concrete trenches
sometimes more feet than shoes.

Monday, March 31, 2003  

Things I saw on my lunch hour while rollerblading through Batter Park:

* Hundreds of people

* Dozens of bikes and fellow rollerbladers

* Several dogs, including a beagle puppy who was licking a spot on the ground
and the three dogs being led by a pregnant lady exposing her belly to the sun

* Assorted boats, ferries, and a water taxi

* Ten cops: two beat cops, one in a metermaidmobile, one with a German Shepherd (the only woman) one on a horse and five in full riot gear and automatic weapons

* Three patrol helicopters

* One Statue of Liberty.

| posted by christopher | 10:24 PM  

Sunrise, Sunset

Zipped back to the old town for a little audition, a little wedding, and a lot of bg time. The audition was fine, as well as I can judge such things. The wedding was ass-early. Who gets married at dawn? C'mon, somebody help me out on this one. Actually, it was very nice. Blessedly short, and they had coffe and great pastry for everyone who came. Also, a six am wedding is a great way to guarantee that your fellow theatre friends are not going to show up unless they really love you.

| posted by christopher | 2:50 PM

Thursday, March 27, 2003  

Maudlin day

I had a moment yesterday, watching someone do really good work, where my little life blinked by my eyes. I wondered why a) so much of what I do is ruled by shapless fear, and 2) why I worry about why my life is ruled by shapless fear when I do brave things every damn day. So I am going to dedicate myslef to being more brave. Brave in my work and in my life. More brave. What do I have to lose?

I also had a moment last night of being in a rest room after having watched a so-so dress rehearsal of a so-so show, and silently sobbing. I don't even know why, really. The tears just came. No, i know why. The last time the tears came like that I was not working because X asked me "take some time off because she needed me to." I needed to work, but I was being a good, loving husband. I was watching the work of others, and the waterstarted to rush down my face. No crying, per se, just a rush of tears. I wanted to be up there, so badly, but I wasn't. I didn't even really want to be in the show I saw last night, but I want to be working so badly, that they come.

Oh, yeah, and at the rehearsal this older - say mid seventies - guy asks the guy in fromt of me "Are you online for the bathroom?" He responded with a yes and I said, kinda snippy, "Actually, so am I."

"Oh, are you a matched set?" Har har. Funny guy.

As we near the bathroom this guy, behind me now, sees some people connected with the show come out. One he calls by name and says "David, Hi. You may not remember me, I'm George Furth".

| posted by christopher | 12:44 PM

Wednesday, March 26, 2003  

Fly like an eagle

Last weekend, when I was talking to my best girl (howzabout bg for short?) on the phone and missing her terribly I was *this* close to buying last minute tickets to fly out and see her. I thought that it was too impetuous, too expensive, too silly considering she had just left from her visit a couple of days before. Har har har. I am flying out to audition for a show that, should I get it, will go against my union sensibilities completely as it doesn't pay but will take me to Scotland for five weeks. With bg. Working together. Oh yeah, and I totally get to spend the weekend with bg, which is what I wanted in the first place.

| posted by christopher | 6:20 PM

Tuesday, March 25, 2003  

Is kissing my ass billable time?

Today was the day I was to become an unmarried man. Today was the day X went to the courthouse to get the divorce signed, sealed, and delivered. Today was the day we found out that neither of our lawyers gave us the right paperwork to fill out.

I was all prepared to have a watershed moment, some kind of epifiny. At the very least, I would have toasted our years together, the good and the bad, and toasted my new, better life. Instead, I'm going to toast to my lawyer. Or maybe stick pins into his likeness.

| posted by christopher | 7:36 PM

Monday, March 24, 2003  

Hands free

Yesterday I spent most of the day in bed with my girlfriend, doing the Sunday Times crossword. Great, brainy fun, only occasionally interrupted by the need to make another cup of coffee or perhaps pee. It was magic, really. One of those lovely, trandscendant days that makes you realize how lucky you are to have met such a great person. The only thing that would have made the day perfect, truly great, is if she hadn't been three thousand miles away.

| posted by christopher | 3:01 PM

Sunday, March 23, 2003  

Why I love this town: reasons 134 and 135

A man comes between cars right after the train starts moving and starts in with "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?" I have my headphones on, but I pick up that he's a poet, and he's going to favor us with a poem of his own writing. What little I hear of the poem generally rhymes, and generally whines. He finishes with a long, slow bow and proceeds to circle the car looking for cash. At my end of the train, a baby starts crying, wailing, screaming. When the Poet gets back to the front, he stops at the stroller and looks in at the baby. He procedes to talk to the child, friendly, soothing, not creepy in the slightest. The baby stops crying when the Poet asks if it wants something to play with, perhaps a flyer.

