I had a weekend of all the things. Every last one of them. And I should PROBABLY blog about something of great social and political import, right? (This is where you start singing “Mercedes Benz,” if you’re me. Or maybe if you’re you and you love Janis Joplin and that song always makes you grin like it does me.)
But, nah. Instead I’m going to fill you in on the latest goings-on and then I’m going to eat dinner and loaf around lazily because I’m a little exhausted. Long week. And it’s so hot. So, so hot. And going to get hotter. Look at this forecast that popped up on Google for me today:
OMG. 97° is WAY too close to 100°, right? This is weather I can’t leave buildings in and have to sit in the air conditioning and dread the drive home. (I do not recommend not having air conditioning in your car, if you can help it. It’s not a valid life choice in weather like this.) Dad swears it will be cooler at the end of the week. I will tentatively trust him on this one.
In fun news, on Friday, I will be driving 4 hours to vacation in the car with no air conditioning. Vacation = good; driving in this kind of heat without air conditioning = not good. Cross your fingers that it cools off at the end of the week for driving purposes.
BUT, when all is said and done, it will be worth it, because, VACATION! 8 days and 9 nights in the mountains where it is cool and green and quiet! And The Nephew will visit, and there will be dinner and a play with Mom, and the movies with Dad and The Nephew and my brother, and much time for reading and writing and watching movies and television and so much sleeping and eating of things cooked on grills. And apparently there is a woodchuck who lives under the camp. I want to be friends with a woodchuck! Dad says he will disown me if I do, but I’m totally going to bring him some carrots cut into hearts. So he knows I love him.
(There will also be Helper-Mule-visiting and grandmother-visiting and Dad has some sort of secret adventure planned, but I don’t get to know what it is. I fee l like it might be eating food on a boat.)
And, in the BEST news, you all get to come with me, if all goes well, because per all reports I’ve gotten, my cell phone will now work in the mountains. YAY FOR NOT BEING CUT OFF FROM CIVILIZATION!
So, this weekend. Well, Friday night I went straight from work to a play out of town, which I attended with my lovely cousin P. Cousin P. is Dad’s first cousin, so she’s a little older, but not Dad-age older. She’s also funny and irreverent and intelligent and we’ve never had grownup time before, so this was an exciting adventure, right? Right.
When I got to P.’s house, she wasn’t ready yet, but that wasn’t a problem. Guess why? Because her house is a CALVACADE OF WONDER!
I was greeted by:
- Either a very tall beagle or a foxhound! (I’m guessing foxhound.) He wanted all the petting. If I stopped paying attention for even one minute, he put his paw on my leg to remind me what I was there for.
- A squishy gray dog that I suppose is probably a cockapoo or something. I’m terrible at small dogs. It was very soft but also growly. It wanted to be petted, but then when you petted it, it growled at you, so I think it had a personality disorder. (P. took this dog in when her mom, my beloved Aunt Jan, passed away, because it was her dog. The dog only really liked Jan.)
- A black and white cat that jumped up on the couch and said a very distinct “MEOW!” to be petted. And then kept saying it. Loudly. Sometimes right in my ear. And made me laugh so hard.
- A gray and white cat that headbutted you for petting, and then jumped up and walked on its hind legs a little when you petted it in the joy of being petted.
- A beautiful calico cat that I wanted to pet very badly, but it was too shy and hiding in the kitchen and I know better than to chase after a cat that doesn’t want to be petted (even though I totally wanted to.)
P.’s son apologized for all the animals mobbing me but I told him over and over it was ok. It was the happiest household ever. I would totally be happy to have a billion animals and hang with them all day long.
Then P. was ready and we went to dinner. We ate outside because it was the first day in like ever that the humidity wasn’t insane. However, that restaurant was plagued with large shiny beetles and one totally got in my shirtsleeve and I was all “what is so scratchy OMG BUGS BUGS IN MY TOP” and we were NOT entertained by bugs in our tops and then we decided we felt like we were covered in bugs.
We talked and talked and ate and laughed and went over to the theater (which was right across the street – handy!) and P. knew all the people because it’s a small town so she kept saying “hello!” then under her breath “that’s my dentist” to me and that made me laugh.
The play was excellent. It was a new work (which can be hit or miss) about a family living in Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz’s house in Lake George (they actually lived in Lake George, but the modern-day part was fiction) and it had everything I loved – family drama and art and passion and love and the pain of loss and big deep issues like how we change over time, and how we’re not the same person when one person views us as when another person does and how two people can love each other so much, but they’re poison to one another, and need to be apart to save each other’s sanity.
And I related to so many of the things it brought up, and there were a lot of times I cried. Not all rudely, though. Just quietly. Also I nodded a lot. And at one point, an actor was giving a monologue and I wanted to get up and give him the answers he was asking for, because I knew them so well (he was asking about loss – about how, when you lose someone you love more than your own heart, you stop talking about them. He wanted to know why that happened – why would you pretend that never happened? Wouldn’t you want to honor that person, by talking about them all the time? And I wanted to shout, “No. NO. You think about that person all the time. He or she is sometimes ALL you can think about. But if you let it out, it might drown you. You box it up. You keep it inside you. It might be selfish, but it’s self-preservation, and holding it in is all that’s keeping you afloat.” I didn’t yell at the actor, though. Heckling’s not encouraged at fancy shows.)
Then I went home and wrote the review and stayed up way too late and went to bed for work the next day. Yawn.
