i reach the breaking point and start dishing out career advice
I don’t know exactly when it was that I became a big wuss in my life. Maybe I always have been. Maybe I’ve always just been a big pushover. I’ve always had people tell me that I was too nice. “Oh, you’re too nice,” they say.
I’m tired of being too nice. I really am. I just want to be a bitch. Just once. I want to be a bitch with fangs and blood and nails like talons and I want to growl and hiss and make people back the fuck off me.
But I’m a “nice girl.” My brain starts to freak out whenever I stop being a nice girl. I hate having people mad at me. I hate having someone talk about me. I hate having people dislike my work… or even worse, think I’ve done a poor job or that I am at fault for something.
I hate arguing with people. I really do. That’s why I didn’t do debate. I knew right in the middle of the debate I’d be like, “The reason that affirmative action isn’t working is because– look, do you just want to go and get some coffee? Oh, you know, forget it. Really, forget it. It’s no big deal. I’m probably just being stupid. I’m so dumb. Blah, blah, blah I’mabigpussy.”
And I never get those urges to go into bitch mode until it’s too late. I’m always in the car, slamming the steering wheel saying, “Fuck! I should have said that. I should have said that! Dammit! Why didn’t I think of that?”
And I’m an improv comedian, for Christ’s sake. I come up with shit to say at a moment’s notice every friggin weekend. But if you get my emotions involved at all, I’m a dumb turd. I really am. I don’t say a thing. I’ll just take it.
I’m tired of taking it.
I just got off the phone with my insurance company. I got an itemized bill from the Aspen hospital the other day, so I was wondering how my reimbursement was going. The woman informed me that I would probably not receive my reimbursement from the insurance company, but rather from the hospital.
We haven’t gotten a claim yet.
Well, I got something from the hospital saying they contacted you.
Well, if this happened on the fifth, you’ve got a while to go. It take a couple weeks to process the claim and then 30-45 working days to get the reimbursement.
Well, I was told 30-45 working days back on the fifth.
You see, the hospital has filed this claim.
So the hospital will get the money.
But the hospital already has the money. I paid them.
And then they will pay you back when they get the money from us.
But that’s going to take longer.
You should have filed the claim yourself.
I would have, but as soon as I got back from the hospital I called you guys, and I asked what would be the quickest way for me to get the money and you said, “Have the hospital call us right away, and when they send a bill we will send you a check.”
Well, when the hospital calls, then we pay the hospital.
But that’s not what you said when I called before.
Well, you called the Houston office, and they do things a little differently.
How was I supposed to know I called the Houston office? I just called the number on my card.
Well, that’s what you did.
Well, if they are so inefficient, then why don’t you take their number off my card?
Look, either way it’s going to take 30-45 working days.
No, one way it takes me calling you and then calling the hospital so the hospital tells you and you pay me, and the other, which I guess I unknowingly did because of the Houston Office, is where I call you, you tell me to call the hospital, the hospital calls you, sends a letter to me, you call the hospital, I call the hospital and then the hospital sends me the money.
Which will take 30-45 working days.
That’s a fifteen day window. That’s a whole pay period.
I don’t see your point.
There’s nothing more here to say.
No, I guess not. Thank you.
(pamie slams phone… hard)
But I still said “Thank you” and I still didn’t say some of the things I wanted to say, like, “If you say 30-45 working days one more time I’ll find you and I’ll kill you.” Or, “Perhaps the Houston office would have something to say about you calling them inefficient. Can I have the Houston office number? Or maybe the phone number of your manager?”
I should have done something. Dammit. Now I’m just venting on the web. How pussy of me.
The show goes up in two weeks and I just don’t care to offend anyone else. Someone thought they were light in the show, so I gave her one of my parts. I may give her two. Hell, I may give her all of them because I really don’t care anymore. I really don’t. I don’t want to be in that show anymore. I was talking about this to the producer yesterday and he actually said, “Well, if she’s in the show, can I be in the show? I want that part.”
So, you know, what the fuck. He’s in the show.
If you’d like to be in the show, just show up for rehearsal tonight and I’ll fit you in. I don’t care. I’m going to find some transients and kittens to be in the show, too. I don’t want to piss anyone off. I don’t want anyone to have any excuses. I don’t ever, ever, ever want to direct these people again.
And I really like these people. That’s the problem. They are great friends, and I like performing with them. But I’m done directing. I don’t like confrontations and I’m tired of being stepped on and bitched at and talked about. I just want to be one of the guys again. I just want my friends back. I’m tired of the name calling and back stabbing and the paranoia and the egos. It’s a thin line you walk on being friends with actors. Power makes people angry. I didn’t even really have any power. I just had some keys. And when people treat me like I’m supposed to be calling all these shots and I make all the decisions when I’m just one phone call away from having to change everything– because bottom line I’m not the boss and I don’t call all the shots– then I look like a pussy. Like I don’t have any guts.
