The wait: a comedy devine

31 07 2005

ACT 1
There are certain things that a buttock will react to unfavorably and one of them, cialis sales cialis according to the International Society for Buttocks Preservation Handbook, sovaldi is sitting on broken glass. Unfortunately, remedy the handbook makes no mention of specific distinctions between glass types. No charts or graphs to indicate which will slice and dice with more enthusiasm: a beer bottle, a Snapple, or the smashed up face of a Rolex.

SIDENOTE: Now there’s an experiment in the making…

Anyways. Glass. Doesn’t matter if it’s dirty, pissed on, downtrodden, beat, busted up and broke. It’s all bad. It’s why the word ’shard’ has a sharp enough sound to make a muscle twitch and go hide behind its mother’s skirts.

Esther, my smart companion on this day, is obviously an avid reader of the buttocks handbook, and keenly attuned to the potential threat of lurking glass. I watch as she sensibly brushes the ground glass-free with her MacGyvered broom (a craggy stick), before laying down her end of the towel.

‘That’s probably a good idea,’ I think.

‘I’ll second that!’

That was my buttock chiming in. It has a somewhat selfish interest in the outcome. Question is, will I have the fortitude to wrestle my laziness to the earth and follow Esther’s example?

No.

My brain has a mind of its own. (Huh? Weird). It turns into a slithery witch and begins to tell me porky pies.

“It’s Central Park,” it cackles. “As if there’s broken glass here. Here, under this majestic fairytale tree. Oh, heavenly tree, mystical and wise. Oh, tree of ample branch and shade-providing leaf. Look, a squirrel to bring you cocktails! Oh Noodle, as if broken glass would dare reside under the Zen-like aura of this tree!”

Solid argument.

Thus verily and with much aplomb I ignore Esther’s example and angle my rump ground-ward. If there is glass, I reason, I’ll find out fairly quickly.

I feel no immediate shard. I feel no slice or carve. Nothing. And for now, the sticks under-arse are only mildly irritating. It seems I have escaped unscathed.

End Act 1.


I bet you thought that whole ramble was leading up to me sitting on glass and cutting my buttocks and bleeding all over the shop. In the playwright game, what I just did is known as ‘building up suspense’. A play will often do that. And it will also take you one way, and then suddenly change direction.

Don’t argue with me. I know this is not a play. But see, I heard somewhere recently that all the world’s a stage and it’s filled to the gills with players…or something. So I’ve written this Noos in three acts. You’ve already met the protagonist (the completely huggable me!); we’ve had some foreshadowing in there as to my state of mind (a little off-balance). Now, hold on tight. Here comes ‘the complication and conflict’. The obstacle that I must overcome in order to prevail.


ACT 2
As I alluded to in Act 1, we’re in Central Park. We’re in a very long, long, long line. It’s 8 am. We’ll be sitting in this spot-near a water fountain, under a tree with no grass to soften the time or our derrières—waiting. Just waiting. On the off chance that we’ll be lucky enough to be allocated four tickets for tonight’s ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ performance.

Oh, the drama! The conflict! The suspense!

We play cards to pass the time. Because I am unfamiliar with the game we’re playing, Esther changes the rules whenever she pleases. She will deny this accusation, but we’ll see what the judge’s gavel says when this scandal gets to court.

Ok, so she’s at a slight disadvantage here. I’m writing my version of events and she can’t defend herself. So in her defense I will concede that I may be a very bad sport and that my particular gaming style is tilted more toward ‘grump’ than ‘grace’. But hey, I was at a disadvantage too. Not including one storey high houses of cards, my skills with playing cards extend to Go Fish and Snap. That’s it. I rest my case.

Five hours we sit in this line.
Five hours.
Five hours not knowing if we’re too far back to get tickets.
Five hours of eavesdropping on inane conversations about rat-bastard husbands and religion.

Five hours of getting my arse kicked at cards.
Five hours of sitting on sticks (but no glass).
Five hours of watching the parade of individuals of all shapes, sizes and dress styles, wander past this one spot.

Something else waits with us. An air of underlying tension. Feels like something’s about to bust out and get dirty. Like some theater buff is gonna throw down and eject a half-educated plebeian out of the line. Someone who doesn’t know Shakespeare from a diner menu. Of course, there is no rule that says you need prior Shakespeare learning to be worthy of tickets, but I’d feel more comfortable if I had more. You know, in case I get involved in a quote war.