Waling through the Times Square station, a young man was playing plastic buckets. I have to admit, I have a thing for the tupperware drummers. I love them, they fascinate me. Anyway, I noticed the drumming long before I saw the National Guardsmen standing with their automatic rifles at the ready. They were watching the young drummer, and I was surprised and pleased to see one of the soldiers bobbing his head along to the music, the faintest wisp of a smile on his face.

| posted by christopher | 11:13 PM

Saturday, March 22, 2003  

Near Misses, Part 1

When I was ten years old my family moved to a new town. I couldn't have been happier. Most of my adolescence up to that point had been an endless parade of humiliation and not a little bit of torture. I was that dorky smart kid with the glasses and the answers that everyone hated. I was a Cub Scout, I was into science-fiction thanks to Star Wars, I had a terrible temper and a persecution complex. Misfit and miserable.

When my father announced that we'd be moving away so he wouldn't have to commute one hundred miles a day, which he had been doing for a year, I saw this as my golden opportunity. I was going to reinvent myself. No more nerd! No more glasses! No more getting cornered in the bathroom stall by the sixth graders! Yes! This was my chance.

My first week in the new school I succeeded in pissing off the king bully, Russell, by having a tug of war fight over a softball bat with his sister Melanie, who ended up in tears. (Interestingly, I've never met a "Russell" who wasn't either a brute or gay; If straight, they referred to themselves as Russ or Rusty, but never Russell.) Okay, so I shouldn't have gotten upset, but it was my turn at bat. Russell's muscle was Peter, in fifth grade and shaving. Peter was the implicit threat of further damage looming over Russell's shoulder as I was pinned up against the wall and told "...not to touch my sister again."

Here we go again, I thought, eyes skyward.

"Don't you roll your eyes at me!" It came with the punch that put me on my knees. "Fag."


A few weeks later I was on my way home after clarinet lessons (no, he's not a walking target). As I walked by the stream that ran behind the school, I heard some rustling in the brush and suddenly Peter was standing in front of me in all his post-pubescent glory. In my head, everything he said was proceeded with a Warner Brother's "Duuuh!"

"Hey, fag. I'm gonna to beat you up." Nice, short, declarative sentences.

For no reason, a conversation I'd had with my Dad popped into my head: I don't want you starting fights. You can defend yourself, but don't you start them. Slowly I put my claranet and my backpack on the ground. "Okay," I heard myself say, not knowing what I was doing, "but you have to throw the first punch".

(Duuuh) "Why?"

"Well, my Dad says if I start any fights, he'll kill me. So, you have to throw the first punch."

We stood there, facing each other for what seemed like an hour in the pale autumn sunlight.

"Well, I'm not going to throw the first punch."

"Well, I guess that's it then," I said and picked up my things.

Peter said nothing else, nor did he move. I walked backward a few steps and then turned around and headed home. When I got to the end of the street, I turned back to see Peter still contemplating this puzzle. I turned the corner and ran all the way home, my asthmatic lungs bursting.

| posted by christopher | 6:03 PM

Friday, March 21, 2003  

Eat up!

Remember that card craze in the seventies, where you could get card collections for dinosaurs, rocks, etc.? Well, this was one I missed. Funny, with a capital "Holy shit this is funny."

| posted by christopher | 11:51 AM

Thursday, March 20, 2003  

My little life

I wanted to write about my best girl's visit, and how wonderful it was to see her; how we tore around the city, stayed in bed doing the Times Sunday Crossword, laughed until we were sore, had some difficult conversation, marveled in each other's bodies, and every minute thing involved with her visit. Somehow, these things seem pale and small and not worthy of note today. Somehow, with the world diving headlong into badness, my visit with my girlfriend doesn't feel all that important.

I think history is being made today, and when future generations look back they will see this as the time when we became bad.

| posted by christopher | 10:56 AM

Friday, March 14, 2003  

Gone, but not forgotten

The best girl is coming to town tomorrow morning, so I'm going on a little vacation. I'll tell y'all about, avoiding the parts that would compromise her honor, of course.

