This is a month that has lasted for about three years. And I am exhausted. I was standing in line at the post office today, and I kept feeling as if something was wrong with my clothing. My shoulders felt bulky and weird, but I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong. I was standing in line, doing a little jig, shrugging my shoulders, and slapping at the center of my back trying to remedy the situation. I feel certain that the woman standing behind me in line thought that I was having some sort of fit. She kept looking around nervously and checking her phone. The line was eternal, the heat in the building was set to STUN, and I was being attacked by a fleece hoodie. When I finally got to the counter, I asked the lady for my stamps, but when I went to pay, I couldn’t find my pocket. I could feel my wallet, and I knew that it was in there, because I had taken this same hoodie off and on all morning; but suddenly, my debit card was trapped, I couldn’t find the pocket opening, and for about thirty seconds, I thought that I had finally lost my mind. The lady behind the counter had been watching me the whole time, and after waiting patiently through my straight-jacket-comedy-routine, she finally said, “Um…sir…I think you have your jacket on inside-out.”
“Oh.” I said quietly. “That would explain everything.”
Jeez. No wonder I felt like there was a stuffed frog stuck to my back. Not only was the hood of my jacket trapped inside, but the whole damn thing was on inside out, bunching the drawstring and the extra neck closures together, right in the center of my back. I paid for my postage, and got the flock out of there, hoping to God that no one present would ever be able to clearly identify me later on. “Look, Myrtle! There is that crazy, red-faced man who couldn’t figure out how to dress himself. You would think they would take better care of him at the group home!”
As I drove away, I started thinking about all of the truly stupid things that people are capable of when we are tired. I have always said that the vast majority of truly stupid things that I have done in my life, involved one of three things: 1) Love (or a reasonable facsimile), 2) Exhaustion, or 3) Tequila. I still stand by that statement.
Several years ago, during a ridiculously busy time in my life, I had designed costumes for three different shows that were all opening in the same week. Those were the days, during my late-20s, when I had yet to learn to use my lips to form the word NO successfully. I thought it plenty of times, I just hadn’t quite mastered the art of saying it. One of the shows was a children’s theatre production which opened on a Monday morning, and the other two were musicals, one which opened on Friday, and the other which was to open the day after. In my not-so-infinite-wisdom, I also decided that it would be a great idea for me to host a cast party following the Saturday night opening. This was also during a time in my life when impressing people seemed terribly important to me (especially potential exes), I would spend three to four late-nights a week in the bars and clubs, and sleeping was something that happened between 4 am and noon. Ah, youth.
The night of the Saturday opening, I went to the theatre at the actors’ call time, to make sure that everyone had what they needed, and to reassure myself that nothing had fallen apart. Once the show began, I headed on back to my apartment to finish cooking and setting up for the party. For years, I have made these Swiss cheese and bacon popovers for nearly every gathering which requires me to cook something yummy but relatively simple. This night was no exception. Earlier in the day, I had prepared and chopped most of the ingredients, and then just popped them into the fridge until time to actually bake them. I was rushing around, cooking and stirring, and having a few pre-party cocktails. A couple of my non-theatre-type friends had come over to help me, and we were having a grand time putting everything together.
As the time neared for guests to arrive, I jumped into the shower, and tried to make myself more presentable. As I finished dressing, I noticed that a silver bracelet that I wore nearly every day was no longer on my wrist. I only took it off at night when I went to bed, and I knew that I hadn’t removed it before getting into the shower. “Crap!” I thought. “I bet the clasp came loose and it fell off in the shower.” I checked the bottom of the tub, and felt around the trap, but didn’t find anything. I went out to find my friends, and for the next several minutes we scoured the floor and various surfaces, looking for my bracelet. It was no where to be found. The bracelet wasn’t particularly valuable, it was just kind of cool, and I was quite fond of it. And truthfully, it might have fallen off anytime during the course of the evening, even at the theatre, because the clasp often came loose and this wasn’t a new occurrence. “I’ll look for it when I go to the theatre tomorrow,” I told my friends.
The revelers arrived, drinks were poured, plates were filled, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, laughing about all of the little things that inevitably go wrong when a new production is just getting its land legs. There was a particular dancer in the show that I had been ogling during the entire rehearsal process (this was during my Richmond days and the Pre-Shane Era), and I was pleased to see that he had decided to attend. I have always been a sucker for the chorus types, and there was usually one or two that I picked out as favorites during every production. He had brought a couple of friends with him, as well as his twin brother, which was an unexpected but pleasant bonus to the evening.
My apartment was small, so guests were spread throughout the various rooms, and I hadn’t yet had a chance to approach the chorus boy and his entourage. About halfway through the party, I heard a commotion in the living room which sounded rather urgent. I made my way to that end of the apartment to see what was happening. When I walked in, I saw one of the chorus boy’s entourage slapping Twin Brother on the back rather frantically. He seemed to be okay, and was clearly breathing because he was coughing, but there were tears in his eyes, and his face was very pink. “What happened?” I asked someone standing close by.
“Not sure,” they said. “He was eating something and just started choking.”
I rushed to find one of my friends to try to find out exactly what had happened. As it turns out, Twin Brother was eating one of my Swiss cheese and bacon popovers, when he suddenly started coughing and sputtering, spitting bacon, cheese, and basil all over the rug. “Did something get caught in his throat?” I asked my friend, horrified.
“Um, yeah. Scott, I think he found your bracelet.”
Needless to say, I never really got a chance to get to know that chorus boy. After nearly killing his sibling, I was too mortified to ever even talk to him again. I should never have decided to host a party when I was so close to dropping, my ass was arriving in a room about thirty seconds behind me. The three martinis I consumed while baking the infamous popovers certainly didn’t help matters. See what I’m saying? Stupid, stupid things happen when we are too tired to know better. Add alcohol to the equation, and disaster is imminent. Throw in romance, or the possibility thereof, and the situation is doomed from the start.
The Stupidity Trifecta.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.