Joyous

Blythe Danner

It’s been an unusually busy time, which seems like a ridiculous thing to say when you live here because when is it not like this. Maybe it feels crazier than usual because of all the festivals and everybody running around trying to see everything. I’m seeing so much art but fuck I’m so broke. They finally announced the good thing that’s happening in the spring so I can talk to people about it but it’s funny because I don’t know if I can make it to the end of the month money wise. Meanwhile I can’t believe they charged forty dollars for that show on Saturday night, and even though I liked it, forty dollars for a dance show is just dumb. I thought I had a certain amount of money to make it to the end of the month and I mentioned it in a piece I performed on Friday night, where I asked the audience, is _____ enough money to live on till December and they all said yeah like I was stupid for thinking that it might not be but that was before I realized I only have half that. Why am I talking about this so much?

Oh I was on my way into the city, super fucking late for my training. Like, hours late. Who the hell am I to ever tell anyone else to be on time. I told myself it was ok to be late and I really settled into my acceptance of it so I felt good and relaxed. The night before I’d gone to the film festival party for a little while and it was packed and sorta fun but I felt old and invisible so I went home and watched a bunch of episodes of that show with the woman who tells everybody what to do and then cries all the time even though in the first episode they made this big stink about how she’s so tough and never cries. I have no problem with people who cry a lot per se but there are other ways of showing you’re vulnerable besides crying all the time but hey it’s not my show.

Anyway I noticed that the new ad on the train for the lottery says What will you think about when you don’t have to think about money? I went blank. Doesn’t everyone who wins a lot of money become miserable? Don’t all their shitty con artist relatives come out of the woodwork to squeeze them dry? That’s what I’ve always imagined. Are there documentaries about this? I’m always trying to release myself from the fucked up narrative that says deprivation leads to good art but if I won tons and tons of money I would probably feel weird. I might just get embarrassed and stop making stuff. I can’t be sure. I had an astrology reading once where the guy said that I’ll never have a lot of money but then he also said a lot of other stuff that didn’t happen. I have it on a tape somewhere. He said I’d live until I’m 84 but I heard that as when you are 84 you will die. Anyway now I know it doesn’t even matter when you die it’s those final fucking years that really clinch it.

I was in the midst of writing the following in my journal: Nobody cruises anymore. Not entirely true but not entirely false either. I have no time to go into the studio. It’s all I want to do. I have to clean my house. I have to get shelves. My mailbox situation is unacceptable. I don’t meet the guys I’m really attracted to.

And then suddenly she tumbled in and sat across from me in front of the ad. It was a great interruption. She had on a black suit with wide leg pinstripe pants, suede boots, pale and fancy trench coat, thick reading glasses with black frames. She’s definitely had a face lift but probably just one. I can always tell from the way the real face wants to push through and fall forward, yielding to gravity and truth from the outsides of the pulled part. Her hair was white and wind-swept, which I loved and which matches her name I think. I know I really like her as an actress but in that moment I couldn’t think of a single movie she’d done. She was texting and half smiling. I wondered of course if she was writing her daughter. It was an epic text. She kept looking up with that half smile and serving me profile like it was a reaction shot in a clever drama that has a scene between friends riding together somewhere in the big city on the train. Did she know that I’d recognized her? Maybe. She did look directly at me at one point and I didn’t drop my eyes. I wonder if she feels okay about her daughter’s success or if she resents it. She’s much prettier than her, though I’ve only seen her daughter in pictures. That name, that strange name which I can’t imagine saying on its own. She really embodies it. I can only imagine saying the first name along with the last name. They must do that in casting meetings, say the whole name I mean. Is it fake? Does she have money? Is she still in love with her dead husband? I don’t know.

She was still writing on her phone when I got off. On the platform I noticed the ad for the wrestlers show, and then I saw a lone black nylon purse on the wooden bench. I’ve been trained into suspicion by all the fear propaganda of the past 12 years, so it was ominous. As I got to the turnstile I wondered if I should tell the attendant. I passed a mother and son who were talking about just that. I should go get it said the mother but the boy said no mommy no let’s just tell them. I wanted to get the jump on them by being the one who told the attendant first. Let me be the hero, I thought, but I was torn. What’s so radical about ignoring it, I asked myself. If it was a bomb I wondered how far out from the bench it would affect people. Would it affect me as I walked up the stairs out onto the street? If you see something say something. Well I did but I didn’t.

Advertisements