Speaking of rules of the line, there is one big one you need to know. You can’t leave the line or you lose your spot. Sure, you can go to the bathroom, but you can’t leave for any other reason. Now if you happen stumble across a Chipwich purveyor on your way back from the bathroom, well that’s just your own dumb luck and that’s not breaking the rules at all. But technically, you can’t leave the line to eat, drink, or be merry in general.

And that’s where the entrapment part comes in.

Ladies and gentlemen, I draw your attention to the flute-wielding busker in the pink button-down shirt and neatly pressed slacks. There he is, playing some kind of weird Jethro Tull, incomprehensible, alternative fusion toot. And now he’s moved on to what is quite possibly the most depressing rendition of Summertime ever to assault the air. A blue funk descends. He plays, then shifts 20 ft up the line, then plays, then shifts 20 ft up the line, all the while asking to be paid. That, dear reader, is entrapment.

Later, there’s the actors troupe—big personalities, megaphone voices. Oh, and here come some political agendas on legs. They breeze up the line, brandishing clipboards and making people feel guilty about their politics. You’re not going to sign this petition! IT’S YOUR FAULT WE’RE IN THIS SITUATION. (And yes, Esther, it IS your fault. That man was sooooo right.)

At one point a rabid squirrel with black marble eyes scampers right through the line. People shriek. He looks back over his shoulder with a withering look, and then continues up his tree. It’s so sad to see a squirrel so obviously hopped up on the acorn juice. What a contrast its craziness is to the calm dispositions of the plethora of dogs that pass by. So many. Ah, the sweet serenade of their lazy tongues lapping at the fountain. Their doggy breaths, their sweaty wet fur.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

The anticipation builds over all five hours. Boy, I sure hope this is all worth it. I sure hope we get tickets…

End of Act 2


ACT 3
In the previous act, you witnessed some conflict (Esther was cheating at cards and there’s an impending court case); our protagonist overcame a busker (by ignoring him); and we were witness to some mighty powerful tension (Did the squirrel bite anyone?) But due to extreme laziness of the playwright, we’re skipping some bits. Sufficed to say, they got their tickets and are free to go to the performance tonight. In fact, here they come now… LIGHTS UP

It’s heavily overcast as we take our seats in the second-to-last row of the open-air theater. The stage is set like a giant sundial, which is offensive enough to make the clouds’ bellies grumble with potential rain, but nothing more. A circle of clear sky has appeared above the theater to indicate that the play should go on. It’s a strange night, hot and steamy, air crackling.

I am wearing my bright and glassy eyes for tonight’s performance. I have a tendency to wear them when I go to cultural events so that I may more effectively look like a hick.

‘I hain’t a neva seen no thee-tah b’fore. Lookee at them ack-tours in them laydees tights, gafaw gafaw’. (Though why I should have that accent is a mystery)

Sometimes I sit with mouth agape, to compound the ‘just blew in from the sticks’ effect.

And now to truly show my ignorance. I have never read nor seen ‘As you like it’. Gasp. But that’s good, because I’m a clean slate here. Totally unencumbered by expectations. But I sure do hope there’ll be monkeys. Monkeys or wolverines. Or maybe even vampires!

The crowd hushes, and the actors are unleashed. Even the night settles and leans on its elbow to watch. How now, the night doth tingle in anticipation.

It’s a slow wind up. And even in my role as captain of tights patrol, I get a little restless. It could be the seat made of ButtNumb™ (Ask for it by name!), but maybe it’s a mix of slightly weak performances and ol’ Bill Shakespeare. It’s probably sacrilege to say this, but boy, he doesn’t half ramble on and make my interest wane at times. Much like this Noos I expect. Ramble ramble, trip up in word brambles. If you follow my drift.

It gets better though with the appearance of Jaques. Nothing like a melancholy pessimist to get things moving. Acted up a storm, he did. Lifted the whole shebang for me, even more than the occasional bleat from the electronic sheep. (I’m not going to explain that). When Jacques delivered the ‘all the world’s a stage’ bit a little later on, my mouth may have involuntarily hung open just a little, and the full glass eyed effect dialed itself up a notch.

