Block 443: May 24, 2014



Date: May 24, 2014

Crane: 443

Days Spent on Project: 461

Location: Conway, Arkansas

Person I would have sent it to: “Did you make this outfit?” Boy.

Back in 2007, after I had finished the marathon run of designing a production for the New York Musical Theatre Fetsival, guest teaching at Colby College, and assisting on a new opera in Nashville, I needed a bit of a break. I had work lined up; I was going to go back to the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium for my second season. I allowed myself to have a bit of a rest period.

And in the late Fall of 2007, that meant that I wanted to try dating again. And, I put myself out there. Soon a guy even asked me out and we made plans to head to a trendy bar in the East Village. I still go there whenever I need to take a date to an interesting “hidden” bar; I think it ups my “cool factor” a bit.

“Did you make this outfit?” Boy was the guy who introduced me to the bar, so I should thank him for the countless times I’ve gone there on subsequent dates.

“DYMTO” Boy’s date was noteworthy because it didn’t go well at all: there was no spark, no intrigue, no light between the two of us. It became more of an interview process as the time and the drinks went on. He was intrigued that I designed costumes. He asked if I had designed clothes for real people. He wanted to know if I made the garments I had chosen for the evening.

I rode the subway back out to Brooklyn afterwards, upset for some reason. I felt equally sad and frustrated and disappointed. For some reason, I had hoped it would be a better evening than that.

This date, looking back, set me up for the next 15 months. It gave me the determination to make something happen. I was 28 at the time and single and lonely and I didn’t like that.

Music I listened to while sewing: I watched some episodes of Portlandia last night before heading to bed, and became obsessed with their opening song. So, this morning, I have “Feel It All Around” by Washed Out playing on repeat.

I’m nothing if not easily stuck in a rut.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Last night, while watching some Portlandia, I had a quick text conversation with a friend back in New York. And I let him know that I may not be returning immediately, and that it’s a slight possibility that I wouldn’t stay there much longer when I did return.

His only response was a Sad Face emoticon.

So, let’s talk about that. I explained that I was tired of feeling so horribly poor all the time. I was tired of feeling the need to hustle for work, hustle for deals on costumes, hustle for more money to design shows. I was tired of how much effort it takes to do everything in New York. Yes, I understand that I’m romanticizing “adult life” outside of New York City, but… you get the sense that when NYC wants you to fail or have a difficult time, it will actively go out of its way to make you feel like that.

I’m tired of staring at my resume and seeing the work I’ve done and thinking: “Why am I such a failure here?”

I’m tired of having someone else stare at my resume and then say: “This isn’t good enough.”

And I know that frustration is just as much about working as a freelance costume designer as it is about living in New York. If I were lucky enough to land a full-time job in a theater or a costume shop or with a production company, would I still be fantasizing about donating my life’s belongings to Goodwill and running away with my dog?

Possibly yes. That one friend’s response was a gosh-darn Sad Face emoticon instead of a “Do you want to talk about this?” is just more icing on the too-sickeningly sweet cake that’s standing in for New York Life in this metaphor. If I go, if I leave, if I give up, I wouldn’t tell anyone else besides my family. I wouldn’t change anything on my Facebook profile. I wouldn’t do so because the only reaction I’d get would be silence or a Sad Face emoticon or a Hashtag Sad Face comment on any number of social websites. In the absence of dialogue or an a conversation or a genuine response, I’d rather just avoid it.

And disappear.

I worry that won’t be a healthy thing to do either, but there’s still time to plan this.

Off to the costume shop. Off to find coffee from somewhere!

One thought on “Block 443: May 24, 2014

  1. Well, this saddens me. And, ironically, about all the response I realistically should have or could have at this point is a sad face emoticon or a hashtag sad face, as we haven’t actually met in person yet and I don’t know your history or background well enough to give you the appropriate response indicating all the reasons why you should stay and not go. But I can say this…..I want to get to know you and I want to be able to sit down and talk with you about all the things you like or dislike about NYC, your freelance career, your dating life, your social life, your dog, your adventures, or your ruts. So while I may not be able to give you much more of a response than your friend did, maybe knowing that I want to be able to give you more of a response will help?!?! I know you want to focus on yourself and the timing of our “e-meeting” or introduction wasn’t the best, but I want to go out with you. So yes, I’m asking you out on a date? I feel like you felt back in 2007. I’m lonely. I want to try dating again. I want to put myself out there. And, to be honest, I suck at it. I don’t date much because I find it difficult and clumsy, and awkward, and unnerving. I don’t make great first impressions because I get too nervous and shy, but after people get to know me and let me in, I’m a great guy and friend. Unfortunately, that also means that I get thrown into the “friend zone” and get shot down when I ask someone out after first getting to know them as friends. Ugh! I tried online dating, but those wound up horrible and I got stalkers out of a few attempts at it. And to be honest, I’ve never been on a 2nd date. There just wasn’t a “spark” there, whether it was from their perspective, mine, or both of ours. I’ve only had 1 relationship and that just sort of happened, when I wasn’t looking for it. I was perfectly content being single at that point and he found me and one thing led to another and one night turned into 6+ months. We never really dated, strangely enough, just jumped right into a relationship.

    Anywho….I know you probably know this already, but I was hoping you’d change your mind at least a little bit and want to hang out when you got back to NY. If not for dating, then, at least, the possibility of a new friend. Although, I was hoping for something more on the dating side. An night out at the “hidden bar” in the East Village sounds fun. Or something as simple as taking your dog to the dog run and just chatting one afternoon. I’m pretty easy-going. I can have fun at just about anything. I did get tix for that show with the hopes you were going to be back in town by then. But perhaps that won’t happen…perhaps none of this will happen?! I don’t know what it is exactly about you that has me drawn to you, but something caught my attention, piqued my interest and held my curiosity since. I know you were going to be out of town for a long time, and that fits right in with the universe always having the worst timing for me. But I kind of liked it because it gave me something to look forward to and anticipate. However, given your confessions of not wanting to return to NY or to just “disappear” without telling anybody, perhaps all of this is nothing but a pipe dream. So, I guess i’m going to try not to anticipate, and I’m not going to look forward to your return, for I’ll only wind up disappointed if it never happens because you carry through with your thoughts of leaving the city after being here for many years. But for what its worth, know that if you choose that path in life, your leaving won’t go unnoticed and your silent departure will have had more of an impact that the seemingly empty expression of a sad face emoticon that your friend gave you. With that, I guess only time will tell. If you do come back to NYC, if only for a little while, please reach out to me and let’s make time to meet.
    Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Hope you find a good BBQ at someone’s house there to relax and have some fun on this long weekend. =)

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