The Not to Do List

Cranky went from functioning primarily in the performance world to working in the business world and has, oddly, been successful at it. But there are times it still makes Cranky cringe. Like now. Now when there is a pandemic and there are business meetings on marketing strategies during the time of Corona. I can’t take it. Years of being an actor has made Cranky in touch with her emotions which is very unfortunate during these times. I’m afraid any day there will be an update to our website something like:

 

COVID 19 SPECIAL

 

OUR RECRUITERS ARE HOME DOING NOTHING AND WAITING FOR YOUR CALL!

 

CALL US NOW AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR LOW

 

PANDEMIC PERCENTAGE!

 

Cranky is not her usual efficient self, so the dearth of clients is a welcome thing. Work has been low of the list of priorities. Priorities are now categorized in a new way during the stay at home life. They are:

 

Eat: Will accomplish

Buy Food: A must

Wash Dishes: Will do because want to eat more

Online Dance Class: Haven’t missed a day as only sign of life

Sleep: Now a reflex to go into an early coma and sleep late

Walk dog: Love of dog overcomes laziness so we never miss one

Netflix/Amazon: Yes. Thank you.

Shower: Everyday because sleep better

Wash hair: Any night not going into early coma (any day now)

Work: Need money to keep coming in VS no motivation, so compromise and work for 2 hours

Pay bills: Will get to it any day now

Prepare tax docs and send to accountant: Never going to happen my friend

 

Cranky has gotten used to the new order of things and the things that she will never do. It’s OK. Maybe motivation will come back before tax day on July 15th. My sweet accountant spoke to Cranky the other day and said. “Get the stuff I need to me soon, OK?” Cranky said “Sure!” and knew it might not happen.

 

Yesterday someone asked Cranky, “What are you going to do this weekend?” I thought how could you ask me that question? There is nothing to do and no place to go? Before I answered she said, “I’m getting Chinese food delivered.” Then I realized that the standard of what constitutes and activity has totally changed. Now food delivery is on the list how I spent my weekend.

 

Cranky meant to pay the bills today. She really did. And was going to vacuum too and wash hair! But now it is already somehow 6 o’clock and time to walk the dog and eat. Oh well.

 

Where Am I?

Cranky has gone through the 3 stages of Corona. Numbness, depression and acceptance. Initially numb and not feeling things were so different. Making jokes and going out as much as possible, including to a local mall before they closed to buy a pile of great books to read while being a shut in. Ha ha ha. La de da.

After a week, the depression of being home sets in. This is some creepy shit. Who can concentrate and read a book? I can barely focus enough to watch The Voice. I can’t figure out what to eat. Nothing appeals to me. I keep making food, putting it on a plate and then scraping it into the garbage. After a couple of days of this I call a friend who tells me I must go to the store and buy corned beef hash-that this is the solution. This is from someone who has been a stalwart vegetarian for years. My other vegetarian friend who lives north of Seattle has been cooking up meatloaves and baking chickens, so this might be a trend. My friend is right. The corned beef hash in a can is a food from childhood that I know I could eat. I go to the Korean deli and there is not one can of it on the shelves. I realize everyone is in bunker mode. I go to the supermarket. They have it. I buy 4 cans. I go home and put it in a pan and the dog gets a suspicious look on her face because I think she thought it was supposed to be dog food due to look and smell of it. I put one egg on top to make it semi-healthy. I can eat! I have to do this weird meal everyday and cannot vary from it. I know it is crazy, but it is all I can do. I spent one weekend exhausted from stress. Then I pulled myself together and thought, “ I’m sure Nelson Mandela under house arrest did not watch seven episodes of Homeland in one day.” I must get it together.

So I have now gone over to acceptance. This is life now. I keep myself on a routine like a disciplined prisoner who works out in their cell. Get up. Mocha Decaf and read. Walk dog. Do work (joke). Do an online ballet barre. Eat hash. Try to work (some days: productive, other days: one phone call). Walk dog. Try to eat something. Try to find one thing on Netflix that holds my attention. Read. Walk dog. Bed.

