How to kill a crab

Sealife3I've been cranky lately. Maybe it's too much caffeine; maybe it's too much to do (and no impetus to do it). But I'm getting that weird, itchy, short-fused feeling that happens either when I'm due for a trip out of town (which I am) or I'm in transition (which I am) or I've overloaded my circuits (which...well, you get it).

I notice it in traffic and in my dealings with calmer, more even-keeled people. I practically freaked my friend, Mark, right out of his flip-flops today when I sailed into his house like a bat on speed, hurling various items from my shoulder to various corners of the room, and announced that we would have to REALLY just have the meeting QUICK QUICK QUICK because I was spending too much time on meetings and not enough time in between getting the work done.

As if the meetings were the problem. As if the real problem wasn't me, stuck between wanting to do too much and wanting to do nothing at all, afeard of hunkering down and doing anything. Stuck between a commercial acting career I'm not ready to let go of and the whatever-comes-next that I'm not quite ready to commit to. Stuck, stuck, stuck. Crabby, crabby, crabby.

Sealife91So this afternoon, I was stuck at an audition. No, really: I'd promised, so I couldn't back out. And it was a callback, for one of the five remaining products that still advertises on national network television, so Scrooge McColleen wouldn't let me back out even if Hooky-Mama Colleen wanted to. And I had nothing to entertain me but a notebook where I could either sort through the lists of things I'd not done or make more lists of the things I probably wouldn't get around to doing. And they were running an hour late. I was S-T-U-C-K. (And crab, well, you know.)

When they finally called in my little group, it was clear the crew on the other side of the camera, the ad folks, the producer, the director, had been there awhile. To their credit, they tried gamely to look interested, but really, how many ways are there to stare at a candy bar? We can't have been that compelling. So the chick with the lines did her schtick and was fine and the rest of us were fine and we did it a few times and it was all fine fine fine and then the director had me do the lines and I was fine and we all politely said "thank you" and filed out and I had that weird sort of desire that sometimes overtakes me after a frustrating hour and a half of audtioning to rip off all my clothes and run into traffic waving my arms and spouting gibberish...or something equally antisocial and inappropriate and tension-relieving. Only I didn't, I just mumbled something to the nice actress who was leaving with me and tried to either walk faster or slower so I could walk alone.

Sealife77But the nice actress, let's call her "Michelle", since that was her name, hung with me, doing the post-audition chit-chatty, de-briefy stuff that makes me crazy under the best of circumstances. And my brain is railing against the fake positivism and fake humility and fake camaraderie until finally she blurted out, "You were fucking hilarious in that last take." Well, maybe she didn't say "fucking"; maybe she used another, nicer adjective or maybe she just was emphatic. But she was emphatic, and, I swear, genuine; I actually looked at her to see if it was for real or that bullshitty, chit-chatty, de-briefy kind of faux compliment. And then she said a few more nice things, and we got in our cars and drove away.

And it occurred to me that yeah, I little crabby today and perhaps disinclined to see the good in things. That perhaps stress had put me in a less-than-cheery mood and had made me a little antisocial. Still, there was enough truth and positivism in Michelle to shake me out of my crabbiness for a moment, to remind me that yeah, I was positive much of the time and it was genuine and dammit, it was also a helluva lot easier of an attitude to live with.

So, Michelle, regardless of what happens with me and my income and my health insurance for 2006, I hope you get that part. Because your attitude after waiting in a cramped room full of actors for an hour was a lot, lot better than mine and I think that should be rewarded. And also because...well...dammit, your take was fucking excellent, too. I was just too much of a crab to note it.

As for me? Well, I hope I get it, too...or something else, when my crab-O-meter dies down a bit. But mainly, I hope I remember next time to really & truly enjoy the next time. Because until I do the next thing, I want to do the thing I am doing all the way...