(Also, I’m pretty sure anyone reading my reviews thinks, “Oh, that’s that girl that doesn’t hate anything.” Because I’ve been to some excellent shows this summer. And throughout my time as a reviewer, actually. I’ve probably only given negative reviews to two or three shows, total. And even in those reviews, I’ve found something nice to say. Because I can ALWAYS find something worthwhile in watching a show. Even if I hate it. I can watch the lighting, or the costumes, or the choreography, or even the props management, and think, “That’s really well done. Nice job, there.” So, yes. Probably there’s someone reading all the reviews thinking “OK, so Matt’s pretty harsh, and Carol’s pretty fair, most of the time, and Paul loves almost everything…and Amy just LOVES THEATER SO MUCH ZOMG.” And you know what? They’re not wrong. That’s not to say if a show is bad, I don’t review it fairly. I always do. I make a very clear point of always telling the truth in these things. I just think there’s no need to be mean, and that people should go into a show as informed as they can be about what they’re walking into, if they’ve read the review.)
Then Saturday I worked all day and it was busy. I should make a shortcut key for that sentence; I say it every week. HOWEVER, it’s the last Saturday I have to work until August! HOORAY! Vacation time is almost here!
Then it was off to Arlo-land for another review at the same theater I went to at the end of June to see Treat Williams. This one was Extremities (a very serious play about rape and violence, written in the early 80s) directed by Karen Allen. You all know Karen Allen, right?
FAMOUS! She was in the New York version of the play in the 80s, and came to Massachusetts to direct this version!
I read Extremities in college, but have never seen it staged, and was both excited and nervous, because I really wanted to see it (it’s a powerful piece) but also…well, triggery. Super-triggery. And I was scared I might react poorly.
Guess who was in the row right in front of me? Friend P.! I haven’t seen him in over a month because he was fancying it up out of town in a show for 5 weeks. He’s back now so the Capital District feels whole again. There’s such a loss in the area when he’s away. Also, friend C. was there! He was far across the theater so I told him he was naughty and probably in time-out. It was funny to see them there, even though they see more theater than anyone I know, because it’s so far away. I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew there.
Also in the audience was…
I was kind of the most impressed by that and kept peeking at her during the show to see what she thought. She seemed nervous (it was opening night) but pleased with the job her actors were doing. (She’s also so pretty! The internet tells me she’s 61 and she looked LUMINOUS! And even better – she looked REAL! Not even plasticy! Even though I found some internet site that tried to tell me she had all the plastic surgery, and if she did, well, it was the least obvious plastic surgery ever, so I totally don’t believe it. Way to be naturally gorgeous, Karen Allen! I see why Indiana Jones was so into you! She also seemed not-at-all actory and was interacting with people and laughing like a normal human being and I decided she just jumped up onto my list of favorite celebrity types, because I like when celebrities aren’t asshatty and “don’t TOUCH me! I AM MUY IMPORTANTO!”, you know?)
Then the show started and I was a ball of nerves and I pretty much stayed that way throughout the show. It’s a tense play. I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s not. Within the first ten minutes, you have a rape scene down center. Right in your face-area. And it’s violent. It’s really violent. And there’s swearing and screaming and your whole stomach goes into your mouth and you’re frozen into a little statue and the next day your hands kind of hurt and you realize it’s because you were twisting them together so tightly for two hours you bruised your own hands and fingers in finger-shaped pain-places.
It’s also an IMPORTANT play. About the nature of violence. About how women are treated, both before, during, and after an assault – not only by the person assaulting them, but by their friends, law enforcement, hell, even themselves. About monsters, and where they come from. About kindness, and mercy, and redemption. About your soul, and how far you’ll go to hold onto it with both hands.
Sometimes the best plays to watch aren’t the easiest plays to watch, but it’s all the more important you watch them, in that case.
(I won’t tell you what I said in the review, because it won’t publish until today or tomorrow…but I think you can tell the general tone of it from the past few paragraphs.)
Then it was driving-home time (if I didn’t have to write the review and wasn’t socially-awkward, I could have stayed and had food and met Karen Allen and told her she was luminous and that I love both Raiders of the Lost Ark AND Scrooged, but I had a long drive, I’d been up since 7, and I had to write write write. So off I went.)
Before I got on the highway, my GPS crapped out (Stockbridge hates technology, I’m sure of it) and also I realized I was going to run out of gas before I got home so I went to a shady gas station and while I was gassing up left my windows open and ALL THE MOTHS FLEW IN and then as I was driving there were MOTHS IN MY CAR and I hate moth-wing-dust more than I hate almost anything in the whole world so I kept getting the shivers. But I didn’t crash the car, so I think that’s a win.
And some of my favorite songs to sing along to all loud and obnoxious-like came on while I was driving so I sang until my throat was sore.
(This one got repeated like seven times in a row. I love it just that much.)
And that is the story of my weekend! SO MANY ADVENTURES! Sunday I relaxed, and read (finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane, review forthcoming – or maybe already published? – at Snobbery) and did some artwork that I got PAID for, you guys, that I can’t talk about yet, but it turned out BEAUTIFULLY, so once it’s something I can talk about, I will, and wait til you see! I did a happy dance when I was done. I think it’s awesome, and I’m so proud of myself, and the person who commissioned it was happy with it, too, so YAY YAY I AM AN OFFICIAL ARTIST NOW! With MONEY for making ART! And that’s about all I did on Sunday. I needed a day off. WHEW!
This week is going to be a flurry of list-making and packing and plan-making and such, but it’s a slow week otherwise, so I will check in with you as often as I can, and then less than a week from now, we are ALL GOING TO THE MOUNTAINS! Aren’t you so excited? I know you are!
Happy weeks, everyone! Hope your weekends were calm and quiet and productive and, if not productive, gleefully slothful!