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Thursday February 15, 2001, 00:49

First of all, it occurs to me that I should take the time that I am not really working to work on some of the projects on which I've said I would work when I had the time, but never have. See? The solution to me, to most everything in the world, is a web site. That's just the way it works. And surprisingly enough, these sites can make a difference. I mean, hello, I maintain my high school's alumni web site. Alumni. That is like, so old school it's, as a friend said, the school they tore down to build the old school. We're not even talking college. High school. And my thought? That really needs a database behind it. I am such a nerd. On the other hand, I managed to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger last night at a show I went to. Pretty good for a total nerd.

Chronologically speaking, Monday at work (which involves me hanging and focusing lighting instruments at an Off-Broadway theatre) I was backstage, squatting on the ground, fixing some cables or something. Looking ahead, I saw an opening in part of the set, and so the logical conclusion was that I would stand up into the opening, the process of standing involving a sort of shuffle and lean to a stand while moving forward. Unfortunately for my face, said opening was only about four feet high and I managed to interrupt my upward motion with a large piece of wood colliding with the bridge of my nose and right eye socket. As quickly as I was standing up, I was falling down, clutching my face and hoping that nobody saw what I had just done.

Off-Broadway theatre goes something like this: work, time sheet, paycheck. At some point there is some artistic integrity happening in there, but I am so far removed from it, by the basic nature of my job, that the people I work with are basically just in it to make a living. Which is perfectly legitimate. However, I don't have to do this. I have other skills, and I have other interests. And I like to think. The current work is mostly about lifting and spinning, and not so much about thinking. Which means that the people that I am working with are particularly good at what they do, which is focusing lights, and specifically not walking into sets. I'm already green enough at this professional theatre thing. I'd rather not dig myself in deeper.

So that was big event number one. The facial readjustment.

Forward.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out a pen. Uniball. Fine point. The best commodity sort of pen around. I hand it to her, over her right shoulder. She looks up from her palm, on which she was unsuccessfully trying to write herself a note with a ball-point pen. She smiles and thanks me.

Which was really the only introduction I needed. For I feel that I am able to be fairly personable when given the proper "in," as it were, but before that, the best thing I could come up with was "I really like your pants," which was the truth, but which was also sounded like a really awful pickup line.

The rest of the story does not bear repeating. It is so simple as to defy explanation, taking us from Tribeca, through SOHO and up into the West Village, with a pause for refreshments and finally ending in Chelsea. What does make for particularly compelling, or at least feel-good sort of, storytelling would be the walk home. My walk, which was only experienced by me. I don't even know if I want to share with you the absolute joy I felt from making this connection with another person in this enormous city. For the first time in as much time as I've been back, I was fully and truly reminded of the full power of the city.

And it wasn't just the stranger. Or the fact that the streets was still abuzz at midnight on a Tuesday after midnight. Or that I had seen an awful, awful play. But that I was able to experience it all, and I didn't feel out of place doing so. This did not seem like a fluke. It felt like the norm, it felt like it was supposed to happen, and, for the first time in a while, I could feel that me, that me that I really like, emerge again.

Ok, so much for compelling stories.

Get the hell off the computer and go meet some cute actor/bartender types. It worked for me.

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