For this I missed Gray's Anatomy?!
You betcha. And it was worth it!
A friend of mine was staging a reading of his latest play. I didn't know what to expect because I only know him as the father of one of WeeMonkeyGurl's school mates. He's very funny, affable, goofy; I only found out last year that he's an actor. Some may recognize him from various roles in Star Trek TNG. This is my favorite costume. I'd so do that machine.
Anyhoo, his wife runs a high-end snooty knitting boutique (SKB, rather than LYS). Although we've known them for three years, at school functions and the like, she rarely deigns to even speak to me. Which is okay with me, since I'm sure I have nothing in common with her. The SKB recently underwent some remodeling, including the integration of items from their New York store, and Brian and his wife decided to integrate other passions with the store.
On the drive to the store(roughly 2.5 miles), I encountered impassable traffic - it took me over half an hour. Since I had never been to the SKB, I wasn't exactly sure where it was located. Of course, it was where there is NO street parking to be had. I ended up parking where I should/could have gotten a ticket, and I was questioning, would it be worth it? I was missing my WeHo SnB group, Gray's Anatomy, and dinner. At this point, I thought the function would include some snooty knitters, some friends of Brian's, maybe some other parents from the school. Yet I was so friggin nervous and intimidated. Thank the gods I had no idea who would actually be there!
I finally decided, "sometimes ya gotta say, what the frick" and went in. Brian's wife was there, and did not even acknowledge me (even though there was only one other person in the store), but I expected that. I wandered a bit, checking out the stock, and finally sucked it up and went to sit at the staging area. It would have been a bit obvious if I'd sat in one of the outlying chairs, so I plunked myself down on the naugahyde couch, front and center, and pretended like I belonged there. My heart was beating in my throat. Why do these people intimidate me? I'll tell you why - because I'm an over-educated prolific reader who can never remember the names of the authors or their works. Because the english language and I have a love/hate relationship - I love to read, but cannot express myself in words. Particularly in spoken words. I am the simpleton of small talk, the imbecile of interaction, the nitwit, the social outcast, the dumbell, the nitwit, the simpleton, the schmuck. I will invariably say the wrong thing to the wrong person at exactly the wrong time.
(my pathetic attempt at subterfuge - a stealth shot of le beau monde.)
And yet, there I was, at the snootiest SKB surrounded by the literati, if not, glitteratti. There were playwrights; and actors, and their requisite agents and managers; there were models and designers and all sorts of "Industry" people. Brian's wife actually sat down next to me and asked, "So how do you know Brian?" Unintentionally, I think I gave her a trenchant look and said, "From School. I'm WMG's mother."
BABY. She had just asked me, what, a month ago? to provide her with a copy of the West Side Story production at School camp! The year before, we drove her daughter to School Camp because there was no bus (and she clearly was too busy). She quickly mumbled something and turned her attention to more important people (for which I was glad).
I did not know Brian is a writer. Actually, I didn't know he was as deep as he is. Turns out there are a lot of things I did not know about him, but was pleased as punch to find out. The play he wrote was insightful; at various times amusing, entertaining, piercing, and compelling. Henry (it's title comes from the idea of Henry the 8th and the inspiration was Brian's father and his four wives), is a story about a family coming to terms with itself and finally dealing with the long-ago death of a son, the current senility of the father, and relinquishing of responsibility by the long-suffering mother. The lead ("Hal") was read by Brian, and he was amazing. Passionate and simmering, he captured the essence of being an adult child to aging parents. The conflict in the reversal of roles with the need for approval. The people that played Hal's parents were outstanding. They were prototypical 80-something middle americans. I could almost smell the bread baking. The third character was somewhat superfluous, but made for some interfusion of levity and mirth. Truthfully, I think it was added with a specific actor in mind.
The play broke between the first and second acts for 10 minutes. I realized, if I hurried, I could make it home in time to catch most of Gray's Anatomy. But despite myself, I was really enjoying the event. I wanted to see what happened in the play, but also to continue to be part of this intimate salon. Particularly afterward, when the playwright took questions and opinions from the audience. When I left, I felt kinda high; like I confronted some fears and came out unscathed. I also felt as though I participated in (and maybe even contributed to) something I haven't experienced since I was in college. I liked it a lot, and I'll do it again.
Even if it means missing Gray's Anatomy.