i go solo

and keep forgetting things about diane

It’s all over.

But I’ve got a good story.

Friday afternoon I got to the Comedy Sportz playhouse bright and early (2:30pm) to go over the show with Chuy and then take a look at the stage. They were teaching a defensive driving class at the time, so I dawdled by watching the ice skaters. Chuy had some pizza. I had a coffee and some leg twitching. We walked into the theatre and took a look at the small stage and looked around the space. There’s a section of the piece where I run off-stage and come back on from a different location. It wasn’t going to be easy in this space, especially if there were a lot of people coming.

My phone rang. “Pamie? Hi, it’s Pooks.”

“Oh. Hi!” I had been so busy I forgot about the influx of journallers coming to the show that afternoon. I became nervous and sweaty again.

“We just took a look over our festival schedule and it really doesn’t allow for us to get all the way out there, so we’re going to miss your show. But we’re really sorry.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I understand.”

“Let me give you our phone number so if you aren’t too busy later we can get drinks or something.”

I jotted down the hotel number and the extension.

Chuy and I waited outside for the rest of the actors to show up. There was a one-man show on before mine, and a guitarist who was going to play in between. I didn’t have a lighter, so I kept bumming from people sitting on the bench outside the Hooters. Just a side note: If you worked at Hooters, I would think you’d be sick of staring at cleavage. This apparently isn’t the case because when I bummed a light off one Hooters worker he held his lighter next to his chest so I had to bend over to light my cigarette. Whatever, asshole, I still got the light.

The show was to begin at five. My friends were showing up outside. We were all sitting around. I was really happy with the turnout.

Let me make a long story short: Austin traffic was not on my side that day, and the auditioner was going to be late. Very late. So late that my show got bumped. I couldn’t perform on this stage. I had been moved to the Velveeta Room at nine.

Let me explain the Velveeta Room for you. This is where Monks performs their improv and sketch shows. It’s also a stand-up comedy club. This means our clientele is almost exclusively drunk and rowdy. They heckle. They walk around. They talk. They argue. They clink their bottles and make more noise than you’d think. It is down the street from a fire house so we hear sirens go by at all hours (and more frequently during the hours of 8-12 on a Friday night). Next door is a musical revue show with a magician, and every night at 9:45 like clockwork you can hear “Father Figure” come bassing through the walls. The bartender will hit a bell whenever you make a bad joke.

I was walking into my death.

People made plans to see my show later. Some couldn’t, and apologized. I sat outside the theatre for a while to tell the latecomers that I wasn’t going to be performing. Matt sat with me while I wigged out on the curb outside. I realized that I could give Pooks a call, as the hotel that they were staying in is five blocks from the new location of the show. I was taking a risk, telling them they could see it, as probably there would be either nobody at the show, or frat boys asking to see my tits. These were my options.

[scripty]
OPERATOR
Thank you for calling the Driskill, how may I help you?PAMIE
Yes,extension ____ please.

INSIDE PAMIE’S BRAIN
Oh, my parents have worked in hotels. I have worked in hotels. I lived in a hotel. They are going to ask me for the name of the party. Please don’t ask me for the name of the party.

OPERATOR
And the name of the party?

INSIDE PAMIE’S BRAIN
Shit. Do I say “Pooks?” Wait. Diane.

PAMIE
Diane.

OPERATOR
I need a last name.

INSIDE PAMIE’S BRAIN
Not online, you don’t.

PAMIE
A last name? I can give you three first names.

OPERATOR
I’m sorry. You have to give a last name.

PAMIE
But I just want to leave a message.

OPERATOR
Hold on, let me check.

INSIDE PAMIE’S HEAD
Diane. Diane. Nobody Knows Anything. Why Web Journals Suck. OH! Why Web Journals Suck by Diane… Pa…Pe… Patterson! PATTERSON!

OPERATOR
Thanks for hold–

PAMIE
PATTERSON!

OPERATOR
Good job. I’ll connect you.

INSIDE PAMIE’S HEAD
That’s right you’ll connect me.