Today I hand sewed 2 facemasks to comply with the Mayor’s request that we wear them. I don’t want to be shunned at the market. I also refuse to wear the horrible paper things so I cut up a bunny tea towel for one and a navy bandana for the other. I have a face mask wardrobe at the ready. bandana (1)

I realize I won’t be wearing lipstick for a while and this depresses me. Washing hair on a regular basis has been a struggle. Who cares? I actually set my hair on hot rollers yesterday to conduct a Zoom meeting. It was the social event of the day.

My partner sent me flowers the other day to cheer me up. I joked with her that it is amazing that we can keep working under the specter of death. My boss suggests we all read about Churchill to see that they had it worse then. I kinda doubt it. They keep saying “We are in this together.” People in World War II were in it together. We are in this apart.

Life In the Time of Corona

It just came to me that I have been living in the same rent stabilized apartment for a million years. I was walking down the street with a friend when my shabby building came into view with the mismatched pointing, the sidewalk with overgrown weeds, the multicolor bricks and the lights glowing from windows with air conditioners sticking out of iron gratings that have been sawed open to make space for them and I said, “Dear God don’t let me die in this building. Please. I don’t want the sad little flower arrangement on the broken-down table in the lobby with a note next to it with grammatical errors saying, “Dear Neighbors, after 25 years of tenancy, apartment 3H has passed away.” “

When Joey died, who had lived in the building for 47 years, the cheap bouquet and a notice appeared on the sad table. Then, as is common in the building, another tenant HAD to add their own note. The note read: Rest in Peace, Joey. The grammatical structure of the note would indicate that the note was FROM Joey, which was hilarious and sad all at the same time. It is Rest in Peace Joey not Rest in Peace COMMA Joey. For some reason I feel like this type of grammatical error only exists in rent-controlled buildings, but I know that is my own prejudice due to my fear of dying here. And now the stupid virus crap is abounding.

What if my last view on earth is the fat lady who sits outside the building and never combs her hair? Or the lobby décor which can only be described as early mental hospital? Or the plastic garbage bins behind the building with the huge Hefty bags that didn’t fit in the bins leaning up against them? Or the giant dead roaches on the floor of the basement who didn’t make it through the night? Or the light fixtures in the hall that look like they are from American Horror Story? Or the sad cigarette butts, random straws, and potato chip bags blowing in the wind strewn about the entrance to the building? I need to stop reading Architectural Digest because it is just making things worse. The pink villa for sale in the south of France almost killed me. And now the virus is here and I am home ALL THE TIME. My dog is really thrilled and wags her tail every time I walk by. Right now in New York City it feels like every day is Shabbos.

The first few days of working from home were weird. The office phone I have in my house never rang. No one called. Clients disappeared. The third day I walked the dog and then came home and put my nightgown back on. I then repotted plants, hung pictures, painted spots on the walls and when I was finished with nothing left to do I said fuck it and unplugged the phone and took a nap. When I woke up at 5pm and plugged in the phone it rang! A new client from Chicago. I have never been so happy to speak to a client in my life. I was like HELLOOOOO! So I gave the spiel about contingencies, fees, guarantees, blah blah blah. The client thinks he is talking to a businesswoman, when in actuality the person on the other line is a woman in a nightgown standing in bare feet. Like a crazy lady – with messy hair. I close the deal. A ray of hope in the fog of depression which housebound Cranky.

It took a few days of shock at the new state of the world to get adjusted to the new reality. We had a gloom and doom company conference call and Cranky’s contribution was that the only thing she was worried about was would she ever get to wear the great new spring skirt she had just bought.

It’s hard to get adjusted to a new routine, but it is happening. There is no where to go. I keep getting emails about clothes being on sale. Who cares about clothes when there is no place to wear them? Yoga pants are just fine thank you very much. The most fun in my day is a long walk. Any day now I am going to be knitting in front of fireplace in the evenings like colonial times. The news is all corona all the time. I’ve decided I can’t live with constant worry and I will take the lead from my dog who thinks this is the best thing ever as we are together 24/7. There are always things to be grateful for if you look for them. Like living in a rent-stabilized apartment when you might not make any money for months. The people on NY 1 are still smiling every morning. Thanks for that. I have a friend who lives down the hall and one 2 floors away. Pretty neat. So I’m gonna try to be in the day and not go nuts. If I turn on the TV and see a test pattern I’ll worry.

