5 Questions returns with my girl, Roo. First, you should know Roo's my old school blog buddy for me. We first met back in February 2006 when I made the trip to NYC during the first week of being on in between jobs for the first time in my life. She's the warm, long-lost sister you wished you had (my first words in our first phone conversation were not "Hi, it's Jen" but, "so, whatahya wearing to this thing?" (our excursion out on the town), but has an acerbic wit if you don't watch it. And if that don't do you in, there's always The Hair, all 8 yards of it.
Things you should know: she's an artist in the truest sense of the word designing some of the most intricate costuming I've ever seen up close anyway:
...and if I were a betting person, I'd say her renderings of Mickey Mouse probably do not look like Mr. Potato Head the way mine do. She will stop at a drugstore and bring you Advil at your request prior to your first meeting at a bar because you have a headache brewing from a stressful ride down(seriously, we hadn't even met yet and I felt comfortable enough to send her on an errand), and will pretend not to be appalled as she is holding your boob* in her hand in the back of a taxicab.
Right -- um, let's get to know Roo!
1. If you could change one thing about yourself that you otherwise feel is beyond your control, what would it be? Why?
It would be nice to feel less anxious in unfamilar social settings. It's funny. There are situations where I feel free to be myself right from the get-go-- like going to a big party by myself. Maybe because then no one knows who I'm supposed to be. Or maybe because it's more like performing-- I find it easier to talk to a room of a hundred people I don't know, than to sit alone with one. I guess that's part of the reason I felt drawn to on-line journaling.
On the other hand, one of my favorite ways to connect with people in a large group is to go off with just a few of them for a smoke. The whole business of smoking makes it easier to be with new people. You get some conversational starters, including but not limited to: Do you have/need a light? Want one of mine? Man, it was hot in there! It's so nice out! They don't know what they're missing! You get some mild chemical stimulants, and a chance to focus on your breathing. And there's always something to do with your hands. In other words, my means of dealing with my social anxiety is slowly killing me. Yeah, I'd like to change that.
2. What movie or TV show do you find yourself quoting most? What situations bring about their use? Please share the quotes, as for I am a sucker for the movie and tv quotes.
Well, there are really too many to list-- I quote a lot. It's all part of letting my dork flag fly. Here's a sampling: 1."What-ever!!!" delivered in the style of Homestar Runner. I also quote Strong Bad extensively: "Burninating, the countryside, burninating the peasants!" "Arrowed!" "Crazy Go Nuts University: Where the future is YOU... probably." Embarassing fact: Talking like the characters of "Homestar Runner" is something Jeff and I do when we're alone.
2. "Excellent..." a la Montgomery Burns.
3. "Looks like I chose the wrong week to stop sniffing glue." --"Airplane!" This is often uttered in response to stressful situations at work.
4. I find it impossible to visit the Temple of Dendur at the Met without commenting that "I have a theory heiroglyphics are just an ancient comic strip about a character named Sphinxy." One point if you know what that's from. Only one, though, cuz it's easy. it's also one of the movies I can quote most extensively.
5. "A'whe-ere did that silly fish go?" fom "The Meaning of Life." As you might imagine, I find myself saying this when I'm looking for something (though I'm rarely actually looking for fish.)
6. "Ah! Red Snapper! Very tasty!" from "UHF." I often say this in response to things that are decidedly not tasty. I really like quoting Gedde Watanabe. Other favorites include: "You get NOTHING! You so STOO-PID!" and "No more yanky on the wanky-- the Donga need sleep." (Two points if you know the source of that last quote.)
7. "Share the lo-o-o-oaaaad!" This line was uttered by Samwise in "The Return of the King"-- accompanied by a super-zoomed-in shot of Sean Astin's lips. It's a very stupid moment in an otherwise enjoyable film. It makes me laugh. I could keep going with these, but I won't.
Working the Underbar like it's her job, unlike our perma-orange Oompah Loopah waitress who just seems annoyed that people are willing to shell out 9 bucks for a Bud Light.
3. If you could live in any era, in any country, which would you choose? Why?
[note: I tailored this question for Roo given her extensive background in costume design and also because she seems to be an old soul, I was curious as to what era she would like to live in. Based on her response, it appears I manged to fuck this up. Still, she managed to pull out an interesting answer]
Is it Roo imitating her art, or her art imitating Roo?
You know, I've thought about this a lot. I think there are other periods of history when my looks would have been more in vogue-- I like to imagine myself into portraits by John Singer Sargent, or Ingres, or Vigee Lebrun, or Mucha. But that's a pretty shallow reason for shifting my position in space-time. There are other times in history that I think must have been exhilarating to experience first-hand-- like the Renaissance in Italy, or 18th century France, the 'Thirties in America (yes, there's the great Depression to consider, but look at the flourishing of the arts during that time, and public works, and new social theories. And all those beautiful bias-cut gowns.) But whenever I try to really imagine what my life would have been like at any point previous to my own era, I'm confronted by the fact that as a woman, I'd have to go without most of the rights and opportunities I currently enjoy. So I'm brought right back to the here and now. I'd say that I'd like to live in the future, at some point after issues of gender, race, etc., have been resolved. But I'm afraid that by then there won't be any trees.