SLEEPY VOICE I OBVIOUSLY JUST WOKE UP
Hello?

INSIDE PAMIE’S HEAD.
I’m an asshole.

PAMIE
Uh.. hi. This is Pamie?

INSIDE PAMIE’S HEAD
I suck.

PAMIE
Who’s this?

SLEEPY VOICE I OBVIOUSLY JUST WOKE UP
This is Diane.

PAMIE
Oh, hi, Diane. I just wanted to tell you my show got moved, so you guys might get to see it.

DIANE
I should write this down because I’ll forget when I wake up.

INSIDE PAMIE’S HEAD
Which might be a good thing.
[/scripty]

I went to the Velveeta Room where I freaked out for a couple of hours. We set up the stage, set up the musician. Diane showed up, and I was too freaked out to really talk to her. Apparently the extension I had was just for her room, so none of the others knew where she was or about the show. I was trying to set up light levels for the camera when I saw a flash. Diane had just taken a picture of me. I looked down. I was holding a beer and a cigarette and my hip was jutted out to the side. Ah, Show Biz glamour. I saw her talking to my friend Anna, and relaxed. Anna would make sure she had a good time.

People were filing in, talking, laughing, ordering beers. I sat in the green room and trembled. Chuy told me to just sit there and take it easy and he’d handle my set up and such.

I was announced. I walked out. I said my first line.

And the most amazing thing happened.

The Velveeta Room laughed, and then they listened.

They listened to me for forty-five minutes. No sirens, no walking, no talking. They laughed in the right places. They heard me without a mic. They even applauded in parts. I never heard “Father Figure.”

I walked off more scared than I’ve ever been in my life.

The HBO guy liked it.

And now I wait until Thanksgiving. I just sit here and wait to see what happens.

You never know how many friends you truly have until you face a personal crisis. To the outside, it looks like no big deal, but to those who are close to you and know, they stick by you. That’s when you see how much they care. I had friends volunteer to be bouncers. They stood by the bar to make sure no one was being an idiot. I had a friend call me all day from work to give the status of his whereabouts so that he could film the show. Chuy took care of the stuff I hate to think about (the tech and the stage and the microphones and such). I had friends talk with me before and after the show so that I wouldn’t be spazzing alone. The bartender gave me his lucky charm (which worked for Matt the night before) and then bought me a beer before and after the show. They showed up to see it in the afternoon, and then showed up again that night. They broke evening plans to be there to support me to see a show that some of them had seen before.

And it went better than any of us thought it would.

So even if nothing comes out of this, I feel really good about what happened. If you had asked me a week ago if I was capable of doing a show like that in a space like that I would have flat out told you no. Not only that I would have just been a complete wreck. I learned something new about myself. I learned more about me as a performer. I learned something about my own courage and confidence. I learned about my voice and it’s projection abilities. I surprised myself.

So even if I don’t go, the entire thing was a very positive experience for me. I guess Diane liked it, too, because she went back to the hotel to get Toni, Jette and Pooks and they watched our (very dirty) improv show at eleven. The late night show tends to be very blue because people shout out those kinds of suggestions. That night, however, turned out to be dirtier than we usually do. I introduced the three of them to Andy, and for some reason I can’t remember the name of Diane’s journal. I just keep remembering “Spies.” I know it’s because on my links page I just have her listed as “Diane.” I’m such a dork. That’s when I remembered– the baby! I asked how the baby liked the plane ride. She said the baby didn’t like the noise of Sixth Street. I wondered if the baby was going to like our show.

Afterwards they came out to say goodbye and due to the late night and the upcoming party at Andy’s house in thirty minutes my producer said, “Well, I need to steal away the cast, if you don’t mind.” And I saw Andy and Jon think, “But they’re Squishy readers!” They left, and I was happy I got to meet them, and see Jette again, even if we didn’t get to talk for very long.

I partied for the next two days like I was still in college. It felt good to be hanging out until five in the morning. I’m tired now, though. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve got plenty of time to recover.

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