Subway Meditations

They are thinking of a fare hike for the NYC Subways. New Yorkers are complaining about delays. No one mentions the emotional roller coaster that riding the subway is. Especially for an empath. An empath like Cranky who after years of acting classes, yoga and dance is so attuned to the vibes of her surroundings that they have a marked effect on her well being. Fortunately, Cranky has a job that she can do many days at home with the dog. Because the office is on the 5/6 line, which for Cranky is the most depressing, dreaded subway line of all. Every time Cranky goes to the office she has to change at Fulton Street. And every time she walks onto the Fulton Street platform there is a guy playing My Way on the Trumpet. MY WAY. Playing badly. Every time. Is it the only song he plays? Or is there some kind of strange kismet that on the two or three occasions a week I am there he is playing it? That song brings back memories of my first job in New York as a cocktail waitress in the Financial District. The investment guys used to have cocktails, play it on the juke box, and sing along. I always saw it as an anthem for behaving badly. NO. NO. YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE IT “MY WAY.” YOU COLLAPSED THE ECONOMY YOU GREEDY FUCKS. You should have done it the right way. I was taking dance classes, acting classes and working nights. The finance guys were alien beings. Of course, I dated one anyway because he was devastatingly handsome (his brother was a male model). It was really great except when he talked. Which was most of the time. He used to talk about deals and being “on the horn.” Who says that? Grandpa? I finally couldn’t take it and told him, “To be honest, I don’t even understand what money is.” Oh wait, I was talking about the subway. But this is an example of the negative stimuli it supplies.

Then there are the beggars. I feel bad for the beggars, but they really have to beg somewhere else because the subway is much too tight quarters to give anybody anything because they might say “Thank you” and start a conversation. I witnessed a beggar woman on the 5 train who was begging and a man gave her a burrito. She took it and then asked, “Do you have a fork?” He said, “No.” She bent over and looked into his bag of burritos and said, “Yes you do. There is one right there.” He had to go into the bag and give it to her. Then she said, “What kind of burrito is this?” Only in New York would beggars require a Beggars Menu. She acted like if it wasn’t the right kind it might get tossed back in the burrito bag with beggar germs on it. The woman sitting next to me whispered to me, “He mustn’t be from New York.” He didn’t realize the danger of not being able to walk away from the talking beggar. We are all fine with tossing a buck in a can if we can keep on going.

Another thing the subway does that is cause for alarm is it takes you places you didn’t expect to go. Suddenly running over a different line with no notice. It is like being hijacked without a hijacker. I took the 3 train home the other night and it started stopping at unrecognizable stations. The guy sitting next to me said, “I’ve lived in New York for 42 years and I’ve NEVER seen THAT station.” He then said. “What the hell? It’s running over the W line? I’ve never even heard of a W train!” Cranky got off as soon as she could and wandered around the canyons of Wall Street until she found a cab.

So Dear MTA, is there anything you could do to improve the emotional atmosphere of the subways while you work on the delays? Pump Brazilian Jazz into the trains? Say you’re a 2 train and actually run on the 2 line? Lower the fare so I can give the My Way guy a dollar to STOP playing? Help!

ISIS is Annoying Me Now

ISIS is annoying me now. This morning a candidate called me at 7:30 AM. Anyone who knows Cranky knows not to call her at 7:30 AM.  He couldn’t find the door to the firm I sent him to. Not the greatest sign for someone interviewing for a job working for an SVP with 300 reports. We stayed on the phone while I talked him through walking around the corner until he found the door.

Then I get a call from another candidate asking if her interview is still on since there was an EXPLOSION. I say yes, even though I don’t know for sure because I don’t believe in letting terrorists interrupt my life especially when it involves getting a commission. NO ISIS NO! Don’t be messing up my interview schedule. Then she calls me from the Uber to say her ETA may be later due to the street closures. Well, if you called me at 8 AM about the EXPLOSION maybe you should have LEFT EARLIER since you knew all about it! – I thought this but instead was very kind on the phone as I know to never rattle a candidate before an interview. This is where my theater experience comes in handy. I know how to calm people down and pump them up before a performance/interview.

