Berkeley, Day One

During take-off yesterday, VH-1 distracted me with Grease. Funny, since I’d ripped the theme song earlier that morning.

I can only go so long without dancing and mouthing the words to the film, as it’s my favorite movie. I have tried to come up with something that sounds more like something you call your favorite movie, but this is the truth. I’ve watched this over and over since I was little. Nothing will ever beat it in my heart. This is my movie. There are others I appreciate, and others I love, but nothing will stop me still and have me like this one. anyway…

About halfway through “Greased Lightning,” I saw the foot of the person across the aisle from me bopping in time with my headphones. I glanced over and saw the Joey Fatone-looking dude sitting in 24D was also jamming out to Grease, equally unable to keep from turning into a bit of a dork. Then I noticed the woman one row up from us was also watching Grease, tapping her hand on her tray.

I turned around and saw the two men diagonally behind me smile in my direction and nod toward my little screen. They were watching me watching Grease. I shrugged and went back to my tiny dance number.

When I saw Joey Faux-tone mouthing all the words to “Sandy,” I knew he was more than just a fan. At the next commercial break, I tapped him.

“Were you in Grease, or are you just a fan?”

“Both,” he said.

And then we swapped stories of productions, our favorite songs (Mine: “There are Worse Things I Could Do.” His: “Summer Nights”), and how we are powerless over this film. We watched the rest of it together, glancing whenever they’d make a weird edit (They bleeped out “Shit” and “Tit” but not “Pussy Wagon” or “The chicks’ll cream”).

Then I watched the first half of Austin Powers, read a bit more, and then settled in for Arrested Development and House. I hadn’t watched that much television — that much commercial television at that — in I don’t know how long. I got to Burbank, fetched my bag and checked back in again, getting me to Oakland at close to eleven at night. Got to spend an hour and a half with my sister-in-law. She calls me “sister” all the time now, and you almost don’t hear the quotation marks anymore. We talked while she packed, her flight quickly approaching, until I was babbling in exhaustion.

“Put your wife to bed, baby brother.”

When I woke up in the middle of the night, I had no idea where I was. I knew stee was there, but at first I thought I was in Connecticut, and couldn’t figure out what happened to my mother. Then I thought I was at my bed at home. I kept trying to find Cal in the dark.


“You like Berkeley Pam the best, right?”

I sometimes forget that people I know read my website.

That was Jeff asking, and I need to mention Jeff a few times here, because clearly he’s sad that I don’t mention him enough. See, he only got one sentence in this entry, and somehow he wasn’t mentioned inthis one at all, and while he’s a little less famous than this other Jeff with his name, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t mention him here. He is, however, mentioned here. This is a paragraph so Jeff will get off my back about not mentioning him enough, so bear with me.

Jeff Rhode calls stee “schtee.” He has a fantastic wife named Nada, and a cute kid named Miles. He is good with a hug, but not so good at Trivial Pursuit. (Yeah, I said it.)

“Why don’t you write about me on”
“Because all I’d be able to talk about is how you’re obsessed with my womb.”
“When are you gonna pop some out? Look at stee. He needs kids.”
“Seriously, Jeff. I’m going to French Press your face.”
“Are you going to write about that, too?”
“Now I will.”
“All kidding aside. Have some kids. It’s time for you to have some kids.”
“You’ve been telling me that for five years.”
“See? You’re behind. Babies can’t make themselves.”
“I will kick your ass if you don’t stop.”

Our friends here are now ruled by Baby Time, so our brunch was cut short by Nap Time. Stee and I drove to a nearby coffee shop because while everybody naps, we type. First we sit and talk in the car for a while, because we’ve spent too much time apart this year and need every moment we can to sit still while it rains around us and take moments where the rest of the world is far away.

When we step out of the car, two of stee’s best friends are walking by. No longer in Los Angeles, no longer in Manhattan — this is the place where everybody is just a couple of blocks away. It’s still jarring for me, but the others are like, “Hey, dude. Meet us down at the pub in an hour.”

Berkeley is where the alternate me grew up. That’s for sure. I wanted to move here before I ever saw it. In high school I wanted to apply to Cal but my mother said, “Absolutely not. Too far away and full of crazies.” She couldn’t stop me from becoming one of the crazies, nor from moving far away and then marrying one of the far away crazies. My heart was always pulled over here, even when I was too young to understand why.

“Happy almost anniversary, you guys.”
“Thank you.”
“One down. Doesn’t it feel like it was just yesterday?”
“Hell, no. My wedding was seven years ago, easily.”
“Yeah, you guys have had a crazy year.”
“Us? You have a baby, go to school full time and run a business. I have no right to even begin complaining.”
“Yeah, I’m really tired.”

It’s raining and it’s chilly and the coffee is strong and my husband’s across from me working on his computer, and as much as I appreciated everything and everyone over the past couple of weeks, this moment right here I really needed.

“What are you going to do now?”
“Look for a job.”
“Yeah. What are you doing while you do that?”
“Figuring out my next book. Waiting for notes from the actress and producer on the film I’m writing for them. Decide what I want to do next.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I have no idea. I’m supposed to be figuring it out.”
“But what do you want to do?”
“Are you going to work on another show?”
“I don’t know.”
“Write a movie?”
“I don’t know.”

I’m so tired. I had no idea how tired I was until I turned everything in. I’m not tired in my body, or my bones. My head is tired. My brain is waving a tiny, white flag. I wrote all year, constantly, consistently. I feel a little dry. I come here to this site and type and type and type because it’s probably habit. It’s not inspiration, it’s to keep some record of what’s going on. Recently, someone commented that I have a need to write everything down or it doesn’t feel like it happened. But there are times when I use this site to figure out what’s going on with me. Right now I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen next. This hasn’t happened in a couple of years. I’ve been head-down, cranking out work. I’m between things right now, and while I’m enjoying the time off, I’m also wondering why I’m not itching to get started on something else.

It leads to wandering entries that have so little of a point that I’m not even sure what to title them. See? Brain-numb.

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