July 28, 2019

I’m feeling restless and unhappy this evening. This is usually a signal that it’s time to start one of these free form long posts which are pretty good at helping me get perspective on life and figuring out what’s wrong. I have a number of other things that I should be doing but I’m having some difficulty concentrating – which I think is a combination of dysthymia and gabapentin for the shingles pain so I’m allowing myself a bit of down time this weekend.

We had our first table read of Choir Boy this morning. I am not off book yet despite due diligence over the last week. The sense and shape of the lines is sticking but it’s proving very difficult to get the actual words to stick. I think it’s an age thing. Fortunately, rehearsals this next week are music/choreo for the youngsters and don’t involve me so I have another week to get them down (and a few kind friends are coming out of the woodwork to run lines with me this next week). I know I’ll get them eventually, I’m just lamenting the steel trap brain I used to have which would have learned a part like this over a weekend no problem. It’s gone, together with my youth, never to return. Part of the problem is trying to learn the part in a vacuum rather than in the rehearsal process. I’d never make it in a soap opera where they have to come in off book of pages of dialogue day after day after day. If the first read through was any indication, this is going to be a hell of a show. Tickets are available through Birmingham Festival Theater at bftonline.com

There must have been a slew of retirements in the geriatric world over the last year or so. The recruiters are calling thick and fast trying to lure me away from Birmingham. If my major motivator was money, it wouldn’t be too hard as the starting salary quotes they’re lobbing are a good deal over what I currently make. Money, however, isn’t what interests me. What I need now in life is a combination of balance and things to do that will hold my interest. I have balance here between what I do professionally and what I do when I leave the office. It’s taken me several decades to create that and it would be very difficult to recreate somewhere else. I’m a bit unmoored with Tommy’s death and if I relocated, I’m afraid that I would thrash around in my off hours without the structure of my theater work and social life. I grumble sometimes that I’m too busy and never get to relax but there’s a big positive to that full calendar. It keeps me from my natural tendencies to isolate and ruminate and feed upon my own negative energies.

Last weekend, I went to Drag Brunch which has become kind of a thing locally over the last couple of years. Sunday brunch at a restaurant with drag queen entertainment. Drag is always better over cocktails, whether it’s late night Manhattans or early afternoon Mimosas. I was sitting there with my friend Carin Mayo at Brennan’s Irish pub and I started thinking. Carin and I have been friends for about fifteen years. Her husband’s Birmingham musical theater debut was the same show in which I made my Birmingham musical theater debut (Jekyll & Hyde – fall 2004). She and Tommy had been friends for about fifteen years before that. Brennan’s is owned and run by my friend Danny Ray Winter whom I have followed around to three different eateries over the years and with whom I have sung in the opera chorus. The drag entertainment was provided by Barry Perkins (better known as Reece Eve Cocx) whom I have shared the stage with and who was my clinic nurse for a number of years and his husband Samuel Torres (Sharon Cocx) whom I have acted with, directed and who Tommy put into drag for the first time in a Theater Downtown show called Dragula back in 2012. How can you replicate those odd ball connections and deep sense of community someplace else at the age of pushing 60? I don’t know that there’s any amount of money that would make a move worth it. (Well, there’s probably some amount of money but I doubt that anyone’s likely to offer it as I’m guessing it would be in the eight figure range…)

I took myself to the movies last week to see the new horror film, Midsommar. (MNM has written her review – it will be out in a week or so). It’s really stayed with me in a way that most films do not. I’ve been trying to put my finger on why. It’s not the horror elements as they are simply macabre touches. I think it’s because the fundamental theme of the film is one of human connection as everything that happens flows from either people connecting and bonding in community or failing to connect with each other. Maybe that’s the issue this weekend. Feeling unconnected. I certainly feel connected to my larger group but there’s this huge hole where intimate connection used to exist and I don’t yet know how to fill it. It wouldn’t be that hard to find someone to date seriously (I am kind of a catch if I am allowed to say so) but I’m self aware enough to know I’m not ready and if I try to fill it too soon or in the wrong way, I’ll have serious issues. More than I already have.

So I will continue to do my job and change one family’s life at a time through compassionate care of an elder. I’ll get my lines down and work to be the best that I can be among so many great talents in Choir Boy. I’ll start putting together ideas for a new edition of Politically Incorrect Cabaret which will happen in late September. No major trips for a while. I’ll probably go to the west coast later in the fall and I want to get to NYC sometime in the next six months. I have a few ideas for my major 2020 journey abroad which will happen either late March/early April or September of that year. I’m still taking applications for travel buddy if anyone’s interested. I’ve also got to get one more chunk of the book done to have enough to possibly begin shopping it around to see if anyone might be interested in publishing it. But for the rest of the evening, I think it’s time for Netflix and Chill. I don’t know that I’ve discovered what was bothering me in writing this, but I do know I feel somewhat better so maybe whatever it was has come out somewhere between the lines.

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