Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nomadic Dwelling Number 1- The Wardrobe Supervisor

As of noon on this 31st of July (and what I alwasys remember as the birthday of Harry Potter and my late cat), my lease on W Franklin Ave in Minneapolis, MN, comes to an end. I am officially address-less. On paper, I suppose I look like a flake, save for the paycheck that comes in bi-weekly. I'm 23, with little savings, and no home to speak of. But in spite of this, I have a direction, and am lucky enough to have support from friends and family in many states and another country to help me go on my nomadic journey these next 3.5 months.

My first stop is with my friend Carrie. She lives in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. Her abode is cozy, a single-bedroom condo unit. She has two cats, Snoop and Lucy. Snoop is a very fun, special boy whilst Lucy is very shy. I sleep on the couch, with the blue curtains blocking out sunlight.

It is coincidental that my first host, Carrie, happens to be a wardrobe supervisor at the Guthrie Theater. I say this because of what I am about to share...

I woke up on my second morning in this space with a goal- to start my laundry. The novelty of FREE HIGH EFFICIENCY WASHER AND DRYER should be motivation enough for me to get my butt in gear. That, and the fact that if I do my laundry, I might actually be able to consolidate the number of bags I have... the less the better...

But, oh, no. David had to finally admit to himself that he is very much like those "oragnism" versions of human beings in the film "Wally," where, something like a thousand years into the future, humans are just overweight cushion dwellers who just have their minds occupied all day with books, games, TV, what have you.

It's interesting. That pursuit of the mind and the pursuit of what is front of us. I really wish, as I stated a few weeks ago, to somehow get better at maintaining the quality of my possessions and how I spend my time. But I can't pretend or aim to be a guru when I'm a 23-year-old, just graduated fellow. I'd rather sit around and watch the YouTube or read a book or sleep... Stop it! Stop it! I intend to say to myself. You get enough of that all the time. But it's so much easier, and perhaps safer, to keep learning knowledge than taking control of what is in front of me.

Right here, on this blog post, I am going to admit something. It is what I think is right in order to move forward- I hoard, I like to sleep, and I hate doing household chores. I am, in spite of my success with jobs and school work and intellectual pusuits, a lazy fellow in the home.

There's one load in the washer at the moment. And I cannot be so lazy as to congratulate myself when it is dry to place it on the couch later and decide, "Well, as a treat, you'll fold it tonight when you get back." How about my bigger accomplishment is to complete the task in one swoop?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

5-Year High School Reunion

Tonight, July 13, 2013, the alumni association at Bishop Stang is hosting my class of 2008's reunion. I can't attend, since that is located 1,500 miles away and I am committed to performing in Minnesota eight times a week.

I can't help but feel disappointed I am not there tonight. In spite of my high school friend connections dropping more often than sustaining, and my open sexuality being the opposite of the Catholic Church's teaching, and my lack of knowledge for who may or may not be attending, I really want to reminisce.

At the time of my graduation, I left on excellent terms with the school. However, I thought that I was so over that time in my life and ready to show the world that I could be an awesome, sexy gay man rather than a dweeby, tense, but very well-spoken and well-meaning teenager who'd never been kissed (until graduation!). The thing is... I didn't just stay closeted. I committed to the church's preference that a gay person be celibate without ever labeling myself as gay.

In high school, I never held hands with anyone, never flirted with anyone, never winked, never drank, never smoked (I did cuss, though!). I was a "leader" of the community; assigned several times to be an organizer/leader of major retreats as I became more of an upperclassman. Younger students would tell me that some teachers apparently called me "holy," and encouraged students to follow my example. I don't know how many teachers may or may not have done this, or why. But I do know that at the time, such comments made me feel quite nervous that I was a hypocrite. Maybe I was. But I was open with the fact that I didn't date anyone. In hindsight, I was likely respected for my awareness of my sexuality.

I constantly lived in fear that I would be called out as gay. I remember being nervous that my skinny arms or a curve in my hips as I walked might give me away. Every moment consumed me with self-doubt and attention, and a fear that I'd be disliked. The question of my sexuality was raised only once by fellow drama club member, Lizz (sic, however I don't think she spells it that way any more). She was driving me back to school from a group gathering (might have been Applebees or Taco Bell!), and she suddenly asked, "Do you like guys?" I paused and lied, "No," very carefully. She responded that she wouldn't care if I did, nor would any of our other friends. That may have been true, but I wasn't sure about the more broad consequences.

Time has made me a little braver. Time has made me a little more able to give the benefit of a doubt. Sometimes to a fault.

As I rode the bus home last night, I realized I was wearing my class shirt (given us in 2004 at Orientation! 9 years of top-notch quality ownership!). I snapped a photo of myself.

Here I am. 5 years older and 5 years wiser and 5 years more in search than ever before.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Minnesota Saints at Midway Field

I certainly am not the first or last person to say that as my time being a full-time resident of a city draws ever closer to its end, I am realizing there are a great many things I never actually did!

In order to not stress myself out over the myriad of undone things, I am not making a list with which to check off as the weeks go by. However, I am making an effort to take advantage of something on one of my days off each week.

Luckily, a perk of being in a long-running show is that sponsors sometimes give you free things. For me, that came in the form of complimentary tickets to the local Minor League Baseball Team, the Saints.