But man, do we plan on a lot of compromising of one another's honor. Boo, howdy.

| posted by christopher | 10:43 PM  

The best laid plans of frugal men

In my quest for free furniture, I spotted a great table top, separated from it's legs. I thought "Heck, I could use this as a coffee table." So when I get home I scope the place out a little, think it won't be too big, put on a jacket and go get it off the pile of garbage bags. It was heavy. One building away from mine, I start to smell this . . . pee-smell. I put the tabletop down and sniff it (eeeeew) and yes, the tabletop smells like pee. Which begs the question: why would a table smell like pee?

Needless to say, I left it on the street, and may have to go to plan B and build a coffee table out of left over moving boxes. Cardboard Chic!

| posted by christopher | 10:26 AM

Thursday, March 13, 2003  

Take a deep breath

I want to stand up in front of you good folks and make a confession. My name is Chris, and I am a spaz.

It's taken me many years to acknowledge my spazdom. I am still not comfortable with it -- I don't own it -- but I see it, and for better or worse I accept that it is there.

Signposts on the the road that tell you you are a spaz:

- That scar on your hand from doing a Pete Townsend "windmill" in a room with a low ceiling
- Spilling that entire pitcher of beer down her back
- Realizing the person in the room who won't shut up is you

The potental for spastic behavior at this particular moment in time is enormous and I hope that this time, unlike the many, many times before (see "spilled beer," above) I don't blow something great because I am excited about it.

| posted by christopher | 10:19 PM  

In case you were feeling good

This just in from our Department of Homeland Security. It makes me feel icky beyond words.

| posted by christopher | 1:03 PM

Wednesday, March 12, 2003  


After nearly one month in this apartment I can finally say, with only the slightest exaggeration, that I am now fully unpacked. Ya know, it's kinda a swell pad what with the litter gone.

| posted by christopher | 11:10 PM  

Dignity. Always dignity

Awake at 5am, out the door at 6:15am, on the line at 7am, in the building at 8:30am, signed up for an audition slot at 9:07am, back to audition at 2:40pm. How many hours of my life did I let go, freezing my ass off on 54th Street to get my two minutes? Somehow, when I imagined the glamour of the acting life, this is not what I had in mind.

| posted by christopher | 12:23 PM

Tuesday, March 11, 2003  

Who's a good friend?

So, here's a question: how do you tell someone you hate the thing they are proudly showing you? Let's say you hate your best pals significant other, or the play that they're in sucks, or the meal your s.o. just made for you is inedible mushy cardboard. Decorum dictates we smile and offer some kind of noncommittal gesture, and then hopefully change the subject toot sweet. But good gawd almighty, sometimes I just want to say it.

"You know, your new boyfriend's ignorance is matched only by his arrogance."

"Really, I'd much rather have cleaned the Port Authority Men's Room with my tongue than watched your play."

"Like it? It tastes like ass."

| posted by christopher | 12:25 PM

Monday, March 10, 2003  

Aw, jeez

The fiscal demons came for a visit last night. Nothing like beeing kept awake until 1:30am by visions of sleeping on the subway platform in a cardboard box because I blew too much money at Bed, Bath and Beyond. At least I can use the new curtains as a blanket. Plus, my best girl was having fun on the other side of the country bowling at a friends birthday party (ok, she was watching the bowling, but when she finally moves out here I am totally taking her to candlepin).

| posted by christopher | 1:04 PM

Sunday, March 09, 2003  

One small step for me.

Got my first New York City callback. Sure, it's in a showcase (not much money) and sure it rehearses in a church basement and sure it's a role I've played before (although I think I cannily left that information off my resume) but it's a small morsel of legitimacy being fed to a very hungry boy.

| posted by christopher | 7:35 PM

Saturday, March 08, 2003  

Search me

Why is it so hard to get the apartment clean? Seems like every day I do a little bit more to get things in shape (gotta get it ready for the chippie) but fixing one pile of crap generates two more piles of crap. I have a seven foot couch, and I'm mashed over to one end because the rest of it is covered in papers, a picture or two, odds and ends, and oh, the trash bag from the bathroom. Sheesh.

| posted by christopher | 4:25 PM

Friday, March 07, 2003  

Didn't you go before we left?

