I've been wondering what the hell I'm doing here ever since I took a blurry cab-ride from Penn Station to NYTW back in late April. I imagine everyone has some requisite "centering" amenity that they can't live without: cigarettes, perhaps, but Jesus seems to work for some people, too. I don't know. I'm at an age where the sexy calculus of the artist's life is starting to break down. Not to despair, necessarily, but maybe some despair would help unhinge my m.o. and force me to make bigger/better choices.
Because I'd like to think that my career-to-date has been the result of some self-driven master plan, but it hasn't. Even and especially this latest chapter in NYC: I am a creature of circumstance. I didn't even get the comforting finality of rejection -- that moment every actor learns to repress or burn off or re-contextualize into an acceptable, educating Event. I did that. And then I was de-rejected. Or something. So my "achievement" wasn't this show, it was my ability to adapt to the caprice of other professionals ... the ones who control who gets work and when and why.
But I don't feel like I've adapted, either. I've lived in some flavor of vagrancy for the better part of two years ... letting my finances play catch-up to the demands of my career which, ironically, doesn't even begin to yield basic solvency (never mind vacation, travel, wealth, organic groceries, dental checkups, etc.). And because I'm in this scrambled holding position now, I don't have the patience, focus or peace of mind to do anything apart from compulsive list-making. I tease out trends and chapters while I wait for the rudiments of a healthy life to take hold. Yes, it is the very portrait of a flustered ego clinging to whatever metric it can find to make sense of things.
To that end, here are some autobiographical fun-facts for 2001-2006:
- 8.5 . The number of addresses I have had in the DC metro region. I was hours away from signing a lease for the 9.5th when I got the call to come north. I say "8.5" because one of those addresses (4618 15th st. NW) was really just a basement closet of a room that I hastily switched to so I could sublet my adorable Wisc. Ave. studio and thereby afford to vanish to Juneau last summer. To say I lived there would be an embellishment. I remember occasionally crashing there for one or two REM cycles. But I never bought groceries there or nailed anything to the wall.
- 6. The number of addresses I have had in the NYC metro region since arriving here on April 25th. Needless to say, I haven't bought groceries or nailed anything to the wall at any of those places, either. I find my savings drained by the repeated purchase of commonplace items like nail clippers, umbrellas, coffee, laundry detergent, etc. All the things you'd normally have on hand at home.
- 126. The number of times I have performed columbinus. This includes the 2003 Kennedy Center workshop, the 2004 Littleton workshop, the Round House production, the Perseverance production, the Seattle, Anchorage, and Valdez performances, the NYTW backer's presentation last fall, and the most recent run this past spring. Please forgive me, but that tally led me to wonder ...
- $9,000. Total compensation for the above. Before taxes and union dues. And just to put that in perspective ...
- $12,775. The amount of money I spent on cigarettes between 1999 and 2006. I need this number to help quell the pangs of self-righteousness that usually perk up after excessive contemplation of the preceding number.
And, yes, I take that as a legitimate dilemma. Because the past five years have also been marked by the occasional announcement that someone I know and love and admired has quit the business. Usually for reasons more compelling than: "It really gets in the way of my smoking." But still.
The other day I was walking up 6th Ave. on my way to an audition when a 4ft long cast-iron rod thundered to the ground two feet in front of me. The crowd parted to look up. I was on the phone getting more precise directions from my manager Laurie at the time. Our coversation ...
KM: Okay, so ... the address you gave me seems to be a light fixture store.
LM: No, I know it looks like that but there should be an office entrance nearby with the same address.
KM: Um, I ... oh. Okay, I think I see it.
LM: You see it?
KM: Yeah. Sorry about that.
LM: No problem.
KM: Okay, yes. Definitely. I'm walking there now.
LM: Great, so you're ...
LM: ... almost there?
KM: HOLY FUCKING SHIT A GIANT PIECE OF METAL ALMOST IMPALED ME THROUGH THE SKULL LIKE RIGHT NOW AS I'M TALKING TO YOU HOLY SHIT.
LM: Whoa. Are you alright?
KM: HOLY SHIT.
LM: You're okay?
KM: YES, I'M ... I CAN'T ... HOLY SHIT.
LM: What happened?
KM: I DON'T KNOW.
LM: Window washers?
KM: NO ONE IS UP THERE.
LM: Construction crew?
KM: YEAH, NO. NO ONE IS UP THERE. IT JUST FELL FROM I HAVE NO IDEA.
LM: Are you going to be alright?
KM: OH SURE. THANKS FOR THE DIRECTIONS.
LM: Okay, take care of yourself.
KM: YEAH, I'LL ... YEAH. I LOVE YOU.
Now, it's hard to be fatalistic about these things because ... well ... in my experience, Fate ran out of lessons a long time ago. I've had near-death experiences before. I'm an extremely clumsy person as it is -- toasting bread is a near-death experience. So I feel no need to gussy up the whole episode as some sort of maybe-it-was-a-sign moment. Fate has been syndicated. I don't worry about fate. I have plenty of things to worry about. Gravity, for example. I guess I'll get to the rest of New York later.