I was given four on Saturday for the Sunday afternoon game. Admittedly, it was impossible to get the other three claimed, but thankfully one of them was used! My former classmate Steven Lee Johnson (currently appearing in a great production of Clybourne Park at the Guthrie Theater) took the bait. Two theatre guys watching baseball. It was refreshing. SPF was needed (and maybe I didn't use enough!).

It is exciting to embrace those moments of athletic triumph and hope for the best with a group of other people. It made me realize that just gathering together to hope for the best may be one of the prime reasons people attend sporting events. At least in my section, not one person was using their mobile phone throughout the game, except for the fleeting time check or camera usage. Present and watchful was this audience. I felt like I was alive in the 90s again, when so much of one's life was focused on what was in front of one's face.

Just had to put it down.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Game Plan for Operation Quiet

Operation Quiet is beginning to sizzle in development ever so slightly, comrades.

For your entertainment, here is what I am proposing for my last 25 days in my apartment:
  • Leave the laptop in another room of the house. When I go to bed, if I can't sleep, I shall read a book or count sheep. I remember when I was a little boy, and those sleepless night required I do just that. The television was not allowed to be on after a certain hour, and the only computer heavily sat upon the desk in the office down the hallway.
  • My alarm clock is now my cell phone, so putting the cell phone in another room of the house seems impractical, yes? Thus! The phone shall remain on the other side of the bedroom during the night, waiting to alarm me at some hour the next day.
  • Upon waking up in the morning, 30 minutes will be spent either walking outside or reading a book on my back porch. This shall be done before I even think about checking my email or other social media. I may be a busy fellow in near-constant communication with others, but if communication has already waited through my sleep, another half hour isn't too shabby.
  • Utilizing one of the many tools on the iPhone for the good of my life, the TIMER shall allot 45 minutes each morning to the Internet research usage for pleasure.
  • I shall then pack and consolidate or go somewhere to write. Without the aid of the Internet's distractions.
Wish me luck! More changes shall be implemented as time goes by. You shall be kept in the know.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 1: Uncharged Phone

Me at the monument dedicated to Elisabeth,
Empress of Austria/Queen of Hungary, in
Budapest on October 26, 2011.
There's a scene in the musical Elisabeth called "Rastlose Jahre," meaning "Restless Years." This song, as songs so wonderfully can do, quickly jumps through the tortured empress' existential search for herself through travel. Whether she figured it out is debatable...

I feel rather similar. Whenever I have moved or traveled, the amount of growth in my sense of self (for the worse or better) is exponential. Our examination of relation with the other can reveal so much of what we do and do not know. But I want this search to be productive and informative. As I learned from a genius today, when we fail or slip up, we should do it so well that we learn something from it, not hit another dead end...

This Fall, I am traveling to Europe for 8 weeks. Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, Brindisi, Rome, Brussels, and London. The latter will be a bit of a homecoming. Initially, I was going to "run away" to New Zealand for a year on the working holiday visa. But when I took a step back, I realized my search for myself in that way would be running away, I decided to change my course of action. I want to live a life of service and discovery, and hiding was going to stump that growth...

***

American Independence Day 2013, I left my iPhone charger in my dressing room, realizing this whilst on the bus ride home at 11:30pm. My next performance would not be until the next night at 8:00pm. I could have knocked on my roommate's door and borrowed his charger that night, but I took advantage of the semi-forced respite from constant technological communication.

Whenever caught in such a situation, I am reminded of two things. Firstly- that most of human history has seen the creature of habit able to let go of communication with through the ether when driving their cars or sitting in their buggie, so I might as well sink into that not-yet-dead quality of the human condition and embrace it. Secondly, that one of the most revelatory times in my life was during my semester abroad in London, where I had a "dinosaur" phone I used a handful times (with pixelated wallpapers!) and not-so-frequent access to WiFi.

As an acting student, I was taught to listen to my fellow actors' energies, the audiences' responses, and the words of the play. By embracing the "givens" (that which is "obvious"), I would learn a lot more about the story telling than if I tried to barge in and act upon too many pre-conceived notions.

I liken the smartphone habit that many of us in the first world have to those pre-conceived notions getting in the way of the "givens." As I look around my bedroom, I realize that I should clean it more often, and maybe sweep the kitchen twice a week instead of every fortnight. When I ask myself why none of these maintenance tasks seem to ever get done, I honestly answer, "Because you're spending your home time watching videos on YouTube and sleeping, and Skyping." I don't think I am the only person who walks into their house after work and immediately throws things to the side in order to turn the computer on. I have 25 days left on my lease for an apartment that has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a back-porch, large kitchen, library, living room, dining room.... You get the point- I live in a huge apartment, yet most of my time there is spent in my bedroom or in the kitchen, traveling a total distance of 20 feet. I do not ever actually enjoy that space, utilize it.

So I wonder what I am doing with my time and my life. As I prepare to move out and be nomadic from August 1-November 15, I am once again struck by how many papers and books and receipts and flyers I so unnecessarily hold onto. I am so grateful that I am moving, it is giving me a literal moment to wake up and smell the roses and to restructure for myself what is important to hold onto and what is not.

I want to wake up in the mornings and hear the silence of my home. To give my mind some time to consider the body it lives in and the life it lives before I turn on the cellphone and check my emails and my texts and my Facebook and my Twitter and favorite YouTube channel.

Be thoughtful. Be respectful. Be receptive.
I want to be real.

***

"We should absorb the music of all things inside us, fuse it to a unity inside us. We should bend over the heart of the Earth and listen to its beat."