Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Jersey Deters Me (Part I)

Hello friends and family,

I’m sorry it has been so long since I’ve written, but this past week and a half have been the busiest and worst rested yet, and I did not have the time or focus to be blogging. But here I am now in Uniondale NY, finally breathing at a normal pace, and on the (cyber?) air once again. Since I am so far behind, and since I find it so important to thoroughly catch you up, I’ve done my posting for the night in a few more bite-sized segments.


Newark was a good site, although the last two days there began with 10:30 shows (9:30 pre-show), which was not very nice. I was really tired on Saturday especially, because I had to go on the market run the previous night, which didn’t leave until 11:30, and the pickup was 1:00! We got very surprised looks from the few people working there at that late hour, who certainly were not expecting to have a bus pull up and flood them with about 30 people. We all did our shopping at a very leisurely pace, and strategically (frozen things last), because it was such a long time before the bus got back. As it often happens, the bulk of us got to the check-out at the same time, creating long lines and a sea of carts. There were only two lanes open, and those two employees were thoroughly overwhelmed. In a panic, one of them told the second half of her line that they were all going to have to move over to self-check-out. I looked behind me, and saw that the second half of the line was all Russians. Of course they had no idea what the woman was saying, and didn’t move out of the line, which only furthered her agitation. Luckily I was already at the register, so I explained the situation to her and told them where to go. When she was done ringing me up, I went and helped Roman and Andre, who were looking particularly desperate. I don’t blame them; those machines are difficult in English! It took a long time because they had so much produce, and because Roman kept pulling things off the scale to bag them, and the computer kept scolding us and halting the order. Finally we finished, and were some of the last ones on the bus. They were very grateful; “Spaseeba, Joyka. Sank you.”

Although I was very tired that weekend (the hour lost in the time change before the early show on Sunday didn’t help too much either), we had a really nice alley to relax in, there in Newark. It was the pressroom for that building, and there was a table-shelf all the way around the room, two televisions, and rolling office chairs! How luxurious. We were rather far away from backstage though, which made for a lot of fast dashing to cues. Because of an event in that alley that shall go untold, a new rule has been announced to us. It is that if any of us partake in the act of scuffle, skirmish, fracas, or any other version of hand-to-hand combat, we will be suspended from the show for a week. This, of course, is a serious matter, but us Smirkos couldn’t help but joke that we could just stand in a triangle and punch left, and that would be the perfect arrangement for when we want to come visit Smirkus this summer.

On Sunday night, as soon after the last show as we could, Book and I packed up and headed out to New York, where we caught a Lucky Star bus to Boston. He was going to visit Shifty, and I, joyfully, was going back home to visit my family. And how wonderful it was! I was picked up at Alewife by my mom and my dog, both of whom gave me a lot of kisses. Even though we recently moved into our house, and I am not all that familiar with it, nothing could have seemed more welcoming. I was amazed by the warmth, the flushing toilet, the oven, the second floor, the full-length mirrors, the appliances, the refrigerator, and the number of steps it took to get across a room! I took it all for granted before. On my first morning home I stayed in bed for a while just snuggling with Jasper, which is something I had been missing dreadfully. Later I went to Trader Joe’s to fulfill my non-Walmart shopping needs, and returned home to bake a cake and putter around. In the evening everyone came over, and we had a lovely family dinner, which is also something I had been missing dreadfully. Both of my grandmothers were there, Mom of course, Dad and Sylvia, Annie, Andy, and Kathy and Fred. It was great to see so many family members, and to have the chance to talk at a dinner table instead of hurriedly on the pre-show floor or the phone. I spent Tuesday with Andy, which was great. We took the T into Boston to see the Watchmen movie. It was so strange to be back taking this route that was so familiar and usual to me, when I was beginning to think I would always be in a new and different place. I must admit that when the train broke out above the ground at the bridge at MGH, and I was so suddenly struck with that resplendent view of Boston, I couldn’t stop myself from crying. That’s just how home is, I guess. I really enjoyed the movie, especially because I had been looking forward to it for so long. Watchmen is one of my very favorite books (recommended!), and the one that began my interest in graphic novels, so I would probably have been happy just to see the actors run around in their costumes. For the complexity of the book, and the special attention I think it deserves though, I think the whole thing would have been better as a mini-series, but they did a good job keeping as much of the story as they could. Don’t mind my ranting.

Later that evening we went to M’s house to meet her new puppy! His name is Beacon, and he was very sleepy. I spent a lot more time playing with Steamer than I did getting to know Beacon (because really, how could I ever ignore that dog), but he was a real sweet little cutie pie, and I think he is a great addition to the herd.

The next morning, very very early, mom drove me to South Station. With many a sigh, I caught the 6:30 bus back to New York with Book, and slept all the way. With a minimum of unintentional detours, we made it to the arena in East Rutherford NJ with six minutes to spare before the cast meeting. No five dollar fine for us (amazingly)!

Then began the saga of East Rutherford, which includes such adventures as the nearly broken head, the attack of the crazy crazy audience, the retreat of the shy shy audience, the annoying taxi PR, the Sugarfest, the tiniest vom ever seen, and the possible recurrence of (barf) bloomers. To be continued!

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