Bowling for Love

the special late-night Sunday entry

The weather has completely changed over the past two days and it’s making me feel strange. That and I had stopped dry cleaning my sweaters because I thought I didn’t need them anymore and Cal totally puked in my favorite blue one that I’ll probably never wear again.

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That’s where I stopped yesterday. I started writing because I hadn’t in a while, and I talked to a friend who told me that my entries have been slacking lately.

I guess they have been.

It was good taking a week off, a week away from my computer and away from writing and deadlines and all of that stuff, but the second it ended everything came crashing back. And now I’m looking at a whole lot of work in very little time.

My brain is very busy right now. I’m thinking about all sorts of people in my life who are going through all kinds of things and I wish I could split myself into like five different people and station them in places where they are needed. Those five pamies would also need five unlimited bank accounts, but as long as I’m fantasizing…

I went bowling last night. It’s the most mundane thing that has happened to me in the past week or so, so I guess that’s why I’m dwelling on it. Or at least that’s why I’m writing about it, as it is one thing that I can think about clearly.

I’m not a good bowler. Not at all. Last night was a big deal– I scored 100. Couple of lucky strikes. (there’s a cigarette pun there I won’t bother with…)

I don’t know why I feel the need to bowl every six months or so. The shoes gross me out. The atmosphere is always sort of desperate and lonely. It’ll be packed with people, but they never really talk to each other. I played some video games while we waited for our lane and then we were ready to go.

I have a bit of a bowling phobia. I know it’s completely stupid, but whenever I approach the lane I have a terrible fear that everyone in the entire bowling alley is staring at my butt.

And I can’t concentrate on the pins or the lane or my release because I’m wondering what my butt looks like as I walk up to the lane. I’m wondering if my jeans are falling down or if I’ve got some sort of wedgie, or — the worst — if I look like a total idiot when I release that ball and go into that half-squat that you have to do when you bowl.

And you have to do the half-squat. If you just try and roll the ball without throwing it you have to go into a full-on squat, and that’s too much Butt Emphasis. If I turn around and push it through my legs I’m just going to have to turn around eventually to see where the ball goes, and then people will be looking at me because I’m bowling like a six-year old. If I try and just throw it without leaning into the release then the ball either goes straight into the gutter or possibly the next lane.

So I have to just deal. I have to just bowl. I have to think about how I never look at anyone else’s butt why they bowl, so why would an entire room be looking at mine?

That’s why it’s a phobia. It’s terribly stupid.

But it’s what keeps me from getting a better score. I know it is.

The strikes I got last night were because I was distracted and thinking about other things. I’d forget to worry about my butt until I had already thrown the ball and then it was too late to ruin it. That and the people next to us did not understand the bowling rule of waiting until the person next to you has finished bowling, and sometimes I’d go to bowl and some girl would go tearing down the lane next to me. It’s hard to think about your butt when you’re hoping a ten-pound ball doesn’t smack you in the face.

So maybe all of these things that are going on in my life that I’m constantly thinking about are getting distracted by the large amount of work that’s been handed to me this week. Maybe it’ll be a good thing. Maybe after I’ve finished all of the assignments and writings and scripts and meetings that I’ll be able to look up from my machine and think, “Okay. So, how am I?” Because right now I know that I’m so worried about other people in my life and what they are going through that I’m not thinking about me.

I don’t know what I want.

I’ve been feeling like it’s time to leave Austin lately. I’ve never lived anywhere as long as I’ve lived here. Most of the work I do doesn’t require me to live in this city, and I can take it with me wherever I go. But the other part of me thinks that the second I leave everything will start happening here and I’ll have just missed out on the party.

I don’t want to miss anything.

I have a hard time sleeping when I’m doing big projects or I’m on vacation. On our drive to Aspen last year I didn’t even sleep until several hours after we had arrived. I didn’t want to miss anything.

I’m also quite good in Festival Mode. I love week-long festivals. Aspen, BS comedy festival, SXSW– give me a list of appointments and people and parties and a badge and let me go. I enjoy knowing that there’s always something to do. Because when the week is that loaded with stuff, you really never miss anything, because you’re already always doing something. And they are such a good time.

So maybe I’m having a little post-festival depression. I didn’t have it after Aspen because I knew sxsw was coming up. But normally we’re gearing up for the comedy festival right now and since it’s been moved to later in the year, I’m sort of struggling without the constant security of the stage.

