Hearts and Wasted Opportunities

I had a rough day at work. Actually, I’m just having a hard time finding the joy I used to have in the job. We’re all exhausted. I’ve only been there for three years so I can’t even imagine how tired Barb and Dave are. But Barb and I still got excited about the new EMS today. And I still made a video to help promote Purrfectly Sane Cat Ladies. And auditions were still fun. And I hugged a lot of people, and meant it.

I’m having a hard time finding sound interns right now, and I ended up having to cover the Yoo Hoo tonight. If it was yesterday, I wouldn’t have been able to do it, but for some reason tonight I was resigned to it even though I knew there was a big chance the shows weren’t going to happen and that it was going to be completely humiliating to have to face the comedians I booked and tell them the shows weren’t going to happen — twice!

Both shows happened — barely. We only had 6 audience for the second show, and we need 8.  A TV star who came in to do a 5-minute spot barked in 2 people and the manager let us squeak by. The first show was fun. I regretted pushing for the second show because the emcee who handled a tiny crowd really well on the first show, was angry for the second one, and we started off bad.

Then the second comedian, I don’t even remember who it was, got up feeling sorry for himself. Then the TV star who went through the trouble of barking people in, felt sorry for himself for 6-and-a-half minutes on stage of what was supposed to be a 5-minute set. That’s the second time I’ve seen him do that in the Yoo Hoo and I won’t book him in there if I can help it. Which I can’t because I didn’t put him in, anyway, and he can get booked any time he wants because he’s on TV.

Then one of the comedians, and I DEFINITELY remember which one, got up and took the onus off of the audience, and was great. Pretty dirty, kind of regret giving him 10 minutes, but overall really funny and completely changed the tone of the show. Even the emcee was laughing when she brought up the next comedian and everyone kind of relaxed and had a better time on stage and the audience relaxed too. I will definitely be giving him a nice juicy spot in any show I think will have a good audience because even though he didn’t get a single person to come and see him, he saved the spirit of the show. That’s a real comic.

The headliner was a pain in the ass. When he came up to me before the show, I told him the show might be cancelled and he gave me shit — not a single audience member came out to see him, but HE gave ME shit — and then when we started the show, he wanted to go up earlier in the lineup because he was convinced that the audience would be gone by the time he got up and he wanted his stage time. I told him “no”. I almost told him he could switch with the TV star and do 5 minutes earlier in the show, but I think he saw that I was getting upset and dropped it. When it was his turn, he sat on the stool and gave no energy to his performance.

Here’s the thing — a movie producer was one of the 6 members of the audience. I didn’t know that until after the show. But the kid he came to see was super sweet, had a great set, and told me later that he doesn’t care if there are 2 people, he’s just excited to be on stage.  So a TV star and a headliner who probably wouldn’t mind being in movies phoned in their performances in front of a movie producer because the audience wasn’t “big” enough for them.

This is Hollywood-ish, so who knows how important this producer really is. But the lesson for me once again, is put your heart in what you’re doing. And you know what? I was having a bad day yesterday. Yesterday Crystal might not have been as relaxed about nearly cancelled shows as Today Crystal. For whatever reason, Today Crystal was cool. Yesterday Crystal would have let the show be cancelled and gone home feeling sorry for herself.  If Yesterday Crystal had been running the shows tonight, that kid wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come off shining not only to a booker at a comedy club but to a movie producer.

So I’m not mad at the TV star or the headliner because, yeah, you want a bigger crowd when you’re performing on a comedy show. But often, seeing how people handle disappointment is more telling in 90 minutes than knowing someone peripherally, for years. So I’m not mad at those guys, but I sure as fuck know that every idiot who got on stage tonight who felt sorry for himself wasted an opportunity in front of two people who could have helped them with their careers.

Because right now, I’m a junior booker at a fledgling club in LA. And maybe Tomorrow Crystal will be working as a cashier at IKEA — but maybe our club will make it, and maybe I’ll still be a part of it, and maybe someday I’ll be able to choose someone I think should be given a big opportunity, and who am I going to choose? I have a short list.

Just in case someone ever stumbles across this post and tries to figure out who I’m talking about — I’m scheduling this post for some random date within the next 2 months, so good luck!

Empty Houses

There are two things that bother me in day-to-day life: I miss my dead mom and my dead brother, and I hate that people just don’t get it.

I have a friend who has a sister-in-law who is just a lovely little nightmare. She has a persecution complex and she has decided that my friend is her enemy and is therefore not nice to my friend. My friend is a nice person. She doesn’t mean harm to anyone, she actively tries to grow spiritually and emotionally, and she just wants to help people. She’s actually studying to be a social worker, right now. Like, right this minute.

But this almost makes it worse when my friend misunderstands or misinterprets something I say. After my mom died, my friend was the only person who called me every single day and wouldn’t get off the phone until I yelled at her about how shitty I felt. She’s a good friend.

BUT although she has experienced loss, she has never lost a core family member, and she kept trying apply her own knowledge of loss to what I was going through. I could not get her to understand how absolutely devastated I was, which would have been fine, but she would always start the conversation by asking if I was doing better, like another day or two was supposed to heal the soul that had been torn to shreds, tattered pieces floating in the ether, each of them red-hot and screaming in pain.

One time, trying to find a metaphor she’d understand, I told her that my heart is like a house with rooms in it for everyone I love. And I spend as much time as possible in the rooms that are full of people I love, but I’m constantly, crushingly aware  of the empty rooms. My little brother died when I was 7, my mom died a few years ago, and I have various friends and acquaintances who hold empty rooms in my house. Each empty room is furnished with memories and reasons I love those people, all reasons I miss them so much.

Today, my friend called me and reminded me of this analogy, which instantly flooded me with not only the sense of loss I had when I was describing it to her, but the aggravation of trying to explain myself to someone who didn’t and couldn’t understand. She used this analogy to compare me to her sister-in-law, something to the effect of, “You have a hard life but you just focus on what you have and the good things in your life.” Which is true, I do my best to do exactly that, but a) I know how hard it is for me to do that — way fucking harder than dismissing that struggle in one fucking sentence, and b) that wasn’t the point of the analogy.

The point was that now matter how many people I love who are still left, and how much I enjoy them and appreciate that they’re alive, two of the three biggest rooms in my house are empty. And they’ll always be empty. No matter how many times I fall down, I can’t go into my mom’s room and get my boo-boos kissed. I can accomplish great things in my life, and two of the three people in the world who would have been happier for and prouder of me than me, can’t.

And just remembering the fact that those rooms are empty, which happens an unrelentingly ridiculous amount of times a day, sends my psyche into a stratosphere of agony. Because life is nothing without the people we love.

Anyway, I know that my friend means well and that she’s not trying to misunderstand me and misinterpret what I say, but it’s super frustrating to talk to someone who is supposed to be one of my best friends who just misses the point SO much. And the worst part is that she’s constantly praising me for being so evolved and shit, and I’m just not. I’m tired. I’m afraid. I’m trying.

But I’m not a better person than anyone else. I just understand that spreading my misery doesn’t make ME feel better. I try to be nice and I try to understand where people are coming from because it makes ME feel safer and happier to do that than to purposely misinterpret good intentions and expect the worst. Life is already the worst. It doesn’t need my help.