Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Whiplash

Okay, here I am. Sorry about that. My taxes still aren’t done, but the first whack at them is.

So fair enough to say, the past month and a half have left me with a severe case of whiplash. Some of which I alluded to here on the blog, but didn’t come outright and say because my family reads this, and some things you should tell your parents over the phone.

Like if you’re losing your job.

And if you’ve received that information a week or so before you’re supposed to join the family on a week long cruise at the end of January, you don’t tell them, because the cruise is supposed to be a fun fun relaxing time, and My Mother The Phone Harpy has a habit of worrying endlessly about things, especially if you don’t have neat answers of Don’t Worry, Mom, I’m Doing This Next. I didn’t know what that would be, and that would just make her worry more when we’re supposed to be enjoying tequila and martini tastings and three dollar beers on Trunk Bay in St. John.

So I didn’t tell her. I didn’t tell her, or my dad, The Great Stoic Wonder (he probably would’ve been able to handle it, but no fair making him keep a secret from his own wife.) I did tell sister Agatha, who told Mr. Agatha, and thank goodness nobody told niece Bug, because she can’t keep ANY secrets at age six.

And we all traipsed along on the boat as a hip hip happy family, which was great except for the anxiety dreams I had most every night, but at least I got to have them in my own stateroom, with a different towel animal every night (behold, Towel Monkey.)

This is why I was hoping that God would show up amid the waves and stuff. But it was amazing, I’d look at a beautiful beach, or a beautiful sunset, and my mind was a total blank. I couldn’t think about the future, or plans for the future. I couldn’t think up great dreams for my future, I couldn’t think up great new ideas for future scripts involving sea people who could skate on waves or anything (and that’s a little obvious right there.)

Some of you might say that a Blank Mind is exactly a gift from God, that He didn’t want me to do anything but appreciate the beauty of the moment in front of me. But my mind was SO blank, that I could barely do that. It truly was yeah. That’s a sunset. Great. Every time I couldn’t think, I took a picture instead, so at least I could document what I was looking at. Because my mind was SO blank, it could neither fret about the future, nor process the beauty of the present. But at least I have pictures.

So we did all have a great time on the cruise, and I returned back to the hell that is my life had become (even more than usual) in Los Angeles. It was a good three weeks of awkwardness back on the job: I’m firing you because I’m your new boss and I want my own people in your position, but I still need you to be here until the Better Than You replacement can show up. Roomie Heckle and Jekyll had all sorts of suggestions about how I should not so politely tell them to fuck off, but that kind of bitter isn’t in my work ethic, and plus I wanted to amass as many paychecks as possible, which is why, when they called me the day before I was supposed to leave and asked me to stay another week, I said okay. Because I am a doormat, no because I was making some serious bank at that job.

The job had me so beaten down mentally, that I could barely muster up emotion at the turn of events against me. The day I was told I was being let go, I cried for five minutes in the parking garage, and cried with a few wonderful friends who didn’t mind that I was calling the boss all sorts of horrible very Un-Christian names, but then I kinda plunged into this cloudy grey emotion-free zone from which I’m not so sure I’ve emerged from yet.

Because I’ve done this before. See? Getting The Bad News. Crying. Copious Amounts of Alcohol (last time was White Russians. Now I’ve moved to drinking tequila straight as my drink of choice. Thanks Disney Cruise!) Picking Up The Pieces. Moving On.

There’s nothing new to feel here, not even playing up the role of martyr that this is happening AGAIN, how can it be happening AGAIN. And telling myself that this is all for the best, that God is leading me somewhere else, somewhere better, that’s not sticking either, because what does that mean? In 2004, God allegedly led me from one job with a Crazy Boss to another job that folded in 2006. God allegedly led me from that job to this one, where I’ve been fired for not being better than me. Can God not lead me to a job that will pay all my bills and has great benefits, and is a job I love that I will never ever get fired from for the rest of my life!?

I write the all caps, I write the exclamation points, and it does all the exclaiming for me, because I’m just here, sapped of any kind of energy to get upset, get annoyed, shake a fist at the boss, the job, God, my life, whatever. Of course you’re not going to stay in a job forever. My dad did, but it’s a different time now. It doesn’t matter to get upset about it. Because getting upset doesn’t make a difference.

And, because God has a sense of humor, He arranged events so that the day after I left the job, I jumped on a plane to Film Festival C, where Pink Piggy was world premiering in Narrative Competition.

(I realize I have a few new readers, here are the rules of the blog: I post usually on Mondays except when I don’t, I don’t comment on comments, you can send me an email if you want to until I get shy again and turn it off, and with precious few exceptions, everyone goes by an Assumed Name here. That includes my friends, my family, my former jobs, my scripts, and the film festivals they get into.)

It’s my first film! It’s my first film festival! Look at all the exclamation points!!!! They do the excitement for me! Because I’m mentally battered and I can barely focus on what’s going on!!! What’s going on!!!???

Pink Piggy is what’s going on. Interviews about Pink Piggy are what’s going on. This isn’t real, is it? Someone is not shoving a microphone under my nose and asking me how I got the idea for Pink Piggy, are they?

Oh, they are.

