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Bartleby the Intern

Cranky is working in an office. HELP! Unfortunately, it turns out that Cranky is efficient at this sort of thing, so Cranky’s desk is a mountain of folders and papers and everyone else’s is empty. (Can I go home now?) Of course, as fate would have it, it is a quirky office. So Cranky is compiling stories that will be fodder for future plays for like fifteen or twenty years. Seriously. Who knew the office world had more crazies than the theatrical world?

We recently hired an intern to do our Social Media. Which is annoying in itself. Because to be a business now you HAVE to have a Social Media “presence,” so you are forced to pay someone to post inane crap on Facebook and Twitter to make the Google search engine happy. Every recent grad should thank Google that there is a job for them now when they get out of school reposting Buzz feed posts.

So we hired someone with a Masters from Columbia. It’s in Poetry, so there were probably two other people in her program. She had an exaggerated valley girl accent, and talked really loud which made Cranky want to get rid of her immediately. But it didn’t take very long, really. She was so superficial, the title of her autobiography should be: IT’S ALL ABOUT GUCCI. “OMG! I found a Marc Jacobs jacket! Don’t you love this Louis Vuitton bag?”

Within three weeks, she convinced the owner that she needed to be paid for forty hours in order to do her job. Facebook and Twitter. She was constantly printing out the graphs from the sites and exclaiming, “WE HAVE 7 BIZILLION TWITTER FOLLOWERS! WE GOT 8 THOUSAND LIKES ON FACEBOOK!” Nice. But did this translate into one new client? No. But not understanding Social Media, the boss was impressed and paid her for forty hours. Most of which she spent shopping and (in and out of the office). She called it an “integrated lifestyle,” which is code for I CAN WORK WHENEVER THE FUCK I WANT.

Then she breaks up with her boyfriend and sleeps on friend’s couches and starts surreptitiously sleeping at the office. I go in early one day and she is there. Which was odd. When questioned, she says, “I came in early because the office was like such a mess I didn’t even want you to see it.’ This from someone who does nothing in the office. Her clothes start collecting around the floor of her desk. One morning the boss comes in early and finds her in bed in the back office with a random guy. The boss left and I had to listen to her cry all day about how she had screwed up (good double entendre, you think?). I am actually trying to work, and I have to look at her with mascara running down her face telling me how much she loathes herself. She uses the word loathes instead of hates because she is a poet.

A few days later, she spends an entire day talking about how she is getting STD tested and she is stressed about it. What if she has this? What if she has that? What if she shut up for ten minutes? I finally say I’ve had enough about the STDs.

Two days later, her integrated lifestyle plan kicks into high-gear when she tells us she has to leave at 1:30 because she got herself cast in a porn film. Ah, what? Yeah. She’s excited. This is why she got the STD test, because they demand documentation of no STD’s before you can work with them. Hers is clear, and she keeps saying, “I can’t believe I am so pure.” She spends the morning changing outfits and twisting her hair and showing me the great self-tanning product she is wearing. Then she goes out for a minute and the boss tells me she is going to buy an enema because she has been hired to do anal on the film. Why do I have to know this? Do you ever wonder why people tell you things? So she comes back with a CVS bag and goes into the Ladies room that we share with the other offices on the floor. Then Cranky has to pee like a racehorse. But wild horses could not drag Cranky into that Ladies room because I know what’s going on in there and I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. I am suffering. She is taking forever. After she finally returns, I go in there and there is water all over the floor. I realize I am the only one who knows this is ass water. Shoot me now.

Cranky is afraid she is going to have some kind of breakdown on the set, but when she comes in the next morning the first thing she says is, “I had the best night’s sleep.” Go figure.

Her expulsion finally occurs when she sets her sights on the boss’s boyfriend. Bu-bye intern.

The Magazine Photo Shoot

Cranky recently did a photo shoot for a major magazine. Playing a mom of an errant teenager. Funny, the same magazine wrote a cover article about errant teenagers when Cranky was one and Cranky’s suburban town along with Cranky’s crazy friends were in that article. But I suppose one could write about errant teenagers every few years.

Anyway, the casting director said the stylist would be in touch about wardrobe. No word from the stylist for days. Then the stylist emails me the morning of the shoot and said to call her when I got up. When I call her, she tells me they were shopping until 11pm sorry she didn’t call, she is on the way to the shoot, she got some choices, could I bring some clothes, do I have khaki pants, they are thinking blue for me, yes going to put me in blue, do you have a blue dress, and , and how about nice jeans do I have a pair of those, and bring a bunch of accessories… At some point I just hold the phone away from my ear and let her go on.

