Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Week: in Highs and Lows

First of all, it's hard to focus on writing while listening to Jay-Z, so I'm turning him off. Sorry Jigga.

Most of this last week was spent thinking of lips I'm not supposed to think about, and waiting for phonecalls that wouldn't come. It was punctuated by an incredible hell-raising night, a someone-put-a-bullet-in-me-hung-over morning, a naughty businessman, and cold, cold water. Shall we? We shall.

-- Last Friday night, myself and a bunch of good friends wound up drunk. Shocking, right? Well, sometimes it's not the what, it's the where. We wound up drunk, in a pool, in midtown Manhattan. I brought a bunch of my friends to another friend's birthday party at a rather amazing bar. A big warm pool, with a bar you can swim up to (credit only from the pool, please; they don't like soggy cash), a cozy warm sauna, and a steam room with < 2 feet visibility. It was an enchanted evening. No drama, just a lot of free-spirited fun that kind of took me back to more carefree days. It was wonderful. -- Then, there's nothing that can make you feel like poo quite in the same way that a bad haircut can. Man. I tell ya. This one was just bad. The cut AND the experience of it getting cut. It was awful. I just wanted to crawl out of my flesh and leave it sitting there, like a creepy body-sock man-puppet. -- The beginning of my week was spent, largely trying to force myself to think about my phone not ringing. I'd make it to the 2nd (and final) callback for a show I really wanted to do. Great play, good contract, and it would have planted me in Florida for January and February... in a beach town. On Wednesday I finally received word; they "went in a different direction". (For those of you not in "the business", this is generally considered to be the theatrical equivalent of "It's not you, it's me".) It was a bummer. I got the news while temping in New Jersey, on a day where I missed every one of my train connection by two minutes, and when it was pissing rain (and I'd forgot my umbrella). That was "Hump Day", but I think "You Can Blow Me Day" is a little more apt. I feel fine about it now. In this instance, I actually believe that it was just "going another way"... they can be wrong. Such is life. A big part of the disappointment, frankly, was that I wanted to go surfing again. Ah, well... (...?) -- This was, also, the week where I decided to take some of my "hobbies" to the next level. This translates to, "Fuck me, I spent a lot of money this week." I finally bought some serious recording equipment (no more free laptop mic and built in sound card). This also required me to buy more memory for my computer. I bought a small digital voice recorder, for taking notes. And, the big purchase: I bought a digital camcorder (and all the needed accessories). Wow. Why did I do this? My current projects: 1. I'm writing a screen play. 2. I've started writing a stage play (one-man show). 3. I'm compiling a book of poetry, which will be illustrated by a very talented friend of mine. I'm hoping to publish. 4. I've got a bunch of songs I'm in the process of writing/recording. 5. And because... well, because sometimes you out-grow dabbling, and decide it's time to see just what you can do. Here's to the Long Road of Discovery... (note: it's "of" discover, not "to") -- Sometimes, you can pinpoint when a rough week turns around for you. It's true. It my case, the other day, I was hanging out, eating tea and cookies in one of the bougiest bakery cafes in Manhattan. We're chillin', chattin', when all of a sudden I notice the businessman at the table next to us and my jaw dropped. Luckily for you, I am able to share this moment of joy. I pulled out my phone, and said, loudly, "I've gotta send someone a text message real quick." Then I snapped this picture.

Didja catch it?



Well, let's look a little closer:


Yes, a well-dressed, seemingly mild-mannered business man, pulling an Al Bundy in the middle of a posh NY bakery/cafe. And he just kept it there, for like, five minutes, until his friend arrived. He even checked some messages on his Palm Pilot (which begs one of two jokes. A) Wow, Palm wasn't joking when they promised "true one-handed operation"! or B) His palm is piloting what exactly?)

("user friendly" indeed...)

