Saturday, May 26, 2007

Too Much

I told PK, the director of Volpone, the just about the only thing I didn’t do wrong today was not sleep through my alarm. And, well, maybe it would have been a better day if I had…

I very often make these very intricate plans, plans that could totally bomb if one element is out of place. And, usually, things work out pretty well, a recent success being the trip over to Red Hook to meet with Nadia. In a manner of speaking, I guess the past six weeks have been one big intricate plan. That recital took a LOT of mental focus, lots of planning, lots of energy, and it came off. But not without weeks of mile-long To DO lists; rehearsing; worrying about money for Bhakti; and learning a beautiful, challenging, written-just-for-me work that needed to have a killer premiere. Ask anyone who came out for a late dinner after the recital, and they will tell you that I was a complete blob. I had nothing left.

But, five days later, I had to pack up for three months and relocate for a very important gig. A gig with some very hard music of its own, with which I hadn’t spent nearly enough time. (I can say that now, since we’ve had the first rehearsal and I don’t think I embarrassed myself. My “boss” reads this blog, after all!) I was so nervous, and felt time rapidly slipping through my fingers. I started packing for the summer at 8pm the night before my 11am train, packing for a time and then sitting with the score and my keyboard, then back to packing.

(And, imagine on top of all of this, that I might have met someone a few weeks ago with whom I would want to spend lots and lots of time, but couldn’t because of all of the above. A stress of a different kind...)

I’ve said several times today that I’m surprised, looking back, that things didn’t fall apart any earlier. I guess it was a matter of being able to control things, which I was largely able to do – until today. Today I could control nothing, and, therefore, finally had the “I’m exhausted and frustrated” breakdown that those of you who know me in Real Life would have recognized. This is often followed by the “Now I’m just embarrassed” phase, which usually involves finding the best hugger I can and holding on until I can truly laugh about the tears. Good hugs today from JP (I didn’t even need to ask her; she just saw me and said, “Oh, you look like you need a hug!”) and JJ. Many thanks…

So… the day. I’ll try to keep it short.

The Goal: Get to Franconia on the Metro, meet up with the Seller at the DMV, make the exchange, get registered, and get back for my costume fitting at 11. Return the rental car after the fitting. Celebrate my powers of organization and planning.

(Ok, first of all: What was I thinking??!! Saturday morning at the DMV?! Not an in-and-out endeavor.)

The Metro is undergoing weekend maintenance, so we’re stuck underground for half an hour, starting the lateness. The man I bought the car from is slow (not old, just slow) and condescending (“Don’t forget to change the oil every 3000 miles.”) The car itself is decidedly more beat-up than he let on, but it runs. We decide to skip the DMV after seeing the massive line, but only after I can convince him that I will send his tags back to him asap. When I get in the car, I discover that I left my good map in the rental, but I have general directions back to WT. Call and say I’ll be a few minutes late. No problem.

Then, as soon as I hit 70mph on the Interstate – the Check Engine light turns on. You have got to be kidding me. It stays on for the next hour as I’m driving in circles around Vienna, wondering franticly why the roads aren’t going where I think they’re supposed to. I HATE being lost!! I learned how to read a map at a very early age. I always got carsick on our family road trips, so I’d end up in the passenger seat with my Dad driving, and if you’re going to sit there you have to know how to navigate. I love maps, and can find my way just about anywhere if I have one. But today, no map. Lost, hungry, and afraid that I’d bought a total lemon. (The Check Engine light didn’t come back on when I start the car again, but I’ll be investigating…)

Finally, I give up, and LAM comes to rescue me. We meet in a parking lot and I follow her back to campus. By this time I have missed my costume fitting (another thing I hate being: Late), but they were able to move someone ahead and get some work done, rescheduling me for later.

In addition to not having my map, I also hadn’t had any of my usual snacks with me, so I was starving. For some reason I was craving a Snickers (can’t remember the last time I had one), so I buy one, but before I take it out I decide to also get a bottle of water (from the same machine). The bottle falls down – and lands in such a way as to jam the door closed.

I stood there staring at it, head against the glass, thinking, “This should be funny. I should be laughing by this point.” But it was all I could do not to burst into those loud, crazy, quasi-laughing sobs! It was the final blow, the one that makes you realize on days like this that there is nothing you can do. You are Double-O-C, as my brother and I used to say. Out Of Control.

It also makes you realize that when your idea of a “terrible day” involves being lost (with a cellphone), missing an appointment, and not being able to get your Snickers, your life is actually pretty damn good.


Anonymous said...

Poor Baby Girl! 'Sounds like you need your Mommy -- love you -- Guess who!

eusebius said...

Virtual hugs to you, ACB!! You're amazing for being able to see all of this stuff in perspective.

BTW ... now that you have wheels and you're in the DC area ... I thought you might be interested to know that a dharma teacher I've studied with a little bit, Tara Brach, is at the Insight Meditation Centre of Washington ( and gives weekly talks in Bethesda. I think you would love her ... she is one of the most wise and compassionate teachers I've ever encountered.

El Doctorcito said...

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or both at the same time. Talk about tragedy.

Anonymous said...

ACB - you are one of my wise and compassionate teachers!

Sarah said...

The Metro is notoriously retarded. Never trust is.

Crossing my fingers that the car stays healthy.

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