During intermission, I pull a rabbit out of my…um, sorry, I meant to say ‘cheese board out of my backpack’, and my cultural party chow down on some Brie, cheddar and crackers, grapes and mango. I hear murmurs of jealous admiration from around us, the envious whispers: ‘See that? They have grapes and cheese and everything!’

The rain holds out. I want to be a bit critical. To say, well, some of the performances were a little…weak. But what the hell would I know! I don’t want to be a snob critic. That’s not my job. I just want to be a Grade A sponge. I just want to enjoy soaking up a little bit o’ kultcha on a beautiful night in New York.

So I bid farewell to my companions and wander homeward, belly full of words and satisfaction. A protagonist caught ambling the baked pavement on a steamy summer’s night. Hitting my marks, learning my lines, pinballing off as many players on my stage as I possibly can.

CURTAIN


EPILOGUE
Now some folks poo-poo movies. It’s not as honest as theater, not a craft like theater, they say. I poo poo their poo poos, thanks to my lack of knowledge of either. But as it happens, I have recently had the joy of observing Mr. Denzel Washington in close quarters—from nine floors up actually. The top of his head can act up a storm!

Spike Lee is shooting a film in the building where I work, and so my colleagues and I have been leaning out of windows to catch the magic that is Hollywood. Let’s look at the call sheet for a moment.

Denzel ‘got the chops’ Washington stars, along with Jodie ’still got a baby face’ Foster. Spike Lee directs, while Clive Owen flaunts his range as the badie mastermind. It’s also rumored that Willem Defoe is on hand to eat the scenery, as he consistently proves himself capable of.

The plot itself is a classic, cat-and-mouse, bank heist, hostage film that will be fraught with drama and leave no time to duck out of the cinema to get more popcorn. And it’s being shot in my building! The whole neighborhood is overrun with grips and gaffers and gofers and people with headsets telling me where I can and can’t walk, plus where I can no longer eat lunch. Hello! Awesome!

So one day, I’m leaning out the window with David B. and we’re being all catty about the performance of Denzel. He’s acting out a scene below.

In this particular piece of action, he’s required to strut down the street and stop behind a police car. It’s so riveting, they shoot it three times. Oh, the machinations of movie making!

If he were acting this scene naked—a surefire way to increase box office sales by the way—we would probably see Denzel’s actor-ly flanks glistening with what can only be described as Oscar-winning sweat. Alas, he’s not naked and there is no evidence of actor-ly sweat. He’s wearing a bulletproof vest, and detective-type clothes. And face it—from nine floors up he’s pretty much a spot on the pavement anyway. I can’t see anything glisten from here.

And the fact that I’m watching this at all bothers me. I don’t know what’s wrong with me! I can’t tear myself away from something that’s about as engaging as watching paint dry.

Is it because it’s the office happy hour, and I’ve never been in a work situation where I could sit on a ninth floor windowsill drinking beer and watching a movie being shot? Maybe. It helps that David is watching this with me. I don’t feel like such a loser. And his oft-voiced disdain for Mr. Washington’s oeuvre amuses me greatly.

Between takes, we watch Denzel converse with Spike. By his arm actions, he must be showing Spike just how versatile he can be by demonstrating five different ways he can deliver the line “Freeze, dirtbag!” Well, that’s what it looks like.

I joke that Denzel plays a street-wise, washed up, alcoholic cop who’s trying to get back in the game and prove himself to his gruff but fair captain. Later, I read the plot summary online. Denzel plays “a tough, street-smart cop fighting for a promotion while trying to live down accusations of misconduct connected to his last case.” Hmm.

And this plot is why I can’t go to Café Bravo for lunch!

Toodle Noo. Here endeth the missive.

Noodle

“Wait a minute,” you cry. “Isn’t this supposed to be an epilogue? An epilogue comments on what happened in the play. Or you know, tells us what happened to all the people in it. This is just more of your rambling about nothing. And you ended in the middle of nowhere.”

True. But if I told you what happened to the protagonist, you wouldn’t need to read the Noos anymore, and I would lose my regular readers. All four of them. I just couldn’t figure out how to get Denzel in there…and how was I supposed to name drop? I mean, I was so close to Denzel Washington I could’ve spat on him! (And from nine floors up, that’s really your only option.)

©Janeen McCrae 2005




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