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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…….”

Tweet Yourself to an Evening of Theater?

Last week in The New York Times Peter Funt reported that theaters are now creating tweet seats so the umbilically electronically attached may tweet on Twitter during performances. Really? This makes Cranky like crazy cranky. STOP. NO! Dear Mr. Funt titled his article “Theater for Twits.” A man after mine own heart.

Exactly what is the world coming to? I ask you. Why why why would they change the etiquette of the theater to accommodate what teenagers are doing walking up and down the sidewalk?

People need to learn the proper etiquette of theater going, and adapt themselves to that. Not the other way around.

I once witnessed a family of five try to bring five full Happy Meals complete with humongous beverages into the theater to see “Spiderman.” They didn’t know. The door guy told them they couldn’t bring them in. Next time they will know. It was their first time at the theater, and contrary to what happens in a movie theater, there are actually live people on the stage who need to be heard and can hear you. There is a first time for everyone. I know a guy who saw his first Broadway show at three years old-but he is city people and we all know they are not the norm. I saw my first Broadway show as a teenager when a friend brought me to see her father in a play. Of course Cranky was immediately entranced – hence a life of suffering in the theater.

Tweeting at the theater is wrong on so many levels. What’s next? A sleeping section complete with reclining seats for recalcitrant husbands who didn’t want to go to the theater in the first place? “This is more like it,” says the husband as he kicks back and pulls the lever on his Lazy boy theater seat and reclines away his evening of theater.

Or sections in restaurants for people who want to chew with their mouth open? “This is great!” says the customer as bits of food fly out of his mouth hitting the other open mouth eaters beside him.

I’m sad to say The Public Theater was one of the theaters with Tweet seats.

I wonder who was the first one to tell the actors about this? Were they in the dressing room about to go onstage? I just love when someone drops a bomb right before you go onstage. “SO AND SO IS IN THE AUDIENCE!” Great. Thanks. Now I will be completely self-conscious and not be able to think about anything else throughout the entire show.

I can just see it. “Oh, guys, ah, hey,” says the assistant director. (Poor AD’s always have to do these things.) “Um, ah, we have Tweet Seats in the theater now, so if you see something glowing in the audience, just ignore it.”

Does anyone besides actors realize the depths of an actor’s paranoia? You know that that night onstage every time an actor caught a hint of a glimmer in the audience they were thinking; “Are they tweeting about me? Are they making fun of me? Maybe if I was more interesting they would stop tweeting.”

Hello Public Theater! Actors spend years developing their craft and they have to put up with this crap? How about some “Respect for The Theater” as Uta Hagen says?

Is this a technological return to pre-Wagnerian theater? Are we technologically recreating audiences more interested in talking to each other than watching and listening to the show? Wagner was the one who insisted that the house lights be turned off so the audience had to focus on his music. He felt his music was important and the audience needed to listen to it instead of talking to each other and visiting each other’s box seats. You go Wagner dude. I’m with you.

A Cranky Thanksgiving Story

Cranky’s husband has taken a powder. Which is why Cranky’s life has turned into an episode of “Two Broke Girls” or actually the Cranky version, which is “One Broke Girl and Her Dog.” Every week, I compare my bank account with theirs. 632.23? You go girls! So Cranky has had to hustle for money to put food on the table and in the dog bowl. After applying for like a light year’s amount of jobs, Cranky got hired by a company that supplies personal assistants to rich people. Which is really the perfect thing for this economy. A direct redistribution of wealth. If we cannot tax the rich we can at least get them to pay us a nice chunk of change for rearranging the Birkin bags in their closets. It’s all very Robin Hood like. The tagline for the company should be “Takes From the Rich and Give to the Poor.”

So off I go on my first assignment on the Upper East Side, natch.

I get there at 9 a.m. and it seems no one is home. 9:05 no one there. 9:10-nope, nobody. The uniform doorman shrugs his shoulders. 9:15-nothin’. Then the doorman asks another building employee about her. “Oh her?” he says, ‘She’s in the gym.” Doorman calls the gym. “She says to wait,” he says. Thanks, got that. Would I ever in my life do that to someone? No. But I have never in my life had a personal assistant.

So to sum up the day. The client spent the entire day trying to decide whether she should go to Rancho La Puerta or the mental hospital. Cranky could not make this up. RANCHO LA PUERTA SPA OR THE MENTAL HOSPITAL.

The plan was for me to organize her office. What actually happened was doctors kept calling to tell her to check herself in to the psych ward.

The phone rings. “Hello?” she says, “A locked ward? I don’t know. I don’t know. Well, I have a tennis game on Tuesday, I’m not sure if I can find a sub.” She turns to me. “He hung up on me. He’s not very nurturing.” Then she stops and brings her face close to mine and while gently moving her face back and forth asks, “Do I look crazy to you?”

Why the universe puts Cranky in these situations I will never know. Maybe it’s because Cranky has a sense of humor and the universe knows Cranky will appreciate it. Anyway, Cranky answers tentatively, “Not really,”

“I don’t?” she says.

“Well,” I say, “ I’ve been around depressed people and usually they can’t do anything. You play tennis and go to the gym. You don’t seem very high on the depression scale to me.”

The phone rings again.

She answers. “Hello? Yes I am thinking about it. I don’t know. Well maybe. If I check myself in can you guarantee I’ll be out by Friday afternoon? I have a big dinner that night.”

So the day is spent with the client sitting with her hands on my knee asking me what she should do. “I think I should just go to Rancho La Puerta instead. I mean, they have a structured environment there. Maybe I just need a rest. But I don’t know if I should go alone.” A pause. A long stare at Cranky. “It might be better to have someone with me.”

Now Cranky loves a spa as much as anyone. The people in the white robes and the new age music remind Cranky of the afterlife, but all the shiatsu in the world could not reverse the psychic cloud surrounding this woman, so I swivel in my chair and look down.

She invites me to lunch. As we are entering, she says; “We’ll split something.” I am on the Upper East Side. The bastion of rich women who eat nothing and are cheap cheap cheap. So she orders a lunch special and we pick at it. I keep asking for refills of the teapot to fill myself up.

When we return, I do my one task of the day. I make out a check for a kid having his Bar Mitzvah and write a card. As I am writing, I realize that I have been out socially with the Mom. It is a classic reversal of fortune moment. A few months ago I was a happy wife. Now there I sat, poor, alone, listening quietly to a crazy rich woman who has all the material things anyone could ever want, who can’t decide whether to go to the nuthouse or to Rancho La Puerta, and I see, in spite of everything I am still lucky.


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