4. What is your biggest "I am. So busted" moment?
In the summer of 2001, I went to the backwoods of Vermont to work on a play for children. The producer/playwright hired a group of New Yorkers (the director, set designer, puppet/costume-designer me, and a few actors) to come out to stay in her hippie compound in the middle of nowhere. We taught theatre classes to campers aged seven to seventeen, who were also cast members in the show. The producer had strict rules for us to follow while we were in residence, in terms of drinking, smoking, language, and the like. In response, we grown-ups went out into the woods each evening, to drink, smoke, and talk shit. While I can't say the producer's rules were unreasonable, she was still a bit of a nut-job-- a very quiet, damaged woman, who each year mounted the same play for children, in which she illustrated through drama (and historical re-enactments of battles of the American Revolutionary War), how her ex-husband robbed her of her innocence and tossed her aside for a younger woman.
One day, she took one of the actors who came with us (a tall, handsome man in his mid-twenties) on a long walk through the woods behind her house. She had a dead son she'd buried on the side of a hill, and wanted to show him the grave. She didn't tell him the purpose of the trip before they set out. Here's the thing-- she had a lot of good reasons why she was the way she was. I felt sorry for her. I wanted to be kind. I knew I ought to be kind. But she was so strange it was hard to know how to do that. Before the New Yorkers left for Vermont, we each received a copy of a video of one of the previous productions of her work. She'd cast herself at fifty-five as herself when she was a teenager. She was terrible. "Waiting for Guffman"-level terrible. Watching her was both painful and hilarious.
One night, the camp grown-ups, which included some local Vermonters who were involved with the production, assembled in our spot in the woods. One of the locals brought his friend, a white girl with dreadlocks and a stoner voice, to join us. We started talking about the show and how terrible it was. Somehow, we got to comparing it with previous productions, and someone brought up the video. And I started imitating her performance. Judging by the reaction I got, I think my impression was pretty dead-on. Everyone was laughing hard. Eventually, I emerged from character long enough to become aware of another social current running through the group. People looked a little shocked, and guilty, like they were laughing despite themselves. The set designer sounded like he was trying to shush me, but couldn't stop giggling long enough to do it. The girl with dreads said good night, and walked off. As soon as she was out of earshot, the set designer turned to me (still laughing) and said, "That was her MOTHER you were talking about!" "What? No!" I felt sick. I've rarely felt more ashamed of myself than I did in that moment. I wouldn't mind getting a chance to un-do it.
5. What has been the best advice or helpful tip that you've ever been given? Who gave it to you?
When I was in fifth grade, I was sitting on the floor in front of the television, in my nightgown. My father was sitting in his chair, watching TV with me. I heard a car pulling in the driveway and started to run upstairs, to change into regular clothes. My father said, "Don't ever be ashamed of your body. Look at me-- this body's not beautiful, but it's what I've got. What am I gonna do? Hide in the house all day? "There's nothing wrong with being what you are." It was a strange thing for my father to say, but it's stuck with me. And I think it's affected me in positive ways-- I've never seen sex as dirty, I've never been afraid to ask my doctor questions, and even when I'm not entirely pleased with my shape, I'm pretty comfortable in my skin.
Kicker/Bonus: What is it, and feel free to elaborate using many paragraphs, makes me so unbefuckinglievably awesome?
What makes Jen (from Boston) so unbefuckinglieveably awesome? Well, I'll tell you...
1. You are warm, and funny, and kind, and you're enthusiastic about life. There's a recipe for total awesome-nity right there. But there's more:
2. You keep strong, loving ties with your family (even when you don't see eye-to-eye with them, or when you'd like to see eye-to-eye with them, but you're blinded by chickenlights.) And you make your friends feel like they've been invited into the fold.
3. You can make people laugh until their stomachs hurt, without being cruel or foul-minded.
4. You like hooking people up with the good stuff-- shopping, TV, pop-culture, skin care... and,
5. There's always a chance you might take off your bra in the back of a taxi.
*Okay, about #5 which was also noted in the intro I guess some explaining is warranted. Part of my outfit the first night (seen below) we hung out was a low cut top, lower than I normally wear anyway, and I decided to give "the girls" some help (inserted into another bra that manged to STAY ON, thankyouverymuch).
(well, it's just a good thing my bra isn't hanging out. See now that would be tacky.)
Of course, another girl Melissa sort of threw me under the bus (by the very fact that she said something akin to "chick, nice rack!" in front of my male friends) and this got me a few awkward moments throughout the evening. Anyway, at the end of the night as Roo and I were making out way back to the hotel in the cab, and in the manner of Christina Applegate at the end of The Sweetest Thing, turned to her and asked, "Yeah you guys, you want boobs? Well, here are your damn boobs!" as I plopped the chicken cutlet looking inserts into her hands.
Hey, I thought it was funny.