Sorry to get political, but this is, of course, Donald Trump’s fault. The Jerusalem thing was so unnecessary and just stirred things up. And for what? For Trump’s Evangelical supporters who have some weird end-of-the-world conspiracy theory thing. I hate to tell you Trumpy, but they are not enough to bring up your approval rating. Or get you elected again. So, he makes a political move and mine and other New Yorker’s lives are put in jeopardy because of it. Nobody is going to no golf course with no bombs. No no. They are all gonna come to NYC and screw with my interview schedule or kill me or something. Or worse, make me lose a commission. NO ISIS NO!

Bu-bye Chocolate

I watched a Netflix comedy special last night: Lynne Koplitz, and something she said reminded Cranky of herself. Lynne said, “I accidentally gained 40 pounds.” Which is hilarious in attitude and also kind of refreshing to Cranky who has always said, “Sometimes I gain weight. Sometimes I lose weight. It’s a mystery.”

I recognize my friends by who they are and have never much noticed a few pounds here or a few pounds there.

As a child I had a friend named Flora. I loved Flora. I used to walk a different way so I could pick Flora up and we could walk to school together and laugh. Flora reminded me of the sun. She laughed at my jokes. One day in fifth grade Flora was absent and the teacher said we needed to talk about Flora’s problem. I said, “What problem?” The class laughed at me and assumed I was making a joke (which was my specialty). I said, “No really? What problem?” The teacher, Mrs. Ney (the meanest teacher in the school who was later transferred to being a librarian because she stuck a pencil in a kid’s head) said, “Flora’s limp.” I was shocked because I never noticed any limp. So I’ve had a life long proclivity for noticing important things like who laughs at my jokes and who is sun-like.

Which brings me to a recent incident when a friend told me her boyfriend was prejudiced against me because of my size. True, I had burgeoned to a size 12 due to stresses at work and my partner’s and mine habit of popping nonpareils while chanting, “Let’s close a deal!” But as always I knew I would once again go back to a smaller size when the mood hit me. I play squash 4 hours a week, take Pilates and dance, so it can fall off pretty easily. The prejudice remark hit me hard. I was jettisoned into some kind of minority I hadn’t known I belonged to. And the sad thing is I haven’t eaten one beloved nonpareil since. Those nonpareils were my one fucking joy in life. They have been replaced by vegetables. People keep saying, “You lost so much weight!” But really I lost something more that that. I lost nonpareils.

So as a homage to my former and gone by the wayside nonpareils I have written a song to them to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

 

Dot the delicious nonpareil lived on the shelf

And waited for the moment to come and make a party in my mouth

Chubby Cranky Actress loved that morsel Dot

And brought her to work with her with other snacks and stuff

 

Together we would get through long days that were rough

Chocolate is a stress relief and has a chemical like love

But Cranky let go of Dot due to society

And now poor Dot has been replaced by things like broccoli

 

Oh Dot the delicious nonpareil lived on the shelf

And waited for the moment to come and make a party in my mouth

 

Nonpareils will be around forever but not in Cranky’s home

That cheerful Dot with white spots is gone forever more

Now Cranky eats only grown up things and Dot will fade into lore

She is so healthy now she might be a total bore

 

Oh Dot the delicious nonpareil lived on the shelf

And waited for the moment to come and make a party in my mouth

 

 

The Bad Day

Cranky had the trifecta of bad days yesterday. I always check my email as soon as I open my eyes. There was a facebook message that read: “Cranky,I want you to know that I’ve unfriended you. Your criticisms of Trump were too harsh. I believe it’s people like you who contributed to the climate that caused the member of the House of Representatives to be shot yesterday. Congratulations. Your criticisms worked.” Cranky believes that we all should pay attention to a merited rebuke. So I did some soul searching and realized I need to be less vitriolic where Trump is concerned and not be so opinionated on Facebook and upset people that don’t agree with me. Then I listened to the news and heard Trump appointed his event planner as head of the housing program and I got pissed off all over again. Visions of public housing with fresh flowers in the lobby and trays of canapes when there is no heat or hot water.