For the first time in a very long time I’m not performing all of the time. I’m doing an incredible amount of writing, and at first I didn’t miss the stage. I guess I still don’t miss some of it, but I miss working on a show.

I miss the stability in my life that I once had. I guess I’m taking it out on theatre. Because it was the one thing before that was unsure, and now there are so many other things that are crazy and fucked up and scary.

How weird is it that the one thing in my life I’m sure of right now is that I want to perform? I’m in love. I have two cats. I live in Austin. I want to perform.

Those are the things I know. It’s all the particulars that get cloudy. All the who-what-wheres. So there I am bowling and letting all of this shit get to my head and for the first time in my life I get 100 points.

It’s not even a good score. But it’s the best I’ve done before.

So maybe I can just assume that this weird head-shit I’ve got going on is making me a better person. That while I’m worried about my family and my home and my friends that the decisions I make, or are made without my control, make me a better person in the end. That when I say goodbye to another friend who is finally getting out of this town and moving on to wherever their theatre hearts are telling them to go that I either think, “Good for them,” or “Take me with you,” or “I know what I want and I’m doing it.”

I don’t want to miss out on things. But I’m not really missing anything right now. That’s what I keep telling myself. If I look past what I have at all of the other things and choices that I have, then I’m missing what I do have. Then I’m missing out. I’m missing out on the now. How stupid is that?

And those choices that I see in front of me, they aren’t going away. Well, aside from death, I don’t have a choice if death makes a move, then I missed out on seeing someone if that happened (I’m digressing because I’m drinking beer while I type which I never do for an entry and is making me drift in and out)… but those choices I have, they’ll still be there in some fashion later. When things are sorted. When I know who I am and what I want.

I’m turning twenty-five in a couple of weeks. I feel like I’ve aged ten years in the past month and a half. But it suddenly hit me the other day that I’m about to turn twenty-five. When I was younger, when I filled out my high-school senior memorybook, it asked where I thought I’d be at twenty-five. I wrote that I’d be married (unspecific to whom) and that I’d be either a writer or an actor or teach deaf education.

But I didn’t write anything about where I’d be or if I’d be happy or what I wanted to accomplish.

So now here it comes. The quarter of a century. Time for me to move up another slot in the “check here for age” range. I’m going into that 25-30 slot that seemed so damn old to me just five years ago. And I find myself doing a lot of searching within myself for just what is it that I want, just what is it that I’m trying to do? And I tell myself that I’m not making any bad choices, that the choices I make are all good, and I just have to make sure I do the right things with them, but there’s still that whisper in my head of time’s running out. you are getting older. you still have energy. you still have the time to fuck up. you won’t get much more fuck-up time.

So what do I do with it? Aside from eventually being a bad-ass bowler, what do I do with it? And I think what I’ll do is see where all of this stuff takes me. I need to see what I want right now. See if it’s still what I thought I always wanted.

Ask a good actor when they knew that they wanted to be an actor and they’ll tell you that even if they didn’t start acting until high school/college/much later, they always knew they wanted to act. We all have put on the same shows in our bedrooms at night, performing for the enraptured stuffed animal audience. And we heard thunderous applause.

I miss the thunderous applause in my head. I haven’t heard it in a while. And so I miss performing, because they have to applaud when you’re done. I never turn in an assignment and have people applaud. I never finish writing a script and see people walk outside for a smoke and say, “That was so fucking funny.” I never come home to the cats in tears, tossing flowers at my feet.

I’m a whore to the audience. I cannot help it. If only you could hear that in your life, when you were making the right decisions. If when I turn to my boyfriend and say, “Wanna watch The Sopranos?” there is such an overwhelming audience response that I know that I’m about to get “the buzzer” from my director and I need to take the scene in another direction.

It’s quiet in my head when I make these choices. I just wish sometimes I had a mini-audience inside that could whisper a “good job” when I was on the right track. So I guess it’s not performing that I miss so much as approval. Instant gut responses to let me know that I’m doing the right thing right now right here.

So here I am, standing in front of the Year Twenty-Five Lane, and I’m holding the ball and I have to stop worrying if everyone is looking at my butt. I have to silence the phobia and the irrational fears and think about what I want and where I am and just bowl. It’s the only way I know how to score.

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