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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Word of the Day, vol. I

Facebook is a strange phenomenon. I wasn’t in a circle of people who were active on Facebook until entering graduate school, and even then, I held out for a few weeks before finally signing up. I only did it after having a few glasses of wine. So, it’s still a new element in my life. One I’m sure I don’t need but can admit to enjoying nonetheless.

One fun thing about Facebook is that it’s put me back in touch with people I literally have not seen in 15 years or more. It’s making the world seem really small. Take this situation, for instance. There was a girl in my brother’s class in elementary school who hung out in his local crowd. I actually ran into her a few years ago at a family friend’s birthday party when I was still living in New York City. They had gone to college together. (Small world.) Now we’re all friends on Facebook. And she has a blog. Which I read. Because she’s sassy. Like, for real.

Anyway, I’m shamelessly ripping off one of ways she has shared things on her blog. Because after being in Berkeley a few weeks ago and being around my ridiculously intelligent college classmates and going to the Poetry Slam, I’ve decided I want to start writing again. Not theatre education writing. Or pop culture writing. But relaying-from-my-past writing. Putting-something-together-creatively writing.

So when UL is beginning a project, she pulls a word out of a bag and writes for ten minutes about whatever comes to mind about that word. Except UL uses this convention to warm-up for writing at her real job…I’m just doing it to kill time in the weeks before I go to Connecticut.

I spent a few minutes recently ripping up little pieces of paper and writing what I thought were really evocative words on them, and then I asked S for her suggestions. I laughed outloud when she said “Bread,” and, of course, weeks later, once I was actually ready to write, it was the first scrap I pulled out of my bag. So, here we are:

Word of the Day: BREAD
When S and I made the decision to move to New York, after graduating college, we talked about the ways in which we’d be willing to save money. And the ways in which we’d spend it. It’s hard not to dream big when you’re about to move across the country to what felt like the biggest and most exciting city in the country. I wanted to see a Broadway show every month. I wanted to start my own theatre company. I wanted to live in a bright, cool apartment, and I always pictured an immaculately white comforter, piles of pillows, throw rugs, a small dog and a hot boyfriend, when I imagined my grown-up life.

I’ve written on this blog many times about the ways in which my reality in New York was crushingly different than what I’d dreamed about. And how it’s only in the last few weeks, even, after not living there for more than a year and a half, that I can enjoy visiting. Those days were dark, depressing, disheartening, unexpectedly so.

There was the ridiculously hot summer that I spent on the couch in our Carroll Gardens apartment, directly under the skylight, sweltering in the sun and checking my emails every half hour for more job postings. The wet early fall when the seam in our ceiling began to crack and it leaked all through the apartment. The fly infestation. The first and only job I’ve ever quit: soliciting for money for the North Shore Animal League on the street…in the ridiculously hot summer. (I lasted two weeks.) The move to the spacious and beautiful but dark loft in SoHo, where you couldn’t get away from the crowds of shoppers and tourists on Broadway or the sounds of wood being whittled first thing in the morning. The flood that happened right before we moved back to my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, where rent was expensive and I still didn’t feel at home. The fairly dead-end and uncreative job I finally clinched; the hour and a half commute. The no money. The no friends. The burnout.

I relied on S in a way that was unfair. In a way that nearly ended our friendship. I was floundering in a way that totally shocked me, and she was succeeding, blossoming even. I felt like I was shrinking in constant comparison. I couldn’t compete, and I didn’t even know when I had signed up for the competition.

By the time I moved out of New York, at the beginning of 2008, I had learned how incredibly difficult it is to live with best friends (once they are, in fact, best friends). I was also finally able to look back on how much S and I had gone through: almost five years of cohabitation, a Broadway show almost every month, countless amazing meals, a lot of alcohol, quotes we still relay, vacations together, spontaneous singing and dance parties, fierce support through various family crises, being each other’s wing women at clubs, dressing up, debriefing in our pajamas after our long nights out.

It’s always been hard for me to fight and disagree with people because I’m always sure it means we’re no longer friends. S and I had about two years of disagreements. And I don’t think they fazed her at all because she has always been sure that’s what family does.

So, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of bread is S. Because when we were first dreaming about our lives in New York, in those cloudy and frenzied days after graduating from college, we dreamed that all we’d eat would be baguettes, feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I’d drink water, but she said she’d want vodka.

The amazing thing, the thing that still surprises me, is that, six years after meeting at a callback for Pippin, almost four years since the move to New York, and a year and a half after moving apart, she and I are still dreaming together.

1 comment:

Kendra said...

made me cry...