-- We'll end with a story of trial and triumph. On Wednesday (also known as "Crap Wednesday"), I get the call. Dylan's roommate says there's a swell coming in on Thursday, and do I want to rent a car with them and go to Long Beach. The answer? Well, yeah I do. (Note: Yes, it is November, and yes, this is New York.) So I wake up at 5:50 on Thursday, and we head out to Long Beach, and man, it is huge. I mean, the last time I tried to go surfing it was way to big for me, and this was probably double that. Overhead to double-overhead waves are barreling left and right (literally). There are big close-out bombs, and the surf just keeps pumping in, in a constant bombardment. We just sit there, staring. Eventually one of us finally says, "Man, I am not nearly good enough for surf this big," and the other two agree; none of us were. We are hopelessly out of our league here. Luckily, we're young, male, and stupid, so we're going to do it anyway.

The last time I went surfing it was big to the point that I couldn't even paddle out past where the waves were breaking. Again, this was double that. Dylan's roommate, Matt (the most accomplished surfer of the three of us, which, sadly, isn't saying all that much), picked the spot for us to head in, right by a jetty. I was nervous about paddling out so close it, but Matt said the current would pull me away from it, and we'd be fine. So we wait for what looks like might be a lull (ha!), and we charge in, and I do mean charge, into the cold fucking water. As soon as we're deep enough, I am paddling my guts out. I'm taking wave after wave right on the head (trying to duck-dive my board under them), and it's just unending. It feels like I'm not making it anywhere, my arms are turning to jelly, and then, just when I think I might have made it out past the break, a (really) big, outside set comes, and I'm right in the impact zone. I don't remember exactly what happened then because I must have been flying on adrenaline by that point, but I think I can safely say that I got pounded like dough.

The next bit that I recall, I'm back on my board, paddling frantically for the outside; waves just keep coming through, and then out of the corner of my eye, I think I see something very near by. That something looked, suspiciously, like a JETTY, and I looked, suspiciously, like I was about to be driven into it. And that's exactly what happened. I remember thinking, "I'm going to kill Matt for suggesting paddling out so close to this thing," and then I was paddling to the right of it as hard as I could. Too late. The next wave that came through knocked me off my board, and I just tried to cover my head as it pushed me onto the jetty, and dragged me down it. (Incidentally, for those of you not "in the know" when I comes to jetties and are wondering what they're made of, the answer would be "BIG, jagged, emmer-effing rocks".) When the wave let go of me I was on the right side of the jetty again, apparently unscathed. At this point I figure, "Fuck my board; maybe I can swim faster if I just drag it." That was just plain dumb. I start swimming like mad, the board acts as an anchor/sail. I try to dive down to avoid a wave, my board catches it, dragging me backwards, and before I know it, I'm being rolled over the rocks again. When I come up, now kneeling on the jetty, some little voice in my head screams, "Swim to the left of it, stupid!" Before I can even ask the question, "How do I get off this thing?" a wave answers it for me, and I, tucked into a ball, go tumbling across the boulder-pile again. This time, though, I end up on the left side of the jetty, and I paddle for shore. I make it out, completely exhausted and with a thumping headache, but I am otherwise, somehow, completely undamaged. Extremely lucky.

(Matt, it turns out, was not dumb. Paddling out by that jetty was a good idea. I was not swept into that one, but a different jetty, that was approximately two city blocks down. Good times.)

This story ends happily, though. I was convinced, by Matt, to abstain from the vice of "Work" for one more day, and go surfing with him again today. It was still fairly big, but nothing like it was yesterday. The first wave I caught was one of the best rides I've had in my life.

-- And now, here I am. Ten o' clock on a Friday, and I'm calling it a night. My body is as tired as tired can be. I've got slippers and sweats on, and my roommate is bringing in some sushi in just a matter of minutes. So, I'm putting my Jay-Z back on, and bidding you a fond good night.

Ah... hello, HOV. Welcome back.

-Brent 11.10.06 10.13pm

P.S. My episode of Guiding Light is supposedly airing this coming Tuesday the 14th, on CBS. Check your local listings. My bit should be within the first ten minutes.

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