Ray Day

we’re good roommates

Ray and I had auditions this morning. They took a long time and went well. They took so long, in fact, that at one point I realized that the only person that could give a good read for the monologue they handed me was Jeff. So I called him in New York and read the monologue for him. He tried to get me to channel his spirit for the audition. We caught up on his crazy celebrity-filled life and I told him about what I’ve been working on. It was good to talk to him and killed an hour of my audition waiting .

But after the audition I was still thinking about Jeff. Many times Jeff and I would audition together and then we’d end up making a day out of it. We’d go shopping afterwards and then get beer, sit on the porch and talk about how we just have to be good at what we do. We’d make grand plans and schemes. We’d create bands for ourselves even though neither of us knew how to play an instrument.

So it was good that right after Ray and I had lunch he asked if I wanted to go to the nearby thrift shop. Ray was filling in for Jeff without even knowing it.

Jeff likes to try on clothes and ask you how he looks in them. Ray wants you to try on ugly clothes with fur and fringe and tassels and let him laugh at you. Jeff helps you pick out the right skirt for that pretty sweater. Ray calls your cell phone in the dressing room when you’ve taken too long. Jeff stands outside the dressing room and offers to find the outfit in a different size so you don’t have to put on all of your clothes again. Ray puts his finger through the dressing room screen door and makes dirty comments so you think someone’s watching you naked.

It’s different, but kind of the same.

We got back home and I went back to work. At lunch, Ray had decided to order the exact same thing I was having. I teased him for getting male PMS. I notice that the boys that spend lots of time with me seem to fall into my same mood swings. They want ice cream when I do. They want to sit and watch movies when I do. They get emotional and depressed when I do. I grabbed a candy bar at the audition and Ray said that I give off some sort of vibe. He said that when people see me with something, they want it too. He grabbed a candy bar. He didn’t even want one until he saw me with one.

So I was sitting here working when Ray declared it was time to go get coffee. Now, even though I have a free one waiting and it’s not that long of a walk, I wanted to keep working and not take twenty minutes to walk down and get some coffee. I know, it’s unheard of, but I had spent all afternoon shopping and auditioning. Ray actually began to pout. He said, “Well, then I’m going to sweep the porch!”

“Ray. You can still go and get coffee.”

“No, I can’t! It’s not fun unless you’re there to hear me make fun of the people! I’m sweeping the porch!”

I looked outside ten minutes later and Ray had piled all of the furniture up and was giving the porch a sweeping of a lifetime.

“Ray. You are in full-blown PMS. You pout that you don’t want coffee just because I don’t and now you’ve Poltergeisted the chairs all up to sweep the shit out of the porch. You are experiencing raging PMS.”

“No. I just want it to look nice!”

I went outside for a cigarette and watched him sweep for a few minutes. I noticed that he barely had to move the broom to make all of the leaves and trash pile up. I hate sweeping because it always takes me a million strokes to get the dirt to pile together. It makes my wrists hurt. I hit myself with the broomstick sometimes.

“Ray? Do you think sweeping is easier for tall people?”

Ray stopped sweeping. “Well, I don’t know. I guess so. I mean, it’s just a fulcrum system and I can go higher up on the broomstick.”

“Because you’re just sweeping everything so easily and I have to really work at it.”

“I guess it would be harder for you.”

Ray then bent down and put his hands at the bottom of the broom and tried to sweep. “Oh, this is hard,” he frowned.

“Ray, I’m not two feet tall. I sweep like this.”

I grabbed the broom and started sweeping.

“Well, there’s your problem, right there. What are you doing with that broom?”

“Sweeping.”

“No. That’s some sort of cuddling.”

“How do you hold the broom?”

“Like this.”

“Oh.”

“Try it.”

“Wow! I’m sweeping!”

“Unbelievable.”

“Well? How was I supposed to know? Who teaches sweeping? Who taught you how to sweep, Ray?”

“God?”

Apparently you use your lower hand to push the broom and your upper hand to steer. If you’re right handed, you put your right hand on the bottom. I had no idea. I always put my left hand low, my right hand up higher, and tuck the broomstick under my arm, holding it against my hip. Then I steer with my right wrist in flicking motions.

I’ve swept for years. No one ever bothered to tell me I was wasting my time.

“Pam? You realize that the fact that you don’t know how to sweep means that you really are supposed to be living here in the Hollywood Hills, right?”

“Ray. I think that the dirt pile would look better over here before you toss it. Balances the energy.”

“Yes, Miss Pam.”

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