Wow. Just – Wow.

Yesterday, March 30, 2012, was a momentous day.  SAG and AFTRA became one union – SAG-AFTRA.  This is exciting for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it was an overwhelming victory – over 80% of the members of each union voted yes.  The power this new union will have on the behalf of its members is immeasurable.  I couldn’t be happier for the members, the electeds, and of course, the staff, all of whom worked and prayed for this for many years.

Oh, and I went back on Facebook.

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Shaken, Not Stirred

I had an MRI Monday.  Not my first, but by far my worst.  When I arrived, they told me that as the doctor had ordered two studies, I would be in the machine for at least forty minutes.  Okay…but then I find I will be posed in the position that is quite possibly the most painful they could have chosen.  And it took an hour.

Have you ever had an MRI?  You’re on a narrow table, and depending on what part of you they’re studying, you’re inserted partially or fully into a large (but not that large) tube.  During the test, there are loud banging, knocking and buzzing sounds, easily heard over the headphones they offer (playing your choice of music, which you can’t hear).  You can’t move, and at least in my case, your shoulders are pressing on the sides of the tube, leading to numbness in your arms and hands. 

I freaked.  While I’m not good with small enclosed spaces, I’ve managed MRIs before with only minimal distress.  However, this time, I literally freaked.  Now, while you’re holding an emergency button, don’t bother using it.  I did, and the tech came in and basically bullied me into finishing the test.  That’s what I get for being a rule-follower.

Between the pain, and the numbness, and the noise, and the behavior of the tech, I was completely shaken up.  And not like a martini, though perhaps one would have helped.

When I finally escaped, I was not only shaken but shaking.  It lasted for a while… and I’m still angry at the lack of concern shown by the techs.  At home,  I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t relax at all… thank God for the cats!

And no, I didn’t have that martini.  I didn’t do anything but sit on the couch and tremble, until the purring calmed me enough to lay down. 

I’m not sure why this happened, and why I still feel the stress.  I’m not sure why I’m writing about it either, except I really like the title.  It’s not like I have any profound comment to make about the experience.  It sucked.

Oh, and here’s a photo of the martini I wish I had had…vodka, not gin.

Facebreak

I’m at the beginning of the second week of my Facebreak, one of the many decisions I’ve been making lately.  And it’s been…interesting.   I must admit, I did finally sign up for Twitter, but that’s mainly for this blog.  What I noticed at first is that I felt totally disconnected from my friends, as so many of them almost exclusively communicate through Facebook.  I also noticed that I missed that forum – I would have a funny thought, or see an amusing photo, and want to share it.  But I got over that part pretty quickly.

What I haven’t yet gotten over is how little I am hearing from friends from whom I heard regularly on Facebook.  This is not meant to be a negative comment on them, but just another indicator of how involved in that particular social medium we have all become.  But I am fighting a feeling of rejection – as though this ‘radio silence’ is saying something negative about how my friends feel about me.  I could email people, of course,  or even call, and they could do the same.  But there’s something so much more “serious” about sending an email/picking up the phone than sending a Facebook message, and certainly more so than writing on someone’s wall.

(By the way, remember when people started to email rather than call?  and now, when they text rather than either?  It’s all good – change is inevitable – and at least we also have Facebook!)

Yes, I’ll be back on Facebook…probably sooner rather than later.  But this break has been one of my better decisions lately, even if it does have me struggling with some of my personal demons.

However, National Unplug Day?  Not a freaking chance.

Letting Go, Letting Go, Letting Go Now

Right now, I hate American Airlines. If you follow me on Twitter, you can find out the details (@lolaslippers). In any case, I had a big fight with the counter agent, during which I was very pleased I replaced the phrase “fucking stupid” with “freaking stupid” each time I needed it. Which, for those who are keeping score, was seven. But now, as I relax in the Admiral’s Club (I got a free pass!) with a glass of wine, I am trying to let go.

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I mean, really, from this little children don’t die. It’s not like we’re curing cancer. It’s not even the worst counter experience I ever had. That would be the time, in the early era of e-tickets, that Northwest tried to make me buy a whole new ticket for my return because I had lost my boarding pass from the outgoing flight. No lie. I can’t make this shit up. By the way, if you are still keeping score, they got eight “fucking stupids” and I got on the plane without paying again.

After dealing with the hideously stupid counter agent – and his supervisor – I went outside to cool off. Literally. It was steamy hot in the terminal, but lovely crisp fall weather outside. Yes, I know, it’s March. You complain to Mother Nature.

And I did some thinking.

I decided I am going to let go. I can only be in charge of so much, and right now, being in charge of me is all I can handle. So, people, be stupid, be annoying, try to get in my way… I am going to keep on keeping on. But watch out – you might just get stepped on.

One Union

I am sitting in the lobby at Museum Square, which will hopefully soon house SAG-AFTRA. We’ve just finished some meetings with English-speaking unions from around the world, which demonstrated, once again, a few things I have come to understand since I started participating in this process years ago.

First, actors are workers. They deserve the same protections that all workers do, and no-one should be a starving artist. That romantic myth continues to do damage even today.

Second, we’re not that different. While each union has its own unique challenges, at bottom, we are all here because we are fierce, though not always fearless, advocates. This is globalization at its very best.

Third, as I’ve said before, I am extraordinarily lucky. Not only do I get to do important, creative work, I get to do it in the company of smart, caring, committed, and yes, fierce, people.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

Clearly, I’m Spoiled

So, I am in Los Angeles on business, and I am staying at Hotel Hell, otherwise known as where Whitney Houston died, otherwise known as the Beverly Hilton. The first part of the week, I was at my beloved Renaissance Hollywood, but the organizers of the meetings I am attending the  latter part of this week chose Hotel Hell, so I moved.

Why is it Hotel Hell? Well, while it is in Beverly Hills, it’s not like you get to SEE any of Beverly Hills unless you rent a car, drive off campus (because the hotel looks more like a community college campus than a luxury property), and see whatever it is you think is worth seeing in Beverly Hills. You want to eat? At the hotel. You want to drink? At the hotel. You want to relax? Not at this hotel.

The room – tiny. The bathroom – tiny. The closet – tiny. The bureau – tiny.

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They do have great pillows, I must admit, and I’m a sucker for their Porthault robes.  Also, I have a bunch of friends staying here too, many of whom I only get to see once a year at these meetings, and after all, getting to travel to Los Angeles on business doesn’t suck.

But I would still rather be at the Renaissance.

Did You Mean Me? Really?

This is going to sound sad and probably weird, but I am still surprised that anyone wants to socialize with me. I often feel like my friends are (consciously or unconsciously) doing me a favor by spending time with me. Intellectually, I know – well, I tell myself – that this isn’t true, but the outsider years have never really let me go.

This is why I almost never turn down an invitation, resulting in overscheduling, exhaustion, and not one iota less of the underlying insecurity that made me accept in the first place. As much as I enjoy my time with me, and as I’ve said before, how much I prefer to be single, there’s a societal stigma to being home alone on Saturday night. Or any night.

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So I say yes – more than I should – simply because I am asked. And in fact, if I’m not asked, I’ll ask. And be surprised, grateful, and a little suspicious if you say yes.

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