Then the phone rang and a woman saying she was from the IRS asked if I was aware that there is a warrant out for my arrest. I said “No, ah, I don’t believe you.” She said, “Fine, we are sending them over to arrest you now.” Cranky is not a morning person and was in a bit of a fog, so for a minute thought, “I better get dressed, because it would be awful to be arrested in my nightgown.” But getting dressed before having the piece of toast is a drastic move, so Cranky racked her brain for something she had done that was arrestable, and couldn’t think of anything. So I researched the phone number and it belongs to a  Kobla E Agbeyome. So I called back and asked for Kobla E Agbeyome. I got silence then a lot of ums and ahs, then a hang on for a moment, then there is no one here by that name. I recognized that voice as the woman who said she was sending the police to arrest me. I said, “Do you realize what you are doing is hurting people?” She said, ” We need money.” I said, “There must be another way to make money. You are hurting your own soul by doing this.” She said, ” I don’t care about myself.” I said,  You should pray to find another way.” She said, “Go ahead. Call the police.” This made Cranky angry/sad, sad/angry. So I called the IRS fraud hotline, and by the end of the process of leaving a message, Cranky realized why these people are so brazen. 

Then my partner from work called and was screaming that one of my candidates wrote a “lackluster thank you note.” A LACKLUSTER THANK YOU NOTE. We are recruiters. (Please don’t send your resume.) She is yelling at me about this. Is this a big thing in life? Does Cranky give a crap about a thank you note? No. The fact that I am even having a conversation about a lackluster thank you note depresses Cranky. And that my partner thinks its OK to yell about it, is depressing.

When I hang up I need an antidote to the trifecta of horrors. So Cranky immediately goes online and buys a ticket to A Doll’s House, Part 2. Something to really care about. Theater. As Cranky always says, theater is real life and business is the land of make believe.

A Play Reading

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Cranky did a play reading this week. Actors are such a great lot. Sitting next to me at the rehearsal was one actor with 4 highlighters, 2 pens, a banana and a coffee. Instead of   An Actor Prepares a more appropriate title would have been An Actor is Prepared. We never know when we show up if there will be anything there for us. Will they offer us a drink of water? So we assume it is a bring your own snack situation.

One actor brought his attorney girlfriend to the rehearsal who sat down and immediately started asking actors what the did in the real world. THE REAL WORLD. I don’t know about the rest of the thespians, but to me theater is the real world and business is the land of make believe.

The day of the reading the writer was in attendance having come down from Maine. He talked a lot. A lot. Talked and talked and talked. He compared his play to The Glass Menagerie. He went in depth about many things that were not on the page. He quoted (without giving credit) Harold Pinter’s explanation of a pause. There are certain people that give Cranky instant, temporary ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER. This was one of them. The actor reading stage directions just looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “He’s spent too much time in the woods.”

During the break, I went to a little place on the corner to go over the script and have some soup. I became fascinated with a guy having an animated conversation with one of those internet pole things around the city. It’s like a cell phone without the bill.

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He looked at me and motioned for a pen. I nodded and gave him a pen and a napkin. When the call was over he came in and gave me back the pen and told me about his mother’s horrible boyfriend and how he just got out of prison and could he sit down. I said sorry I’m studying something but I would say a prayer for him and asked him his name. The waiters were starting to circle. He left just in time.

Cranky was at a table in the window. The theater had a horrible little dressing room with barely any light. So even though it is totally horrible manners, Cranky decided she had to take advantage of the great lighting at the table and apply her makeup there. No one would see me. The restaurant was empty. Location was 22nd and 8th. Who’s gonna be there? So the makeup production begins. Dump the contents on the table and take out my compact mirror and start applying. Decide I will leave and extra dollar for the time I am spending at the table.

IMG_1445 (1)

I look up and 3 ex-work colleagues of my ex have entered the restaurant and are standing over me. Why why why? My first concern is that I look tacky. My second concern is that this trip down memory lane will throw off the emotional life of the character I am about to read in 40 minutes in front of an audience. I make a few jokes and am courteous. I then pick up my blush brush and hold it mid-air as the makeup production must continue. It is the cue for the conversation to end. They go to another table and discuss the campaigns they are working on.