Cranky has been through this before and has no intention of bringing the laundry list of clothes. Because I know. I know what will happen. Which does. When I get there, she hands me a blue dress with a price tag on it and says, “Go put this on.” And there is a mountain of accessories. There always is. No need to bring your best pearl earrings only to have them lost on chaotic set. No no.

In the photographer’s studio are three moms, three dads and three teenagers with their stage moms. One of them an uber stage mom who never stops talking about all the things her kid has done. She says she has a suitcase of pictures that she brings with her to show casting directors all the projects he’s been on. “That suitcase is heavy! There are so many pictures!” “How about just a resume? I suggest. She is living through the poor sucker. He looks resigned to it. On top of that, he is home schooled. No break from the constant fawning. I feel like telling him if he ever wants to feel like a normal teenager he can come and stay at my house and I will ignore him 22 hours a day.

There is talk on the set that this might be a cover story. So the “family” that the editors pick will be on the cover. Great I think. That will be fun. I am going to make sure my family rocks the shoot. Then I go into makeup. The makeup artist makes me look like Mommy Dearest. Frightening Cookie Monster eyebrows with a pale face. No mascara, eyeliner or lipstick. I frighten myself when I look in the mirror. When she is done I pray. Dear God please don’t let this be in the cover. Please don’t let this be on the cover. PLEASE NOT THE COVER!

Cranky Must Do It Herself

Cranky is conquering new worlds everyday. Doing new and wonderful things that used to be relegated to the husband in situ. Like the other day I killed a centipede. Myself. Formerly, me and the dog would run into the other room. But no more. If I ran into the other room it would just hide and come out and walk across my face while I was sleeping.

Or getting a new computer and putting the software on it and getting the files off something called a Time Machine or Time Capsule, or some scary thing. Which the ex set the password to. Which, when asked, he “couldn’t remember.” Cranky did not want a new computer for just this reason. I tried three times to have the old one fixed because I was petrified (and poor). On my fourth visit, the Genius people took the old one away and handed me a new 2013 model. Cranky started crying. The technician handed her a box of tissues. They should have a sign that says, “No crying at the Genius Bar.” Crying at such a high tech place seems so wrong. So incongruous with the sleek design and glowing screens. I think they thought they were tears of happiness. But no. In great trepidation Cranky took the new Airbook. And bought software. “Do you use Outlook?” they asked. “Huh?” I answered. So Cranky had to figure it out. Now that it is done, I feel like Rosy the Riveter. Except my motto would be:
If we HAVE to do it WE CAN DO IT.

One of my best friends is a lesbian. We once planted a garden together, and the way she wielded a shovel was awe inspiring. That Sista is not waiting for some guy to come along and do it. She can paint a room in like an hour. So she is an icon of man-free life.

The first thing I had to figure out was how to walk the dog when I got home at 2am without getting MURDERLIZED as they say in Brooklyn. I changed routes and feel my life expectancy is at least two more years.
And I actually solved a DVD player problem. The picture was purple and green. A friend loaned me hers and I plugged it in. Still purple and green. I somehow figured out it was the input things on the TV and not the player. So I just kept plugging things into the back of the television willy nilly until it worked. At one point all the plugs were hanging and Cranky just felt guided by the universe and the spirit of Rosy. And Voila. It worked.

Another big step in my life as divorcee, was experiencing the best pick-up line. One morning while waiting for my coffee at Pret a Manger, a guy standing behind me said: “Let me get a hair so I can clone you.” Very creative. Maybe life NOT hopeless.

Cranky Goes Bi-Coastal

Like everyone else, I have my depressing fucking moments. Like lately.

It is interesting that one of the most popular searches that bring readers to my blog is; “I’m so depressed I can’t function.”

Like I can relate. Like my last post was May fucking 18th. Like I don’t like this divorce business. Like I like things to stay the same. Like maybe my joke: “I would throw myself off the Brooklyn Bridge except I’m afraid of heights!” isn’t really so funny funny.

So one must remember the good things. Like the fact that right now as I am writing this I am resting my head on a dog pillow. A live dog that is. My dog who sits on the back of the couch while I write and lets me rest my head on her. How bad can things be if you can feel a dog breathing?

An actress friend of mine is listing on facebook everyday the things she DID accomplish. I could make a list of the things I MEANT to accomplish and it would be quite impressive.

Anyway back to the positive. My auditions might be nuttily slow right now, but I must remember that for months I was actually on a poster on both coasts:

For HBO.

A big poster. I went and took a picture of one of the posters in a parking lot in Soho. The attendant looked at the poster and looked at me and said; “Oh! That’s you! That’s you!” My one celebrity moment in a life of anonymity.