But really, I just don’t care. Anyone can be in that show, now. No one is going to claim that I didn’t put them in and I didn’t give them any stage time or the time they deserve or whatever it is they all think they deserve. It’s going to be a show that pleases every one of them. Will it please the audience? I don’t know yet. I used to think I didn’t care what the cast thought, I just wanted the audience to have a good time. But I’m not strong enough for that anymore. I just want the cast to be happy. Because then I get some peace. Make them happy, and then bow out.
But I wish I could go into bitch mode. It’s easier when you’re dealing with a voice on your phone of a woman you’ll never meet. But I see these people four to six nights a week, and for me to yell at one of them will change the dynamic I have with them as performers. I like performing with them. I don’t want to lose that. So, I’m backing off as a director. It doesn’t mean enough to me to sacrifice my future performances and happiness for one forty minute show that I’m not in and no one cares what I did.
I wish I was bitchy enough that these problems never happened. I wish I was respected enough that they wouldn’t try this shit. And you know, it’s not the cast as a whole. Of course it isn’t. It’s not a group think. There’s just so many of them and only forty minutes. And sixteen different agendas for one show. It’s impossible to make them all happy. It is. Even with the fact that I’m just letting them do what they want now. One of them, I’m sure, if not three or four, will still think that I purposely didn’t give them enough stage time or enough lines or whatever.
And it’s any group of actors. I’ve been through some of this before. But since we are creating the show, it’s a little more intense than it usually is. I can’t go, “Well, Tennessee Williams didn’t think you should be on stage right now, so maybe that’s a bad idea.” I have to be like, “Well, I don’t know if it works.” Because it might. I don’t know. I don’t have an audience that follows me around to tell me when they like something and when they don’t.
I’m just frustrated. I’m frustrated and I’m tired. I can’t wait for this festival to be over so I can go back to being a writer and a performer. I can turn those keys in and hopefully get some friends back. And it’s not like I want to hang out with the people that don’t like what I’m doing. It’s not like I’m trying to flunk to get with the cool kids. I’m just tired of people talking about me. Because I’m not the kind of person that can call them on it. I’d like to think I was, but I’m not. I back down. I hate that I do that, but I back down. I don’t like it when people don’t like me. I’d rather just not have to deal with them.
Oh, I’m whiny today. Whatever. I’m having a little pity party because I feel kind of alone in the troupe right now. I really just want to hang out and have fun, but I’ve got to keep control. I’m the one that gets glares when I tell them to stop having fun and start working. If I let them have fun, then I’m not keeping control and other people start glaring at me. I’m a glare magnet. Whatever. It’s almost over.
I’m having fantasies at night about quitting the show. Just throwing those keys at that big duck at the back of the stage and then leaving. Throwing my script in the air and letting the pages fall. Very dramatic. But even in my dream no one is upset that I left. “What a baby,” they always say. Because as nice as it would be to walk away from this show, I’d just be being a baby.
And there’s people in my troupe who read this page. But they aren’t the ones who frustrate me, so I don’t care. Plus I trust them, and I know they know what I’m feeling anyway. Because besides being a wimp, I’m also not very good at hiding my emotions. That’s why people always know when I don’t like them. I can’t hide that sneer I get when they speak.
I just wanted to complain a little. And tell you, all of you out there, if you are thinking of going into the acting business because it looks glamorous and fun and exciting: Don’t. Save yourselves. Actors are evil people. We only think of ourselves, and then we think of our close friends and then we think of people we should think of in order to help ourselves and then we think of people we should think of in order to help our friends. It’s a vicious circle of friendship and lies. It’s exciting and fun, don’t get me wrong. But you’ve got to really love it to put up with all the shit it comes with. I mean really love it– not know what you’d do otherwise love it. It has to be inside you. I’m not trying to be all weird and Alec Baldwinish or anything, I’m just saying you know if it’s something you want to do. It’s not like, “Maybe I’ll be a performer.” It’s something you’ve always known.
And if you’ve gotten this far in your life without acting in your bedroom or directing all of your siblings in a play for your parents, or making music videos in your kitchen, or auditioning to be Barney, then you don’t need it. You’re doing fine. Just rent Waiting for Guffman. If it’s not in your blood, it’s just going to kill you. It exposes the worst in people, but also brings out the best.
Unless you have an ego the size of Texas, in which case you won’t notice anything but how great you are, and you’ll fit right in not knowing that you are driving some director somewhere completely insane.
Who the fuck am I to tell you what to do? I just wanted to warn you. Because I care.