My dream last night consisted of watching three storms join from across a lake to form a super cell and then turn their attention on me, sitting on a dock with my feet in the water. The sky went dark, I closed my eyes, smiled and could feel the rain start to sting when I woke up.
I’m doing an interview and I’m asked if I had ever considered another career, like athlete. I marinate in the compliment briefly, then…
“You ever watch an athlete at a press conference announcing his retirement? The athlete starts crying and the people you’re watching with start making fun of the guy, saying ‘Boo hoo, take your millions and cry at home.’ Can you imagine training to be an actor since birth, at 18 you get a dump truck full of money to act in the biggest movies, then at 40 you’re told you can never act again? Everything that you have dreamed about and made real is taken away from you forever. Acting is the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. There’s a high percentage this will end badly. But with athletics…100% guaranteed broken heart. I’m sorry, what was the question?”
The interviewer reminds me of the question, I pause before answering “athlete”, and we move on.
I keep myself busy, making work, chasing creativity. I produced a short film a number of weeks back and make many phone calls today to the director and DOP, discussing artistic things once done and those yet to be completed. My cousin asks for dating advice, so I puff out my chest & and give guidance I have never taken myself, but feel strong and confident in the giving. I call my agent, chit chat about the upcoming uncertainties, arrange vague schedules and make plans for bigger things. I take a suit to the dry cleaners, buy propane for the BBQ, make a healthy lunch…all before noon.
While eating I receive a text message from my friend Amy. Her job, as an actual Ghost Hunter, takes her all over the U.S., and one never knows where she is or what she’s doing…
Patrick– What’s on your agenda today?
Amy– Investigation tonight. Seems this guy thinks he has a portal to hell in his basement. I wish I was kidding. You?
Patrick– …um, I may nap.
The conversation ends and I crawl into bed, where I stay for the remainder of the day.
On my 44th day of coffee sobriety I go to my old Starbucks to sit for an hour. I buy a tea and find a seat. In the past month they have completely renovated the interior. It was a cold, pre-fab Starbucks when, for years, I would spend 3 hours everyday consuming latte after latte. And now, the decorating seems to be inspired by log cabins. Cedar shakes on the walls, stone slate tables. Warm, welcoming, a place you’d want to spend 3 hours at a time and drink latte after latte. And the staff is completely different. No longer am I greeted with, “Hello Patrick! What size today?”
In my attempt to better myself I have cut away the simple pleasures of community and vice. I sip my tea, stare at the strangers, and ponder what my next step to perfection will be, and what that may cost me.
I notice that today I’m merely a spectator. I’m not partaking in the world. I’m observing & waiting for something. I reread my favorite Douglas Coupland passage from his book ‘Life After God’,
“Every day each of us experiences a few little moments that have just a bit more resonance than other moments…And if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection – certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us. We would realize that we have been having another life altogether….”
I think I’ve been trying too hard. Earlier today I said to a friend, “TRYING to have a good day is like nervously wooing a girl you really like. The more you TRY to make it work the more the universe rapes your face.”
I bought two season tickets to a local theater here in Vancouver. I’m always desperate & disheartened when it comes time to find someone to take the second ticket. So tonight I take my friend Ivon to a musical. Next year I’ll only buy one season pass. No need to go through this again.
I’m distracted throughout the show. I stare at the ceiling, adjust in my seat, and then try to focus on why I’m here. I lean over to Ivon and whisper a smug prediction about the plot, “Notice the mother’s the only one who talks to the son? I betcha he’s dead and that’s why this family’s so fucked up.” Ivon shoots me a look, I wink and tap the side of my nose. Within minutes the audience gasps at the revelation that the mother was in fact hallucinating the dead son. I assume Ivon is impressed, but these type of predictions are always anticlimactic. It never happens the way I want…My viewing brethren pause the show, stand, turn to me and say “How the HELL did you know that was coming?” I humbly shake my head, indicating that it’s a gift and a burden. I motion for the performance to renew, but everyone is just too damned spooked by my trick, and the night becomes a round table discussion concerning what else is awesome about me.
Instead, the play continues, I look disappointed, adjust in my seat, stare at the ceiling and think about sleep. I had assumed my abundant napping this week was just indulging in something I enjoy, but I have a sense it’s something else, maybe a cold coming on, or forced time travel. I’ve decided to take tomorrow off of “work”. I’ll spend the weekend justifying this. My greatest talent is excusing my lifestyle.
This all reminds me of another conversation I had earlier this week with my friend Amy. In a blatant attempt to incite an “Awwww” reaction from my twitter followers, I tweeted a picture of me feeding ice cream to my 7yr old niece. I’m manipulative that way. In response, Amy texted me:
Amy – I spoil my niece and nephew too. I consider it an investment in my future. If I don’t have kids, at least one of them will make sure I don’t end up in an old folks home.
Patrick – No joke. I think about that too.
Amy – I may as well put them through college, just in case.
Patrick – But if they’re professionals they won’t have the time to take care of you.
Amy – You’re right. I’ll encourage them to follow their “dreams” instead.