Archive for September, 2009

Cranky On A Deserted Island

Cranky took a mini vacation last week. A perfect recession vacation. A friend let me stay in her Fire Island house for free when she wasn’t using it. So I brought a girlfriend. We arrived in the middle of the week. It was off-season. It was a cloudy dark and blustery. There were no people. There were no bicycles ringing their bells. No barking dogs.   It was scary as shit. All the houses were dark. We were on a deserted island.

I know this is supposed to be great. But I live in Brooklyn, a block from the 24-hour Korean Deli. In an apartment building with neighbors all around (most of them friendly – except for the two crazies in the building.) It looked like the perfect setting for a Shining kind of situation. We got off the ferry and 1:15 in the afternoon and the only little store was closing. CLOSING? HELP!

We watched “David Letterman” and I was inspired by his nightly top ten list. So I wrote one of my own:

The top ten things that show I’m an ACTRESS when on vacation on a deserted island:

  1. The minute my friend and I get off the boat we start our vacation by doing a tough session of “Buns Yoga.”
  2. We are ravenous after so share 5 crackers.
  3. I’m supposed to relax but I check email 18 times a day.
  4. The only other human on the island is the strange man who runs the grocery store and still I apply eyeliner.
  5. First thought when spotting a deer on the lawn – “Why don’t my eyelashes look like that?”
  6. I try to figure out how to swim without getting any sun on my complexion
  7. For dinner we are starving and have to walk 2 miles to the only open restaurant on the island and still we split an entrée.
  8. When the tough looking longshoremen types at the bar in the restaurant check me out my friend is nervous – I am relieved – if I can’t get attention on a deserted island it might be the end of my acting career.
  9. Appalled to realize that being in a beach house means you, your clothes and your hair will smell like mildew the entire time- not attractive.
  10. Spent 26 minutes scanning the channels of unfamiliar satellite TV to find “Project Runway” instead of playing the requisite board games.

The No Notice Audition

I got home yesterday afternoon after doing six loads of laundry at the local laundromat. The laundromat that uses all the machines to do laundry for people who have their laundry picked up and dropped off. Cranky used to be one of those people. But tough times call for drastic action like doing your own laundry.

It’s not a people friendly place this laundromat. Because there is no room for people. It is so narrow that no matter where you are you are in the way. Putting your clothes in the washer- you’re in the way. Taking them out of the dryer- you’re in the way. Folding your laundry- you’re in the way. It’s so narrow it’s like a bowling alley lined with washing machines and dryers.

And everyone hates doing laundry, so everyone there is disgruntled. Especially the maids who are there doing other people’s laundry. So it was me and the maids yesterday. And Jose the laundry man. Jose, who used to deliver my laundry in better times. Jose, who looked at me like “What are you doing here?” when I walked in pushing my loser shopping cart. Jose, who had to explain to me, “Put quarters in three time.” When I put one round of quarters in and stared at the machine confusedly when it didn’t spin. Jose, with the huge sweat rings under his arms, because not only is it cramped, it has no air conditioning and maintains a steady temperature of 100 degrees.

So I spent the afternoon sweating like a bull and having people say; “Excuse me!” “Excuse me!” “Excuse Me!” Even though I had spent three hours at the gym the night before, I did not wash my hair because I knew the laundry sweat sauna was on deck for the next day.

I get home at three o’clock and there is an email from a casting agent asking me to come in before 7pm for a call for a print ad. Usually I would think, “Oh please, are they kidding?” But tough times require that Cranky tough it out. So even though I have dirty horrible hair, blood shot eyes and am traumatized from the sauna/laundromat I have to go.

They say they want you to come in looking like a fifties housewife. I get out the heat rollers I haven’t used in ten years, plug them in and hop in the shower. No time to wash my hair. Get out. Put rollers in dirty hair. Use half a bottle of Visine to remove the blood shot eyes from laundry heat aggravation. Put on a blouse, a ton of pearls and red lipstick and pink blush only on the cheeks.

I run down to the elevator and practically run over my neighbor who is getting off. He says; “Hey Cranky! You look beautiful.” This is great because I was afraid I was looking like a dork. We all need someone to say we look good when we are on the way to an audition.

I get to the office and the audition is a three second mug shot session. They tell me to look proud. “Stand on the T and hold your number near your face.” SNAP. “Turn and face left.” SNAP. “Face forward and look proud and warm.” SNAP.

So SNAP I am outta there, and for six blocks I wondered if my proud expression was effusive enough. It’s hard to look proud. Was I proud of someone else? (I went with this one.) Or proud of myself? Or proud as in arrogant? Or proud that I have clean laundry? I keep making the face I made for the last shot as I walk down the street. Does it FEEL proud enough? Do I look like a psycho walking down Sixth Avenue?

It’s amazing how much post audition analytical thought can be spawned by the three-second audition. Especially when I am doing my own laundry.