The reading goes well. There is a Q & A afterward which Cranky dreads. There are a bunch of writers there. There are questions. A five-word question is answered by a 10-minute explanation by the writer. Then the temporary ADHD kicks in again and even though I am onstage, I start rummaging through my bag. Then I check my emails. Then I make a joke to the actor sitting next to me. I can’t take it anymore and I go sit in the audience with my friend as I realize I am adding nothing by sitting onstage.

It was fun to be performing onstage again. A friend from Mr. Inscrutable’s class asked me to join him. And if made me realize, bananas and all, that actors are my peeps.

A Letter to Mr. Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

I AGREE WITH YOU!

The electoral college is a “DISASTER”. I think your first order of business should be to abolish it and make that retroactive to the 2016 election. Thus avoiding personal embarrassment. When I saw the look on your face when you met with President Obama I knew just how you felt. I had that look on my face when I had a meeting with the president of a highly technical company I was supposed to write for. He talked for 45 minutes and I had no idea what he was talking about. I felt bad for you I really did.

If you decide not to make the popular vote thing retroactive and you do take office, I think you should learn the names of all the countries in the world, what their issues are, a bit of their history, and be able to point to them all on a map before you actually do anything. I understand this may take the entire four years of your term and that won’t leave any time for international decisions or actions of any kind, but, well, c’est la vie, that’s OK.

Another thing, if you get an idea to redecorate the White House to suit your taste-don’t– because you really don’t have any. We’ve all seen your apartment, which is a horrifying cross between a hotel lobby and those overly done wedding venues like Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, “VE MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC6AzmXrNbU

I know you think it looks “rich” but trust me it does not. Garish does not equal rich. Whatever Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis did in the White House will always be perfect, so leave well enough alone.

And do consider a makeover. Remember you called Alicia Machado fat? Well as my Irish grandmother used to say, “Well, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black?” And as they say in Brooklyn, “Fuggedaboutit, who does he think he’s kidding with that hair?” Nobody. The 80’s want their comb over back. Move on.

The immigrant thing is pretty low of you. You’re a New Yorker. You know better. The people who believed the scary immigrant thing have never met one. I live in Brooklyn. I’m friends with Sammy the Palestinian, who runs the pet store, the Egyptians who run the falafel place, the Tibetans who work at the Korean deli and the Mexicans who work there washing vegetables and putting out the cut flowers. They all work really long hours and probably much harder than I ever have. They always have a big smile for me. So stop already. You know better.

This is the first election where the President Elect caused children to cry and schools to administer counseling. You actually said “Don’t be afraid.” Do you see anything wrong with that?

Happy 4th of July and Hamilton the musical

Cranky is very fortunate to have a well-heeled friend who takes her to places that a poor actress would never go: Turkey, a spa in Mexico and best of all, the Broadway play Hamilton.

The minute the curtain went up, I had this overwhelming feeling that this show is the essence of what it is to be American.

I never really thought much about feeling patriotic. It used to seem well, CORNY. And a territory for right-wing flag wavers. Until, however, I was once abroad, and a European made a derogatory remark about the United States and Cranky was LIVID. As soon as I was alone with my traveling partner, I went off, “How dare them! What did they ever do? We invented EVERYTHING! Electricity! Hello! The car! Hello! Airplanes! Hello! The telephone, the internet, the cotton gin! Oh, oh, and JAZZ and rock and roll. (Have you ever heard French or Italian attempts at rock – sad, sad). I might have been exaggerating a bit when I said EVERYTHING, but I was in the grip of a patriotic fervor. Which surprised me. “Wow, I thought, I love my country.”

Which is exactly the way I felt when I saw Hamilton. A multi-racial cast playing our Founding Fathers is emblematic if what this country is all about and what’s great about it. I felt so proud to be an American. A rapper with swagger cast as Jefferson was genius. The line in the show: “We’re immigrants we get things done,” elicited a cheer from the audience. It was a show of support for immigrants, and a screw you to New York City’s embarrassment of a native son, Donald Trump.

“Make America great again?” Dude, it is already great in so many ways.


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