tales of a girl in the city

février 16, 2005


I am sitting in the hallway of a Comfort Suites Hotel somewhere outside of Chicago, surrounded by the burgundy and forest green wall paper that seems to decorate every hotel, be it Holiday Inn, Ramada, or Motel 6.

I've been undertaking a study of hotel décor, and have been fascinated to realize that the world seems to be under the impression that burgundy and forest green make all of us sleep a little more soundly.

Hotel wall art is also a current hot topic in my own head: I have slept with my head beneath numerous boating scenes, roses, Italian Rennaisance statues, several Santa Fe desert montages and, best of all, one set of abstract Tron-art that could have come right out of Pink Floyd's The Wall.

I cannot begin to express how strange it is to be a hotel nomad. Members of our cast have dubbed us minstrels. Others prefer the title "Carny" which I find depressing. If I return to New York with my ass-crack hanging out of my jeans and a Def Leopard t-shirt I'm going to have to seriously re-evaluate my career choice. We eat with plastic forks out of styrofoam cereal dishes everyday. I have had more fast food, more restaurant food, more single servings of shampoo and soap and toothpaste than I care ever to repeat. I find packets of mayo and soy sauce in the van every day, and no shortage of napkins from every gas station, Mc Donalds and green room that we have passed through. My suitcase is bursting, but somehow it seems that I've only brought along three or four outfits, because I feel like I wear the same things every single day. I look forward to cable, hotel pools, free local calls, Chinese food and pizza--no extra charge for delivery.

The gang is hanging in there, although it is only our first week out on the road. Six more to go. Then one lone night of respite in NYC, and back out on the road (on the East coast this time) for another week or two. I call Emily at night and tell her how homesick I am and she laughs at me for being so sentimental. I think for her everything stays the same while I'm gone and she can?t imagine why it is I am so convinced that, in my absence, Hoboken and my house have undergone some sort of radical transformation. What she doesn't understand is that I'm trapped in a strange limbo, mix between constant change, continual travel, and eternal sameness: day after day of up and out and to the theater and do the show, close the show, take down the set, pack up, drive, up and out and in and up and out and sing and gone and here and there and next and when will this be done?

That sounds as though I hate this, which is not the case. I don't hate it. It's just not real. This is not a real life; it's a special boxed up living situation that is peculiar to this point in time and that will never be repeated anywhere else. There is a routine, and that routine is that we do the exact same thing in a different place every day. Routine re-routed. Routine re-located. Every day relived, but not. It's truly bizarre. Part of me feels stuck, and yet another part feels liberated.

Contrary to what I had expected, it's a terrible time for writing. I'm never alone. I?m never given the opportunity to think because we are all always together, whether by choice or by assignment. In the van, on the stage, in the dressing rooms, at the hotel, in the pool, at a restaurant. The six of us have become like some strange set of Siamese twins, joined together by a long, spongy, Theaterworks umbilical chord. And if I had to pick one thing that I missed the most about my other life, it would be freedom. The ability to make independent choices. To want something apart from the six other people who currently share almost every moment of my life.

My life. That is the catch phrase in my thoughts all of the time now. I'm haunted by the idea of "the rest of my life" and by the question: What do you want to be when you grow up?? I want to be a firefighter. I want to be a scoundrel. A professional scoundrel. That would be a pleasure. What, indeed, would I wear? Black mostly, with fuschia lipstick and a fantastic fur coat. Or maybe spurs.