I need you to know that I have been working on keeping my Fan Face in check. The other day, Nick from Project Runway/Under the Gunn passed me on the street and said hello to the baby and I acted like he was a face I didn’t recognize. An elevator door opened to reveal Maya Rudolph standing right in front of me and — you guys — the fact that I did not immediately launch into an impression of her impression of Oprah shows you how much I’ve grown as a person who periodically goes outside.
But this is a story from before I had labelled my Fan Face. Back when it was so obvious my husband would just look away and go, “Damn, Ribon. You look like you’re taking a photograph of Marcia Gay Harden with your retinas. Either work on that, or go talk to her before we get on the plane. It’s getting creepy. …oh, you’re going to go talk to her? I’m going to go over here and not know you, then.”
Marcia was very sweet, even though she had an understandably protective lean decidedly away from me. I normally never go up to someone, but Marcia had talked to my acting class back when I was in college, and I wanted to thank her because it really stuck with me, and many of my friends from that year. Plus I was pregnant at the time, and that state of being apparently turned my “give a shit” meter all the way off.
That missing self-check mode made for all kinds of new experiences during the months I was pregnant. One that immediately comes to mind, one I just can’t seem to let go, involves another airport encounter.
Being pregnant makes you have to pee. All the time, a lot. This is probably not news to you. But it can make something as mundane as getting through airport security turn into a stakes-are-very-high situation inside your body. One time I was struggling through security check before a red-eye flight to New York, keeping my mind focused on the first finish line: the ladies room inside the United Lounge. There had been some delays, some traffic, some longer-than-expected lines, and by the time I reached the bathroom door, I was hunched over, inching my way to the stall.
I peed with great relief. I remember this. I remember a feeling of accomplishment that almost made me sleepy.
Afterward, while I was washing my hands, a woman stepped out of another stall. After a quick glance in the mirror, I thought, “That looks like Retta. But, Retta if she were not in makeup and wanting to sleep during this upcoming redeye.”
I tried not to Fan Face. After all, we were in a bathroom. Let the lady have her time.
Just after take-off I rushed to the airplane bathroom, as it had been almost a full forty-five minutes since I’d been allowed to pee. On the way back I saw that the woman I thought was Retta was sitting in the aisle in front of me. But now she was tucked in all cozy and asleep. Couldn’t be one hundred percent sure, sure as hell wasn’t going to ask her, nor inspect further.
After the flight, maybe-Retta was sitting near us, waiting on a taxi or shuttle or something. This is when I realized I knew the best way to find out if that was, in fact, Retta on my flight. Twitter. If she was on a plane to New York, surely she would have mentioned it.
Turns out Retta had tweeted just before her flight.
“Damn, lady in the United stall next to me. Why the orgasmic experience? #personaltime #keepmeoutofit”
So, you know, it’s not always just my face that ruins things.
Created by: Carlos Romero
Music by: Adam Blau
Posting my Austin Film Festival info here for those of you who I want to see, need to see, or hope to see next week. When I’m not at these places, I’m probably in the Driskill lobby, or wherever Chuy tells me to be. Austin, please get your breakfast tacos and Mexican Martinis all in a row because I have only so much time to eat and drink between these fun things:
A couple of weeks ago I was having dinner with the smart and funny Linda Holmes. Linda was in town to cover the TCA’s, an annual two-week tv critic lock-in that sounds like the television equivalent of your dad forcing you to smoke a carton of cigarettes in a closet. It was her last night, and we got together to talk all things.
About twenty minutes into our conversation, I looked up to catch a glimpse of Famous Hair. It was hair so famous I knew without even seeing the face attached to it, who was standing in front of me.
I’ve been around enough famous people now to confidently tell you that the hair of the famous is just different. It’s better. It’s amazing. Even when it’s supposed to be doing nothing, it’s doing something. It’s sitting on a recognizable head being even better than regular ‘ol boring strands of keratin.
I’ve started a new screenwriting job that has me working at an office.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been a part of corporate culture. I worried it had been too long since I worked business hours with normal people, having co-workers who didn’t have tails or wear diapers. I worried not for me, but for them. It’s been a very long time since going to work means I have to put on pants.
Oh, this is nice. I’m outside.
I’M OUTSIDE! WOO!
Yes, I’m outside, with my friend, like a real lady and I am going to have some lunch. A lunch date! Oh, I’m on a lunch date with my friend like I’m a real, live, normal person. This is fantastic.
She’s been talking. My friend is definitely talking right there. I should probably pay attention.
Man, it’s pretty outside. I forgot how nice life is when you’re around it. Look at all these people, just having lunch. Enjoying their day. People all look so pretty and happy and nice. These people all look so nice.
I hope the baby is napping.
Can she see my breast pads through this shirt? I hope I look okay. I am almost positive I remembered to put on deodorant before I left. I could check the app to see if the baby is still asleep, but —
NO. I will NOT check the app! This is MY TIME and there’s nothing I can do if the baby is awake anyway, because I’m way over here, enjoying my lunch with my friend like everybody else gets to do and I should do because I’m still a person.
[AUDIO NOTE: I performed this piece this past weekend at Anna David's True Tales of Lust and Love (also starring Melissa Villasenor, Morgan Walsh, and Claire Titelman.) I highly recommend listening to this tale in all its mortifying glory -- it's better with the sound of an audience screech-laughing in horror. Here's the link to the recording of the show. (On iTunes here in the 11/12 show.) I'm the third story.]
[WARNING: This story is not for the squeamish.]
So I’m super pregnant. And with that comes all these horrible things. Like, I can’t feel my fingertips – haven’t been able to in weeks. It’s carpal tunnel, it apparently happens to pregnant women, and it’s shitty. My gums bleed when I brush my teeth, I’ve lost all the hair on my arms, I am down to one position in bed where I can sleep without my legs going numb, I’ve got this cold I’m not allowed to take anything for other than hot baths and pity parties, and there’s a parasite that lives inside of me that absorbs all of my nutrients. Or as my El Salvadorian housekeeper likes to say: “Your baby is stealing your beauty.”
Wednesday: Dallas Quill Awards Gala
It is my first gala. It is my first time being a keynote speaker. I fear that these two firsts will combine to give me a moment like you see in comedy pilots for clumsy-girl-you’re-supposed-to-relate-to-but-will-be-worse-at-life-than-you-are-so-you-feel-a-little-better-about-yourself shows. You know, where I accidentally knock over the podium because I made a joke that didn’t go so well because I didn’t know someone important to the organization had just died of whatever thing I was joking about, and then when I try to fix the podium I accidentally rip off a toupee or two while having no choice but to bust into a freestyle rap about Dallas and then eventually I just grab the mic start talking about Tim Riggins because it’s the only way I know how to get all girls back on my side.
* When I’m in a public restroom and a lady comes out of the stall, I really want to stop saying “Thank you” to her when I pass her on my way in. And I mean, I really thank her in a genuine way, every time. There is no need for this thank you. It’s not like I was about to pee my pants. If anything, all it does is draw attention to the fact that I’m about to use the toilet she just finished using. I will be in her “pee space,” as the mother of an ex-boyfriend of mine used to say when she’d scold him for using the bathroom before I did.
That has also stayed in my head forever, so I will now share it with you. She said when boys pee they stand in front of the toilet, and there’s a “stream of pee space” that is created that is exactly where my head goes when I sit down to pee right after him.
* I need to work on not being so obsessed with the pee space.