if to when

another weekend to remember

I made it.

I made it to Monday.

I honestly thought that I was going to have a heart attack and die on Friday afternoon.  I was really stressed.  I spent the day on the phone, talking to one well-wisher after another.  My mother called.  Eric’s family called.  Andy called.  I was getting pumped.

Mom called to tell me that my dad had gone into emergency eye surgery.  He was fine, but they probably weren’t coming to the show that weekend.  Then mom tried to talk me out of doing one of the parts of my show.  “Mom, it’s opening night!  I’ve already talked about this with you.”

“Right, but I don’t think I understood.  Don’t do it.”

“Oh, Mom.  Really?”

“I’ll never talk to you again.”


“Oh, I’ll just go to the bathroom or something when you’re doing it.”

“Mom, I think you’ll like the show.”

“I’m sure I’ll like the show.  Just take out that part.  Okay, just take it out the one night that I’m there.”

“Mom, we talked about this.”

“I’ll just sit there, then.  It’s your show, you do what’s best.”

Notice the excellent use of the guilt trip in this sentence.

I’m thinking about adjusting the show when my mom comes.  I don’t know.  I don’t know the right thing to do.

Matt goes on first, so I listened to the audience laughing and applauding all through his and I started thinking, “Well, either they are going to love mine or hate it.  I guess it’s time to find out.”

And you know what?  The show went okay.  It went really well.  People laughed and cheered and everything.  I think that almost all of the audience consisted of friends of mine, though, so I was a bit hesitant to think that it was all due to my show.  Since they already like me as a person, I didn’t have to win them over.

That night we spent drinking and playing poker until an insane hour of the evening.

Waking up the next afternoon felt much better.  I didn’t have this extreme amount of pressure on me anymore.  I had one show under my belt.  I knew where things were working, and where they were going a bit slow.  I thought about how I was going to do them differently that night.

And then, before I knew it, it was time to do the show again.  It had stormed all day, and as we all sat on the balcony watching the rain, Matt and I talked about how the rain was going to keep away a good house, and we’d have a quieter, wetter crowd.

We were right.

Matt seemed distressed after his show.  The audience was much quieter, and he thought that maybe he had bombed.  I was worried about going up as well, since they didn’t seem to be too interested.  I wanted to know how to win them back right away.  “You’ll be fine.  They’re all warmed up,” Matt had said, and he sat down backstage to watch.

My show didn’t go as well either.  I don’t know if I did it poorly, or if I was just up against a tired wet crowd or what.  They laughed at all the right places, just not as much as the night before.  I had a better sense of what was working with the crowd and what wasn’t.  Instead of last night, where I was proving something to myself, this time I felt like I was proving myself to the crowd.  I think my energy was lower, which is understandable, since I wasn’t nearly as terrified as the night before.

It’s the second show blues.  It happens in almost every show you ever do.  The first night is magical.  The second never lives up.  Next weekend should be fine.  I wasn’t nervous during the show opening night, just before and after.  This time I was nervous during the show, and I think it showed.  I got scared because I felt the crowd wasn’t with me from the beginning.

We went to the Karaoke place right afterwards, because it was closing down.  We had been going there for almost a year and we had thrown many parties there and always had a great time.  Because it was so small, we always felt like we were having private parties.  We got to sing whatever we wanted, and usually there was no wait.  We did all of our songs for the last time, and Chuy and I did the final “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” a common request at the Karaoke Kove.

As we started the first opening notes, Chuy leaned in and whispered in my ear, “We’re gonna do the catch tonight.”

We’d always talked about doing the Dirty Dancing move where Baby runs and leaps onto the stage into Patrick Swaze’s waiting arms.  We’d never done it.  Mostly because there’s about five feet of space between the stage and the wall, and also because there’s only a small ledge of a stage, and not much room to jump or lift.

We’re singing, and I’m trying to plot out how we’re going to do this jump when everyone in the bar comes up to the stage to dance while we sing.

The instrumental part comes on and I throw down my microphone.  I wave my hands to get people to part the aisle.  I run to the end, turn around and see Chuy standing just off the stage in front of me.  I start running towards him and someone who wasn’t paying attention walked right in front of me.  I dodged to the right came back towards Chuy and jumped.

He caught me!  I was in his arms!

Then I was on the floor.  Apparently I jumped with such a force that after Chuy caught me he was thrown backwards and we both toppled to the floor.  Unfazed we both grabbed the mics on the floor, Chuy said a quick, “We tried, dammit!” and we were back into the song.

It was a lot of fun.  I’ll miss that place.

Driving home afterwards with Jeff he was talking about my show.  “You know, I’ve always thought about how I’d do a show if I did a one-man show,” he said, and that’s where it hit me.

I don’t have to say that anymore.  I don’t have to say, “If.”  I no longer have to talk about what a show would be like “if” I did a one man show.  My “if” became a “when.”  That seems much more powerful.  That made me feel pretty good.  I did it.  I wrote it, and I did it.  It’s a much better story when it begins with “when” instead of “if.”

And that’s when I didn’t mind that Saturday’s show didn’t go as well.  Because now, “when” I do the show next weekend, I’m going to be ready for the audience.  And “when” I do the show again (twice more) I’ll just have fun.  I’m not having to prove anything anymore.  I’m not having to plan anything anymore.  I just have to keep doing it, and have a good time while I do it.

That’s the best part of the show.  And Saturday night, when it’s the bittersweet ending of all that work (that will be a “when” not an “if”, since I won’t be doing this show again until (maybe) October) then I’ll just have four little “when”s to look back on and remember that when I thought I couldn’t possibly do it, I did it.

Sunday was spent seeing Big Daddy, which I thought was a Big Disappointment, since I had already seen the Big Trailer.  We went to a computer store afterwards.  There next to the counter was City Hunter for sale.  That was sort of strange.  I wanted to grab some little green haired kid and go, “You see this?  That’s me!”  but since it’s not a picture of me, no one knew that they were standing next to a box with a picture of Kaori and selling a game to Kaori herself.  We bought a new game called Silent Hill, which will now encompass the next fourteen evenings of my life.  Seriously.  Eric and I get a bit obsessive about a new game, and this is the closest to Resident Evil that we’ve found in a while.

Really, it’s all I’m going to be doing this week.

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