One short day

I was almost in a traffic accident this morning, coming home from work.
I was daydreaming about sex, and I won’t tell you with whom, except that his name begins with a “J” and ends with an “oey, my assistant from Theater Arts Camp.”
I nearly rear-ended the car in front of me, and it was at that moment that I thought to myself, Wow. I was almost in a car crash because I was thinking about sex.
Not that the concept is so far-fetched.
I think about sex possibly 98% of my day.
In fact, the only time I’m not thinking about sex is when I’m playing video games, which while it may explain the actions of some ex-boyfriends, does not explain why after I turn the game off, I immediately imagine the characters doing all sorts of inappropriate things to one another with their nunchucks and throwing stars and whatnot.
But this post is not about sex.
It is about camp, and how much I love it.
But the performances this year were…less than satisfactory on my part.
In past years, David sits on stage left with the fly system, and I sit on stage right with my techie bitch Peter, and we are usually all connected via headset to each other and some people in the light, sound, or spot booth, although the latter three are rarely on, as during performances, if a light cue goes wrong, I tend to shout obscenities into the headset on how they’ve ruined an 8-year-old’s childhood.
This year, we were overstocked.
This year the spot booth was occupied not by Robert, the young techie whom I have known for almost 5 years, and who has never ONCE looked me in the eye or said one word to me, despite my almost hourly outbursts of “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME IN THE EYE, ROBERT! JUST ONCE! SAY SOMETHING! PLEASE?!”
No, this year, Joey sat in the spot booth for the first show, which only meant he was further away when he made his hourly Lord of the Rings reference or Gollum voice, and I had to stockpile my punches for a later time.
When my second, less flirtatious assistant Johnny finished playing trumpet during the opening, he joined me and Peter backstage right.
Like I said, we were ridiculously overstocked, and since I was the one with the script and the notes and the anal, freak-out tendencies, I basically ordered them all around, sounding not-unlike Tweak from South Park.
In my defense, I probably wouldn’t be as neurotic if we had, say, more than one tech rehearsal to go over these actions, but in a three-week-long camp, we should be grateful to have the one at all.
So around every blackout, it would not be uncommon to see me ripping headphones off (or sometimes not, and running off, then whipping back cartoon-style when the cord became taught) and shouting “Johnny, you page the curtain, David, you switch the stairs, Peter, you and Joey carry out the ridiculously heavy fireplace to stage right-center, and I’m going to reattach Queen Crayola’s wireless microphone which has become detached from her cape! GO, GO, GO, GO!”
I was worried for the first show, but it started innocently enough.
Everything ran smoothly until about the middle of the third show, when a drop became caught on an electric, where it stayed for about 7 minutes. That’s like 3 hours in Theater Time.
For you non-theater folks out there, imagine you’re trying to raise your Venetian blinds, when you realize that there is already a set of Venetian blinds right next to it. With very expensive lighting equipment on it.
Okay, it’s nothing like that, but the Spider-Man feat Peter pulled by dangling precariously from ropes and unwedging the drops and saving the day led me to wonder if his last name really was Fedyshin… (HA! I’m a genius.)
Oh, then a little kid had a seizure right next to me.
I didn’t notice it until afterwards, when he was pulling on my shirt, and I kept swatting him away, saying, “not now, Christian, not now.”
“But, Lauren, I just had a seizure. I just want to make sure I don’t have another one onstage.”
Apparently, this young lad is epileptic and everyone knew it but me, and he takes seizures in stride, but he just wanted to INFORM me and give me a HEART ATTACK.
Well, he ended up being fine and the show ended delightfully.
Fast forward to the next week when Peter told me cautiously that there wasn’t a whole lot to be nervous about in the next show, which means that there’s just a thousand things we haven’t THOUGHT of yet.
There was just ONE big change where we needed two people to carry the ridiculously heavy fireplace, one person to open the curtain, one person to set the table, chair, and cauldron of beans, and one person to page the curtain, but with 5 people backstage, we were sufficiently staffed.
RIGHT after the opening, RIGHT before we were about to open the curtains, the sound guy came on the headset informing me that the girls who were about to walk down the aisles, a good 2-minute run from where I was, had ALL had their microphones muted, and I had to fix EVERY one of them.
