Monday, June 3, 2013

Losing My Cool



I'm not talking about my temper. I'm talking about being a thirty six year old stay at home mom of a three year old. And how I'm now engulfed by the stench of corn and blueberry poop and a constant demand for string cheese, orange wedges and chocolate milk. I'm talking about living in the suburbs, in a ranch style house. I'm talking about using a crock-pot and cooking meat. I'm talking about a 9:00 p.m. bed-time, for me. I'm talking about having an engineer husband who thinks my big ideas always resemble an episode of “I Love Lucy”. And I'm not sure that's a compliment.

But I used to be kind of cool. I lived in New York City and worked at a movie theatre where I served popcorn to Nathan Lane, once.

And then, I lived in L.A. I smoked Marlboro menthol lights and drank vodka tonics at hole in the wall bars in Los Feliz. These bars were in the movie, Swingers, hello? I worked at a movie studio ushering recovering drug addicts into show tapings of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place and Moesha. I ate at campy-kitchy diners and felt brave enough to be the only woman to order fries and a shake instead of a salad. I hooked up with cute-commitment phobic artistic types. I auditioned and met agents and sent out lots of dorky (cool) head shots. I was on my way.

But after a few appearances as an extra and roles in student films, I started to feel wildly un-successful. I was already twenty four!

Perhaps I would see the world and get paid for it! My flight attendant training date was September 11, 2001. Well, due to a catastrophic terrorist event, that job sort of fell through.
So I moved to New Zealand to “study” English Literature and secretly hoped to find a kiwi husband and live on a sheep farm. How cool is that? But that didn't happen and one can only live on chicken chips and crunchy bars for so long.

After returning to L.A. I began working for a non-profit theatre program. I was producing theatre with at-risk teens in juvenile detention centers. It was stressful work. But using my creative talents to give back made me feel, well, cool.

And then one day a famous screenwriter called me about a Writer's Assistant position. He asked, “are you smart?” I said yes and I got the job. His project was a mini-series about the end of the world. Does it get any cooler than that?

It did.

After that project ended I got a job at a non-profit granting wishes to adults in the last months of their life. I was the Celebrity Dream Coordinator. Have cancer? Wanna meet George Clooney? I'd try my best to make it happen.

I mentioned my job to the screenwriter, who I was still in touch with. He asked if I'd write a treatment for a film or television series based on this wish-granting-job. Hell-to-the-yeah. I did. He pitched it, and nothing became of it.

I was starting to feel like the guy in the parable that works for the circus picking up elephant poop. When asked why he won't quit his stinking job, he replies, “And leave show biz?”.

On a whim, I decided to move to Portland where I could be another kind of cool. Un-cool. And the truth is I'm much happier here. I'm eating peaches off the tree in my back yard. And I'm laying in the anti-gravity recliner with a glass of anything cold. I'm watching Henry throw rocks into his tiny plastic pool.

I'm finally figuring out how to stop chasing things and just soak in the good of the present moment. After returning from a solo trip to the grocery store recently, Henry hugged my leg and said, “I missed you soooo much, mama.” Insert pause. “Can I have a snack?”

I'm kind of like a movie star in my little boy's eyes and I don't think it gets any cooler than that.

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