2006-07-06 @ 11:45 p.m.
As I was driving to work today I was thinking how much my life is like a series of scenes from a movie. Its less a movie of the week, but more like a disjointed Charlie Kaufman movie starring Jim Carey. I’ve yet to figure out why I always cast myself with Jim Carey instead of say, Julianne Moore, especially since I’m a girl, but I really think Jim Carey could pull off my neurosis in a funny way, and still be touching, ya know. And of course, each scene in the movie would be governed by what was playing on my cassette player in the car. Unfortunately I have this thing where I listen to the same cassette for like 4 straight months, and then it becomes representational of that certain chunk of my life, good or bad.
Like the 1970’s song “Afternoon delight” by the Starland Vocal Band, reminds me of my first summer out of high school when I worked at a repertory theatre company and had my first nervous breakdown. I had never had any mental health issues before that, but that summer, out under the oak trees at SRJC where I was the music director for a children’s show, I was slowly unraveling.
My parents had gotten divorced when I was a junior in high school. My mom had been having an affair during the latter part of their marriage (gee, I wonder where I get that proclivity for married men?) and ended up marrying this man. That man ended up not liking me much and soon convinced my mom to move 160 miles away and kick me out.
And then at the same time, I broke up with my first boyfriend from high school. No fight. He just wrote me this note and said he didn’t want to go out anymore. I sent it back to him with red inked editing marks regarding the missing commas, periods and spelling errors and left it on his car where he worked. Was that mean of me? yeah, a little. But hey! I was a journalism major. He had typos in the letter breaking my heart! What was I supposed to do? Let it go to print with spelling errors???
My best girlfriend also flew the coop. She wanted to become a Mormon. She wanted to be the first Japanese/Mexican Mormon in Utah. So how did that go? How do you think it went? Ever see any Japanese Mexican wives in the Osmond family reunion shows?
I also got thrown out of one of the theatre productions I was in. I was music director for the children’s show, but I also had a plum role as the floozy piano player at an Irish whorehouse in “The Hostage”. I was so excited about being in a serious drama, and about being in a play about a whorehouse (how terribly saucy of me) and about getting to be bawdy and Irish and I can still remember one of the songs from the show, sung by the drunken Irish soldiers:
”There’s no place on earth like the world. There’s no place that I’d rather be. There’s No place on earth like the world, so bring back my love to me.”
My heart was way more into this than the children’s show. The children’s show was “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and it was being performed outside and there were always like spiders dropping out of trees and falling on my head and I’d have to scream and do the crazy get-the-spider-off-me thingie with my arms flailing, while still trying to play the piano. And that was also the first time I ever saw two men kiss. I didn’t even know what homosexuality was yet, but two of our actors were involved and I happened to look over one day and oh my god, they were kissing. Yeeks! But they both were really nice to me and their kissing didn’t affect me in anyway, except I had to keep silently whacking myself in the head not to stare when they smooched.
But back to “The Hostage”. I loved the rehearsals. I felt like I was really in a play. We had “real” actors....not the lightweights from the children’s show. I mean practically anyone can playing a dancing broom, right? The director was way handsome though. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Intense. And I was trying really hard to fit in. But, as I mentioned my home life was falling apart...mom moving away, boyfriend dumping me, friends randomly turning Mormon. I was also about to be released into the real world (i.e., my own apartment, school full time, two part time jobs). And then on the fifth day of rehearsals of “The Hostage” Mr Hottie Director pulled me aside. My heart was pounding. I always figure I’m fucking up somehow. That’s just how I am and it turned out I was right. He said, “We’re only five days into this play, witty and You’re already TWO WEEKS BEHIND.” And I just looked at him with tears welling in my eyes. I’m not very good at math, but I was wondering how I could be 14 days behind when we had only been rehearsing for 5 days and the first day was just a photo shoot and costume fitting. I then fleetingly thought he was going to give me a chance to redeem myself since hey, an Irish piano-playing whore. It was a role I was born to play! But no, he “fired” me that day. He said not to come back. He said I was out. He said thanks for your help, but in essence, you’re not good enough to be an Irish piano-playing whore in my precious little play.