How did I get the job?

A casting director emailed me. And of course because it paid money and was bi-coastal and for HBO I was major nervous. I excel at deferred pay, low-budget contract no stakes auditions. Oh yeah. I own the room. But put me in the big time and I fold like a badly put up boy scout tent.

On the way there I think about how this reaction is not going to give me the results I want. So my mantra as I walk up Sixth Avenue is; “Don’ t fuck up. Don’t fuck up. Don’t fuck up.”

I go in,go to the sign in sheet, and look down and see the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen. The actress tells me they are Monolo Blahniks.”Is there a whole different life for people who audition for big LA casting directors?”I ask myself. “Is it a world of beautiful shoes?”

Then she sits down and switches into her pumps and they Christian Laboutins. I swear. Christian Laboutins. On an actress. I thought we were all Daffy’s queens. What’s up with this?

I become obsessed with the shoes.

I ask her about them. She tells me her husband bought them for her and they were1000 bucks. Really? Well good for you. Oh yeah? Well my husband bought me a gift once too! WHEN WE WERE DATING.

Cranky has always had taste. Even as a small child if asked which item of clothing she preferred in a department store she would invariably point her chubby little childhood finger at the most expensive item. My parents thought it was hilarious.

The actress actually looks like a blond version of Audrey Hepburn. A gamin, a pixie. She is up for the same print ad. Really? Should I go home now?

But then I remember my idol Ruth Gordon who always talked about how it takes courage to make it. One of my favorite quotes of hers:

“To get it right, be born with luck or else make it. Never give up. Get the knack of getting people to help you and also pitch in yourself. A little money helps, but what really gets it right is to never — I repeat — never under any conditions face the facts.”

So Cranky ignores the facts and is happy and charming in the room with the casting director as they snap pictures. Cranky forgets about the pixie with the 1000-dollar shoes. And Cranky gets on the poster and the pixie is nowhere to be seen.

Cranky As Divorcee

Cranky is in transition. And women in transition have to be careful. I’ve seen it before. A woman used to having a man around will settle for the nearest thing at hand just to fill the newly emptied space in her life. I had a friend who lost her husband at age 40 and dated wildly inappropriate men for a while. Seriously, she would have brought home the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The Hunchback could have been sitting in her living room drooling and she would look at him and think, “I can make this work. From some angles he looks OK. He’s not so bad in this light.”

So I know I must be careful not to fall into cliché newly divorced will date weirdoes category.

Last night when I was walking my little black dog down the street I reached the corner and saw a busboy who was getting off duty from the local pub. “Hello” he said. “Hi” I said back and continued on. Two blocks later he pulled up beside me on his bicycle. “You bootiful lady,” he says, “you have boyfriend?”

And for a moment time freezes and I wonder what would happen if I took Jose home? I flash forward in my mind to mornings a month from now. I am leaving for work in the morning. “Did you make the beds Jose? What are you making for dinner tonight? Don’t forget to do the dishes.” (His specialty) Sort of Brooklyn version of a pool boy. And we would never fight because he can’t understand a word I say. I could make this work. Maybe I could.

I come back to reality and hear his words in my head, “You have boyfriend?” “No,” I answer, “We broke up. I’m in mourning, I can’t talk.”

He looks at me with a confused look and drives his bicycle away. I know it was a ridiculous thing to say, but sometimes Cranky just says things to entertain herself.

Commercial Audition Freaks Cranky Out

Cranky had a commercial audition this week. And without fail, commercial auditions are completely fucking retarded. Seriously.

And of course when I got up in the morning there was a mystery bump on my face. Mystery bumps always seem to pop out the day of an on camera audition. Why why why?

Had an appointment at Three of Us Studios. Get there and it is a morass of women of the same age range on a serpentine line just to sign in. Really? Everyone is Asian except for me and one other gal – so I know we are the token Caucasians. Just so the NAACP doesn’t come down on them. National Association of Caucasian Persons. Because the Caucasian middle age white ladies really do need help in the commercial world. Actually this one needs mental help to make it through the audition.

At sign in I am given a board with my name and a number. Then I am brought into the room with eight other women and lined up against the wall to wait my turn. The stone face clients are sitting behind a table. Nobody is saying nothing. You can hear a pin drop in the room. Really? If I am going to make an ass of myself auditioning for your commercial, at least act like you are engaged. The room is dim. The nervousness of each woman as they take their turn in front of the camera is palpable. They are rushing because they are behind. So nurturing for artists, you think?

A woman whose job description I think is “herder” keeps coming in and shoving us down the wall to make room for more victims.

Finally it is Cranky’s turn. Cranky hates reverent silence and must be irreverent at all costs to feel like a semblance of herself. The camera guy asks me to hold the board under my face while he takes my picture. I lock eyes with him and say, “You know this all feels very Nick Nolte.” At least I made him laugh and broke the horrible horrible silence. “I know,” he says, “just don’t let it show on your face.” Then I turn for the profile shot. Then a close up of my hands. OH NO! Not the hands! My nails and cuticles look like they’ve been through a blender. I had a friend who went out for a lot of commercials, and every time she had a call to go on, got a facial and a manicure the day before. Now I know why, but I’m not sure if working in commercials ended up profitable for her.

But the hands were not the worst of it. Next was the video camera. “State your name, your agency and give us your best dance moves.” Your best dance moves in a silent room with the stone face people. YOUR BEST DANCE MOVES! This, as they say in “Tropic Thunder” is FULL RETARD. But it pays pays pays. So Cranky hears the song Money, Money, Money in her head and dances to it. In retrospect, my dance moves were a bit too pole dancey for the mom in a cell phone commercial. Yeah I guess they were. But I closed my eyes and went for it. The specter of dollar bills dancing in my head.

As I was leaving, I pass a room that was auditioning kids for a commercial. The kids are all hanging out by the door to the audition room, and there is actually a girl of about eight wearing a black sequined beret. How sad. Actor kids are such freakazoids. Take your kid home and let them play after school and get dirty. The precious actor thing looks kinda unnatural on a kid, you know? It is bad enough on adults. Of which I admit I am one.

And now it is Saturday and now it is over and I think I will spring for eight bucks and get a manicure. Because us freakazoid actors always have to be ready as they say.

Grammy’s With the Gays Saves the Day

Cranky fell apart last week. Why? Cranky’s husband took a powder that’s why. Cranky’s usual powers of concentration were gone gone.

I had a few incidents that made me doubt my sanity. Which takes a lot because Cranky already accepts that she’s a bit crazy. But I was saved. Thank goodness for the gays.

But I digress.

Last week. Had a meeting with my boss and an important luncheon. And the running question all day that my boss had was; “Where is my manila envelope with the information I need to write the proposal?” “Ah, I don’t know. I haven’t seen it,” answered Cranky. “Are you sure?” asked my boss. “Never saw it,” I say. This goes on all day. We search the car. We search my partner’s car. At the end of the day the boss puts me in a car and has her assistant drive me all the way to the Westchester office to see if she left it there. It is 7:00 at night. It’s an empty warehouse building. I unlock three doors, turn on lights in the pitch-black building and turn off the alarm system. The “envelope” is not there. The assistant drops me at the train and one minute before my train to Grand Central arrives I get a text from my boss: “Are you SURE you don’t have it?” I give out an exasperated sigh and open my briefcase. There it is. It is a folder, not an envelope, which is what I was looking for all day. I text my boss back: The fucking folder is in my fucking briefcase.” She calls me,” Get in a cab and bring it to me.” So I get in brand X car service car and go from one Westchester town to another to find the restaurant she is in now. My boss talks really really fast and I cannot understand the name of the restaurant or the address. And I can’t keep saying, “What what what?” because even if the other person is completely unintelligible, if you keep saying “what what what?” they think you are the stupid one. So I end up doing multiple U-turns on a dark suburban street while the Hispanic driver looks at me like I’m a complete idiot. By the third phone call I ascertain that she had given me the wrong street name. It was Envelope. Just kidding.

The next day I go to work to find out that I had entered the wrong code into the alarm and the police came and we are being charged one hundred and fifty bucks for the unnecessary visit. The landlord is happy because he hates me and has the whole thing on tape from the security camera. “She was in the building for six minutes!” I can hear him yelling up and down the hall.

Then I did background work on “Damages” on my day off and left my wallet on the roof when I went up there to take pictures of the view. My wallet. On the roof. A crew member by some miracle found it and gave it to me. I was completely unaware that I had lost it.

I guess I had lost it in more ways than one.

But then I got to watch “The Grammy’s” with the gays. They set Cranky straight. “It’s all about moving past it,” they tell me. “We have to find you a song.” They were SO FUN. And Cranky found some perfect songs. That darling Taylor Swift really hit the nail on the head with that “Mean” song. And Adele gave me chills with her “Rolling in the Deep” performance. They are on my IPod now and I play them every morning when I get ready for work.

I was feeling better already. “WE COULD’VE HAD IT ALL…….”


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February 2016
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