Well, I don’t generally run, because people tell me I look like a giraffe when I run, but let me tell you that people must have thought there was a wildebeest stampede on the Serengeti, because I FLEW up the stairs to save the girls’ mics, that actually HADN’T been muted, they’d just traveled out of range, a fact they told me when I woke up from where I’d collapsed on the ground.
Ah, I joke, but seriously, not two plays later, I had one of my patented ill-timed anxiety attacks.
You see, I was already on edge from the Great Mic Scare of ’04, and then the wicked stepmother missed her entrance, leaving a stageful of 10-year-olds not trying very hard to break character to look offstage at me for help, at which point, I sprung from my chair (likely was jerked back by the headset cord again) and ran to the costume room to find the stepmother.
As it turns out, she was on the other side of the stage not paying attention, (for those of you playing at home, that would be TWO freak-outs that I didn’t need to have, becaused they fixed themselves on their own) and I was able to try to lower my heartrate to just above hummingbird on crystal meth.
At this point, Joey, who had been having nosebleeds all day, was struck again, and had gone off to the bathroom, so as not to bleed all over the children and turn this into some sort of George Romero play.
Johnny was off doing something, probably because he’d been sitting backstage doing nothing for two hours.
It was at this moment that my dear, dear David decided that there weren’t enough logs in the fireplace.
I tried to stop him, but my third crash to the floor after being jerked back from the godforsaken headphones gave him enough time to escape, at which I turned to Peter with wide-eyes, and started tweaking out and mumbling quotes from Jurassic Park.
“He — He left us. H-He left us!”
Now the job of five people on both sides of the stage had to be done by TWO people on ONE side of the stage.
The blackout came, and like those moms that lift up cars with their babies underneath them, I summoned some insane strength and drive to get the job done in a mere 4 1/2 hours, only to almost be caught onstage as the lights were coming up (another thing I usually scream obscenities about).
And as I dove offstage, there stood Joey and David with really big eyes, looking like they were very aware of the knowledge that I had a large knife in my pocket.
Instead of yelling, as my friends seem to think is my favoritist thing in the world to do, I did what any logical almost-24-year-old would do, and curled up into a ball on the ground.
I didn’t cry, because I don’t cry, but my body translated the cry vibes into the anxiety attack vibes, and I basically sat there wheezing and shaking with three boys who did not know what to do with a girl who is sitting on the ground, wheezing and shaking.
They must have thought I was out of my gourd.
I composed myself, and tried to convince my dear helpers that I was fine, and no, it could have happened to anyone, and you can’t stop your nose from bleeding or your…anal retentive necessity to have a specific number of LOGS IN THE DAMN FIREPLACE *pant, pant* I’m okay.
I’m okay.
The rest of the play went off with minor problems, and when it was all said and done, the familiar wave of sadness swept over me as another summer of camp had come and gone.
Another eleven months of not talking to the teachers, with whom I seem to be so close for this one month in time.
Another eleven months of not making the kids laugh, who daily would crowd around me and promise not to tell their parents the jokes I was about to tell them.
Another eleven months of not captioning picture pages that make the youngest child to the most straight-laced adult laugh enough to make me wish I wrote stupid captions on pictures for a living.
Another eleven months of seeing an entire section of my Buddy List devoted to campers, but unable to IM any of them, because what am I gonna say?
See you in eleven months?
Or pretend we have something in common outside of camp, like I wish we did?
Damn, I’m beginning to think this post WERE about sex.
It probably would have had a happier end.
After the show, while all of the other children were hugging their parents, smearing their madeup faces all over their parents’ nice theater clothes, the choreographer/director Dianne put her arm around me and said “You know you can never leave, right?”
And I did.
I just didn’t think it mattered to anyone else.
Yes, I’m gay and cheesy and whatever you’re thinking, it’s all true.
Well, dear reader, thank you for reading it thus far.
I’m kind of like that shitty history professor you have.
The one that sometimes skips class, and you’re like “Why the fuck did I walk all the way over here, then?” but other times, he does show up, and he’ll tell a moderately interesting story, but then assign you like 400 pages of reading. — As annoying, and only slightly more attractive than your shitty history professor.

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