhaps even BREATH MINTS I might have CONSIDERED swaying my review. I AM KIDDING I AM KIDDING. (No, honestly, I take the reviewing thing seriously. Perhaps way too seriously. I don’t like lying in the paper. Who’s ever going to trust me if they can’t trust my reviews? I’ve wanted to write for the paper since I knew it was a career option; I’m not going to desecrate something I consider a sacred position by SULLYING it with LIES.)
Then we drove home with more talking and laughing and awesomeness and promised to do it again soon because ALL THE FREE TICKETS YAY! and then I wrote my review and stayed up too late doing things and now I am exhausted today.
Oh, on the way home we saw what I THOUGHT was a shooting star but what was APPARENTLY a meteor shower of some sort but I totally wished on the meteor anyway. Sometimes you have to take your magic where you can find it. No, I won’t tell you what I wished for, and no, you can’t know if it came true. Do you think I’m a dilettante in the ways of wishery? If I TELL you, it DEFINITELY won’t come true! Come on now.
And that is the story of unexpected fanciness and satin ribbons and schnitzel and bon vivantery and friend K., who I almost lost many years ago because I was being a stubborn asshole for no reason at all.
Friday night: more bon vivantery! And Saturday: more working! And Sunday: DAY OFF I CANNOT WAIT!
Hope you’re all having the best weekend. Love you all to pieces. Hope you all get satin ribbons or the equivalent thereof someday, you all deserve it times a million.
Oh, and I wrote this before the school shooting on Friday. I don’t…I don’t think I can talk about that right now. Hug your kiddos for me, ok? Just so tight? Thanks. My heart hurts.