This is fuckin’ hilarious. Because I got the idea for Pink Piggy when I was at rock bottom YET had plenty of energy to act out in very masochistic ways. (new people can go here and here for a recap) Now here I am, again at rock bottom for different reasons, and I don’t have any energy to act out in any way, masochistically or not. Do you all know I could’ve taken a waiter back to my room if I had wanted to? He was pretty enough in a generic way, he was young, and strong, and impressed that I was a screenwriter with a film in competition (the fact that he was impressed by a writer indicates he was dumb too, so I most definitely could’ve taken him where ever I wanted to go.)

But I just didn’t care. I’m looking for more than that, I’ve been in the land of Meaningless Sex before (Hi Mom! Hiiiii! Yes, your daughter is talking about inappropriate things again! Wheeeeeeee!), and while I still ache to be touched, to be held, to have someone stroke my damn hair and whisper how everything’s going to be fine just fine, I know that a college waiter is not gonna be the best person to get that from.

And I could go on and on about where the hell is THAT guy anyway, but what’s the point? It’s all things I’ve said before. On this blog before, in private conversations with God before. No answers are forthcoming. Or is it answers are still not forthcoming? Either or, I guess.

(By the way, I get no bonus points for not taking home the waiter. I feel just as blah as I would have if I had taken him home, just for different reasons. You would think if you’re able to withstand a temptation, you should get a reward or something, right? More than the film premiere, since that would’ve happened regardless if I woke up in bed with someone. But couldn’t I have gotten, I dunno, a check in the mail? Inspiration for a new script? An early Easter Basket filled with assorted goodies and Cadbury eggs?)

But what the hell am I bitchin’ for, right? Pink Piggy is about to premiere! Sit your ass down and experience the film with an audience of 200 – 300 people! Cause that’s new, isn’t it?

It is. I spent the entire film pinching my fingers and my palm, a nervous habit I don’t remember picking up, but there it is. My chief fear was would the audience stay with us throughout the film, because the first 30 to 40 minutes do zip by, and then it starts to sag in the middle. But the audience stayed with us. They laughed in places that they were supposed to laugh at, the film moves faster when you have an auditorium of people laughing at it.

And at the Q&A afterwards, as I’m standing up there with the director and the cast, and looking at an auditorium of people and thinking to myself how are you all here if I don’t know who any of you are, and therefore you’re not here to fulfill your duty as a Friend Of Amy, one of the questions asked is “How did you get the idea for the film.”

Sigh. The ideal situation is that this is only our first film festival, not our last. The ideal situation is that this is just one of a million Q&As and a million interviews that we will do and the ideal situation is that I will be asked this very question a million times.

And I will have to talk a million times about a time when I was younger, dumber, and full of emotion that I don’t have anymore.

I’ve got it down to an amusing anecdote length, not too long, not too short, and it gets laughs where its supposed to.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful. I’m thankful we’re here in an auditorium of people. I’m thankful there’s a Q&A that I get to participate in, I’m thankful that there are questions asked of me. I’m thankful we get another screening on Sunday, and the same things happen – people show up to watch the film and I don’t know who they are, the screening goes well, and they ask the same questions at the Q&A afterwards.

And I’m thankful for all of it. I just feel oddly detached. I’m unemployed, I should be destroyed! I should be manic, I should be masochistically brimming with all sorts of Bad Ideas That Will Be Great Scripts Later! I just made it through my first film festival! I should be happy, I should be ecstatic! I should be fulfilled!

And I still have a Blank Mind.

While the whole weekend was pretty surreal, this picture capped it off: at opening night, some guy in the audience took a picture of all our feet and posted it on his flicker stream. He could be a fetisher or not, though I seem to remember him posting a nice review of the film somewhere. So here are my tootsies in a pair of battered stilettos and a crappy pedicure that I did about two hours before the premiere. Nice. Next time I need to wear a skirt.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious, Amy, how much junk email do you get? I receive a ton, probably because I signed up for some many things, whether at the farmers market, or in the mall- but I primarily sign up for these things because they're giving away cool useless stuff that I want (and don't need, let alone throw away weeks later.) But nonetheless, they all want my email address. The real kicker is that everytime I hear the sonar beep go off on my blackberry to announce an incoming email- its just a junk email. I guess God is having a laugh like Pavlov did with his dog.

aartilla the fun said...

without sounding like an empty-platitude machine, all i can say is, understand (having been unemployed for years, and having my husband laid off last summer and the unemployment checks running out about now...) BUT that God has never let us down. We have always been provided for, just as I'm sure you will be. that said, my pastor once said to me that God cares more about my character than my career, so i still have to get off my butt and hustle. somewhere in the past year i have figured out a balance between doing my bit and trusting God to do His bit. but it's always a challenge. i hope you're feeling the clouds parting. i leave you with the old standby in times of worry, Matthew 6: 25-26

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

-x-

Patty Jean Robinson said...

Ooh, nice quote Aarti!

I'm glad I've time to catch up, Miss Amy. It seems every where I turn we're all right now in the middle searching out God and ourselves. I don't get it either.

Is it it just enough to know that God in all his forms exists? I don't know. I guess I've always thought that I will never hear the divine inner spark of The Universe/God, so I never try to look. I just look for it other ways. I know that's not satisfying. I wish I could help. I wish that I could give you a silly lovable doggie, that would lick you silly with lots of love, and I could say, "Here this is God, and this is what he has to say to you." And it could be all so easy.

Onwards and Forwards and Sideways!

(And now to the next blog). :)