That guy on the train last night? The one standing and grabbing the pole like it was his best friend? The one who kept making those weird faces like he was in pain, biting his lip and squiting and groaning? The guy who kept shifting his weight, crossing his feet, clenching and unclenching his fist? The guy who looked like he really had to pee? Yeah, that was me.

| posted by christopher | 12:46 PM

Thursday, March 06, 2003  

Once we were friends

The summer before I entered college I spent most of my time either working as a grease jockey in the local McDonald's or hanging with Tim (alternatively known as Magoo and Mooger). We'd swim in his pool, play tennis, drive around in his dad's ancient Mercedes Benz (which sounds like some kind of privilaged life on the Upper East Side when, in fact, it was deep in the woods of New England so don't go thinking no trust fund shit).

Tim wasn't a drinker, and would often be the designated driver. Lying flat on my back, desperately trying to make the awful spinning stop, he would ask "So, this is fun?"

We had one fight, in seventh grade. It lasted for almost a week. He said something, I said something, he said something back, I called him an asshole, he tried to knock me off my bike, I gave him the finger and rode away, and then it seemed to lose importance and we were back taking tennis lessons together.

One morning during that summer before college, I was late for the breakfast shift. They called my mother, and my mother called Tim because I was supposed to be spending the night there. I was, in fact, someplace else having a divine evening with a former girlfriend, and Tim had decided to go home when he didn't click with the sister. Six-thirty in the morning, he tells my mother we over slept and I'm on my way, called Julie's house and told me to get my sorry ass out of that den of sin and start making some Egg McMuffin's (tm) pronto.

One day after college, we were standing near Central Park. Tim pointed toward Broadway and said "You can have that half." He pointed toward Sixth Avenue (don't even fucking call it Avenue of the Americas) and said "I'll take that half."

When his father died, I was the first person he called, and I was there the next day.

When it was clear that if I continued to date the woman he adored (and who was not telling him about me) it would be the end of our friendship, we dated no longer. "Oh, another example of men standing up for men and continuing the patriarchy!" "No, it's me thinking my oldest friend is more important than you."

There's a photograph I have of Tim, the tortured genius Andy, and myself at high school graduation. We're wearing sunglasses in the eighties mode, and smiling like tomorrow is a huge adventure we will surely take on together. I unwrapped it with all the other items from the "Pictures" box, and wondered where he is.

| posted by christopher | 12:53 PM

Wednesday, March 05, 2003  

You've got something right there...

Ash Wednesday in New York is not subtle. Everywhere you look, there's someone else with a carbon smudge on the forehead. What amazes is the varying style each of the men of the cloth have in the application of the incenerated palm fronds. There's the demure, barely there smudge. The bold line of a surely thick-thumbed preist. The abstract shape that could be a cross but looks more like a triangle. The long lined job that can be seen from the other end of the train car, running hairline to bridge, eyebrow to eyebrow. Lots of dots, crosses too hasty and thick to be anything but odd ash-blots. As many different shapes and sizes as the shapes and sizes of the wearers. Each mark seems to be an eye staring at me with a cold "Well you haven't been to church in quite some time, have you?" accusation spoken, of course, in the mother's voice.

| posted by christopher | 7:09 PM  

I did it to myself?

In fewer days than I have fingers you, the best girl, are going to be in my town and I can show you that yes, I do mean what I say and yes, I do want to hold your hand in public and yes, I do want to kiss you on the subway and yes, I do want to introduce you to the world as my best girl and no, I'm not just saying these things because you are three thousand miles away and I haven't seen you since I left town. I hope you're ready.

| posted by christopher | 10:48 AM

Tuesday, March 04, 2003  

It's nice to be close

So, I wrote my best girl a love letter (paper, even) and she took it into an important audition tucked into the wasteband of her underwear! Call me dumb, but I just melted at the idea. From a continent away, she can warm my heart like a hot water bottle.

| posted by christopher | 11:35 PM  

We're soooooo advanced

At the dawn of time, when man needed to build the fire, hunt the tiger, patch the hut, draw the nets, mend the fence, defend the community, teach the children, heal the sick, punish the guilty, tell the stories, appease the gods, did he just sit on his behind lamenting the need to get the work done?

If motivation could be sold in jars, I would buy a case of it, no matter the cost.

| posted by christopher | 4:29 PM
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