I sit here typing this from a rocking chair on the covered porch, bird song dwindling as the pleasantly cool summer evening air darkens into night. I confess that I’m still wearing my gear from the hot yoga session today at the walking-distance gym (where I get a job-related discount), because I really splurged on some real yoga pants this afternoon– i.e., they were new and from the actual adult section of Target – during my day of tooling about town, completing errands and also just seeing the Pennsylvania countryside.
Under the light of the oversized Edison bulb hanging lighting fixtures, I threw together a simple dinner of some salad and a couple of eggs, which I had fried ’til runny using the professional gas range, on hearty multi-grain bread. The weather is so nice, I opted to eat outside, rather than at the marble kitchen counter with the rustic wood bordering. Despite it being almost July, the central air conditioning isn’t really even necessary.
In other words…
RECORD SCRATCH: WHAT HAVE I LANDED MYSELF IN??
I had not been expecting to spend my summer job living in an issue of Town & Country magazine. As of a few months ago, I was going to be working a project in the city over the summer. Then, that fell through. There was a week of job anxiety, but I ended up being connected to this gig (friendship is magic, kids!), which rehearsed for two weeks in NYC before going into tech and performances in New Hope. I’d never been to the place before, but everyone I talked to said that it was lovely.
It’s almost a little too lovely. I’m half-convinced that I’m going to die because this has to be the set-up for some thriller novel where there’s a dark secret concealed beneath the postcard-perfect surface. It sure doesn’t feel like real life!
Even on the day that I arrived here, when I still had all of the work to get the show open, I arrived in a thunderstorm, but after getting dinner in an amazing local eatery, I emerged to the skies having cleared and a rainbow arching over the theater, which sits on a river. It matched well with all of the rainbow pride flags and banners hung about town at the highest density that I’ve seen outside of Fire Island.
Or let’s talk about yesterday morning. A canal runs through town, with a walking/running/bicycling trail beside it. I awoke before my alarm, still feeling a wee bit of something from the opening night party, but apparently subconsciously very eager to spring into my post-rehearsal life. I popped a couple of ibuprofen and took off on the canal trail. It was sunny and moving toward hot but not quite there yet. Canadian geese floated on the water. I paused upon seeing a deer standing in the canal, nibbling on a fallen tree still covered by greenery; she wasn’t bothered in the least, and just began meandering toward the bank near me. I had to pause at another point because a mama duck was crossing, trailed by a line of ducklings. A brilliant red cardinal flew across the path right in from of me. At one point, someone must have had outdoor speakers on their house, because there was background music of gentle guitar strumming. I felt like a very sweaty Disney princess.
(And on the subject of sweat, for anyone still stuck on me still being in my yoga clothes: I’ll admit that I was slightly intimidated by the concept of hot yoga but decided to take the class because it was offered so #yolo, but it turns out that hot yoga is just basically like intro level Existing In NYC In Summer. Small beans! I was pretty inoffensive by the time I left the gym, let alone got home. And my fancy-ass yoga pants and shirt, which do that technology thing where they dry fast, make me look pretty damn good. I’m almost tempted to buy new and/or not from the kids’ section more often.)
So here I am in the picturesque rural ex-urbs, a few blocks away from the tourist town center, with lots of restaurants and specialty stores — mostly charming-but-upscale-ish clothing and home furnishings, though there are a surprising number of magick/wiccan supply stores as well. I’m going to the gym again tomorrow to get one-on-one training on how to use all of their fancy machines. Maybe I’ll get some writing done in the little park a block away, although I’ll need to decide whether I would rather sit next to the water garden or in the gazebo.
And then back to work in the evening, which feels like an eternity away. For those unfamiliar with the theatre industry, a standard workweek is six days (generally Tuesday through Sunday). And for a stage manager, work days tend to range in length from eight to ten hours (because you’re the one setting up for rehearsal, cleaning up afterward, writing reports, fielding emails, etc.). Once you’re in tech and previews, that goes up to in the realm of fifteen-hour days.
But once you open for a limited run (i.e., only have to deal with performances, not brush-up or put-in rehearsals to keep the production going)? And working only a measly 40-ish hours per week? It’s like being on vacation.
And I’ve somehow ended up actually in a vacation house in a vacation town to do it.
With my work for a Sunday matinee finishing up around 4:30pm and not being back in until 6:00pm on Tuesday, I am almost feeling at loose ends in this crazy more-than-48-hour void of not having to be at work. Almost. I think I’ll be able to handle it.
Although there are a couple of things that this place needs to explain about itself:
But like those moments when I’ve been having afternoon tea service in the West Village and chatting about the latest shows, or sitting in a bar in the Lower East Side listening to my friend’s band play after having come straight from calling a post-glam rock concept concert that was meant to be a requiem for the death of the environment, or asking the waiter for wine recommendations while eating a three-course lunch at a French restaurant on the Upper East Side, or spending a night at the world’s largest honky-tonk because Texas decided to send a tornado to the opening night of your opera about societal breakdown and cannabalism, or, you know, going to Japan, it’s just one of those things, where the thought keeps revisiting me: how is this real life? How is this my real life?
Do I deserve it? Nah. Have I earned it? Maybe. In any case, I don’t think that I’ve earned it significantly less than the general population around me. But the part that I can control continues to be what I choose to do about it. And in this case, it’s breathing the fresh air, living out my fantasies of being a writer in the countryside, and getting swole af.
And not thinking too hard about that pointy-tailed thing because I’m pretty sure that’s when it starts moving whenever you look away from it and eventually kills you.