got milk?

why i’m destined for the nuthouse.

Being a theatre person makes you a pack rat.  You cannot avoid it.  Every time you think of getting rid of something in your closet you think to yourself, “I may need that in a show, I should hold onto it.”

Right now on my back porch there are ten dusty, moldy hula hoops that have been sitting there since last year’s festival because you never know when we may write another hula hoop sketch, and what a shame it will be if we have to buy all new ones.  At one point I was going to donate them to a day care center, but then it stormed, and they all got wet and gross, and I couldn’t bring myself to donate nasty hula hoops to kids… but actors don’t care if the hoops are musty, so they sit on my porch.

My mother also gives me clothes that I’ll never wear, “You know, if you ever need it for a costume,” she says.  So I’ve got huge dresses, cowboy hats, boots, purses, makeup– all articles of clothing I’d never wear all sitting around waiting for the Minnie Pearl sketch to be written.

It’s terrible.

But last night I think I’ve hit the mark where I know that I’ve gone too far.

Sitting in my office right now is a giant milk bottle costume.

This styrofoam milk bottle used to be in the green room at the comedy club, and when we cleaned out the club for the festival, I offered to take it home in my car, since it took up half of the room.  Part of my brain thought, “Brilliant!  I’ll own the milk bottle, since it was so funny last year.”

So it consumed the back seat of my car for two days and then Eric moved it into the house and it sat on the back porch.  Well, a couple of days ago we had a huge windstorm and I actually woke up in the middle of the night and thought to myself, “That milk bottle is gonna fly off and kill somebody.”

I pulled it from the back porch into the house, in the office.  Now, whenever I walk down the hallway I always think there’s a large pasty man standing in the office, wearing a little blue cap and it scares the crap out of me.  I jump and scream and turn on my heels ready to do a roundhouse kick and then I see it’s the giant milk bottle.

This has happened six times.  I’m not kidding.

Last night I got home before Eric did and due to the nice cool weather outside I decided to get into my snowflake pjs and make some tea, sit in the comfy chair and read my new David Mamet book.  I was half undressed walking to the back bedroom to get some socks when I saw a shadow of a crazy man about to kill me.

I jumped and yipped and threw my book at the milk bottle.  I had to stop and think that if it really was a mad man in my office about to kill me, would throwing the tiny book at him confuse him enough to give me time to leave?  Apparently my fear reflex seems to think so.  Either that or he’d think– “I’ve been meaning to pick this up.  Hold on, I’ll be with you in a second.  I’m dying to see what Mamet has to say about the Second Act.”

I’ve got to stop saving everything.  I really do.

I was wondering why every afternoon before rehearsal Eric would ask if I was going to take the milk bottle back, but now I think it’s because he keeps getting scared too, and doesn’t want to tell me that he’s sick of getting freaked out by a styrofoam costume.

Yesterday as I came out of the bathroom stall at work I thought I saw a shadow standing in the little space next to the shower stall that we have.  As I was washing my hands I thought to myself, “I’m just having a little That’s Incredible moment, and nothing else.  Why would there be someone standing in the shower stall?”

I turned to dry my hands, and sure enough, a woman was standing in the shower stall area, back to the wall, arms folded, with a stern look on her face.  She was silent.

I jumped.   “Oh, my gosh!” I said, starting to laugh, “You scared me!”

She looked at me, walked right past, and started going in and out of each stall in the bathroom.  She never said a word.

Instead of hanging around to find out why she was hiding in the shower until I was doing peeing only so that she could see if I had… I don’t know, stolen the toilet– I decided that it was best to leave the Potty Lady alone, and I left the bathroom.

But I couldn’t shake that eerie That’s Incredible feeling.  I mean, it’s a big bathroom.  Why did she need to stand in the shower stall to wait?  Why?

I’m too paranoid for my own good, I really am.

Like if I’m ever sitting by myself waiting for something (like a doctor’s office or an elevator or whatever) and someone comes along, I always feel compelled to discuss my own personal situation.   “I pushed the button.”  Or, “I forgot how good Highlights can be.”  I don’t know why, I guess I want that person to know I’m a human, and I’m there for them if they need to talk to me or whatever.  They rarely respond, and I guess that’s okay, you know.

I just want everyone in the room to know that I’m approachable.  I’m the sane one.  You know how there’s one crazy on ever bus?  Well, before I look around I just want everyone to know I’m not the crazy one.  I’m aware that fifty percent of the time that probably makes me the crazy one, but it’s too late.  It’s a compulsion, I can’t help it.

Like last week I went to dinner and when I was in the restroom (this is where some of my best chit-chat stories come from, because it’s only a couple of minutes of your life that you ever meet these people)– and there was a song playing where this girl kept wailing over and over, “I’m an Onion Girl, I’ll make you cry.  I’ve got so many layers.  I’m an Onion Girl.  I’ll make you cry.”  And I started laughing in the stall.  I knew I had to act fast, or people waiting in line would think I’m a weirdo.  So I walked out of the stall and pointed upwards, “Watch out for her,” I said to the woman at the front of the line.

[scripty]
WOMAN
I know, she’ll make me cry.

PAMIE
All those layers.

WOMAN
At least she warned us.

PAMIE
It is nice of her.

WOMAN
Yeah.

PAMIE
Because I was ready to make a commitment.

WOMAN
Me too.

PAMIE
Peel back the layers of her fingers to put that ring on.

WOMAN
Uh-huh.

PAMIE
And I’d be all, “With this ring– OH, MY EYES!”

WOMAN
(shuffling)
Right.

PAMIE
WHY HAVE I CHOSEN TO DATE THE ONION GIRL?
[/scripty]

I don’t know exactly when I lost her.  I did.  There’s a point where I talk too much to strangers, and I become the story the girl tells when she goes back to the table, “You see that girl over there with the blue puffy thing in her hair?  She totally was blocking my bathroom stall and ranting about the song that was on.”

But, you know, for a couple of minutes I made her the hit of her table.  She was the center of attention.  So, in a way, I’m doing a service.

The exact opposite happens if I’m sitting alone and someone approaches me with the small talk.  I’m out of my element.  I’m instantly thinking, “What does this freak want?”  It’s terrible.  I accuse them of being rude if they don’t talk to me, but I don’t want anyone bothering me when I’m unprepared.  I’m at my worst when I’m flying alone.  I’m the person that’s always trying to make friends with the person next to me.  You know why?  I’m terrified of planes.  I hate taking off, so I always try and get the person next to me to start talking so that if and when I start clutching his or her hand and nudging my head under his or her chin we have some sort of past history together.

I’ll talk to anyone, I really will.

“This line is really long, huh?”

“Oh, I read that book, it’s great.”

“Are you…going over there now?  Oh, okay… take it easy.”

But if a stranger says to me, “I’ll see you later,” I’m instantly snorting: “Yeah, ‘cuz we see each other all the time.”

I’m the rudest nicest stranger you’ll ever meet, I swear.  I’m like a wild animal:  Don’t just come up, wait for me to approach you.  Let me sniff your hand a bit (don’t look frightened– I can sense fear) and I could become your new best friend.

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