I was devastated. And what do girls do when they are devastated? No, I mean besides eat 4 gallons of ice cream. I went and got my butt-length hair all chopped off. And it was the worst haircut of my entire life. Crooked. Uneven. It looked like Helen Keller had done it during a seizure. I then went straight home and sobbed on my bed for about 4 hours. Why? Aren't you listening?
Okay, lets review: Mom moving away. Her husband hates me. Boyfriend dumping me. Best friend going Mormon. Getting “fired” from the play as a piano-playing whore. Worst haircut in the history of the universe.
Grounds for a nervous breakdown? Yeah, I’d say. And what was playing on the radio every five minutes that summer? “Afternoon delight”, the most inane, chirpy song you’d ever want to hear. So even now when I hear it, I kind of react like Pavlov’s dog. A little flinchy.
So what will the Summer of 2006’s musical memory chip be? The Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band”, because that’s what’s been in my cassette player since early May when I happily found it at a garage sale for fifty cents. With all that air play, it now represents this three month period of my life: Being unhappy with my job, interviewing at Target, nearly crashing my car, finally buying my newer car, meeting Blue Meany (the music matched after all), and of course all this painful Garden Hacker stuff.
But back to the movie of my life. So like I said, the way I do art to music, I also drive to work to it. I’m usually listening to “All You Need is Love” around Olive Garden, “When I’m 64” around the Billy Hugecillo’s car dealership and then finally “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” when I’m almost to the office. I always turn that one up really, really, really annoyingly loud. And then as I listen to them, I’ll determine which scene will be shot where, since, well, you know, this is a Charlie Kaufman movie after all....
Ext: Summer Day. 1996 Subaru Legacy driving down the boulevard. Inside is a single, white female, aged 48, kinda hip. Has a peace necklace dangling from the rear view mirror. Her moods which are fleeting anyways, are always determined by the music she playing as she drives her car. As “All you need is love” starts to play for instance, for the 347th time, the woman in the car (me) starts to cry slightly. And then there will be a quick montage with a possible voice-over saying: “Here she is, in a 10 year old car, going to a job that barely pays her more than minimum wage. She is scared to live in her apartment. She hasn’t had a date in almost 20 years. She lives with a cat...”
And then, since this is a Charlie Kaufmann film, something really unusual will have to happen like I’ll suddenly yell “Cut!” And start explaining, “ I don’t like driving a 10 year old Subaru. I don’t like making minimum wage. I don’t like living alone. I don’t like living near Garden Freak. I think we should switch the car to a 2007 saffron yellow Mercedes Benz convertible with the license plate “Word”. I think we should have a tall, dark curly haired man driving it. I think that our 400 CD disc player should be playing “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club. Band” as interpreted by the Black Eyed Peas, you know, since we’re so hip. And I want this all to happen now!”
And I’d get to do this because I’m the director of the film within the film, a’la Charlie Kaufman, you see. And I can do whatever I want!
And I actually think that’s why I always cast Jim Carey in the role of wittykitty. Not because I’m confused about my gender, but because he was in one of my favorite films “The Truman Show”. I’m frequently under the impression that I’m being filmed too. Not in the pervy way, although one apartment I had did have a peephole from an empty apartment next door.
But the filming thing has been with me for as long as I can remember. Play some music and suddenly I’m putting cinematic shots together in my head. I’m also very influenced by music when I do art.
So once the montage ended, we’d open with an extreme close up of my face. I’m thinking about my life as the Beatle’s song “All You Need is Love” is playing. Cut to: Overhead shot of three cars coming to a stop at a stop light. Close up of the cassette player. (cue music: “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band”). Different angle: My hand turning up the volume. Medium shot of me rocking out. Cut to the car next to me. Dark curly haired middle aged man turns and looks and smiles. Close up of his hand pressing the button of his window. Medium shot of his window rolling down. Sound cue: The volume of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” getting louder and louder as the window goes down. Cut to: Witty still rocking out. Cut to: Middle Aged Man in other car yelling over “Great song!” Cut to: Witty turning and looking at him, suddenly embarrassed. Close up: Her turning down the radio. Cut to: Middle aged man smiling. Cut to: Witty smiling shyly. Wide shot: Traffic light has turned green. Overhead shot: Traffic is piling up for miles behind them. Close up of witty: (voice-over) “What should I do? That may be HIM....my soulmate. I mean he likes the Beatles! What should I do?”
Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty