Saturday, March 6, 2010

How I Spent My Friday Night

Most of the Friday nights that I'm in L.A. are spent that way. Friday night is not a night that the man who loves me and I are likely to get together. He spends all week working and dealing with people-- people who are real people. I spend all week with the people in my head who are make-believe people--characters in my novel, and when Friday night rolls around---well, he and I are just not on the same page at all.
Which should be fine if I were rational about the whole thing. But I'm not.
In high school, Friday night was date night. In college, it was party night. When I worked in a factory all day Friday was cause for jubilation because it was the end of a miserable fucking week, and we all knew we had two whole days when we wouldn't be breathing in toxic paint and getting metal splinters in our fingers. People raved about how they were going to get crazy drunk that night or get laid or both. When I was a waitress, I hauled around 50 lb. trays of surf'n turf platters on Friday nights which meant I was too tired to care what I did after work. When I was an actress Friday nights were fabulous. Work and friends and fun rolled up into one tidy package with some applause thrown in as a bonus. Friday nights during the last twenty-some years of my marriage were dismal. A vigil waiting for sound of the garage door opening--the signal that my husband was finally home. So now, I'm finding it hard  to get out of that groove. I'm still waiting. For something....a date or a party or too much to drink.
I have a perfect view into two of my neighbors' kitchens as I come down the steps to my back door. Last night when I returned from walking my dogs, there were the neighbors' windows lit up like movie screens. In kitchen #1 was a couple. He had a big pot of something in his hands, and she was sprinkling salt into bowl at the kitchen island. She was smiling and talking, and he was nodding. Kitchen number two was a party. Six or eight people milling around the table and the bar, pulling things out of the fridge. More talking and smiling. And laughing. Which made me all sad and sorry for myself.
After I got done crying, I was stupid and crazy for a few more minutes and still fixated on all the fun in those two kitchens. So I tried to take a picture of the happy people because it was really beautiful---the light, the dishes, the food. There were even flowers on the counter in kitchen #2. But what I got was a photo of mostly darkness with a shadowy reflection of a woman holding a camera.

I took a pro-active stance against my Friday night doldrums some weeks ago. I signed up to be a volunteer usher at the Pasadena Playhouse, but they've closed their doors due to financial difficulties. So after my wallowing subsided last night (during which time I begged my dog Layla to please, please just turn into a person) I got on the Internet again. Pickings are slim for Friday night volunteer jobs. The Pasadena Humane Society isn't accepting applications until April--and I doubt there are things to do there on Friday night--unless dogs really do play poker.  Huntington Hospital (hospitals never close, right?) isn't accepting applications until March 15th. The Downtown Women's Center might have something, but I would have had to RSVP for today's orientation by March 1st. Nothing at the San Gabriel Playhouse. Union Station Homeless Services prepares only breakfast and lunch. I'm going to try some of the smaller theaters. But it's pretty clear that I need to keep applying for writers' residencies. Staying home for weeks at a time is likely to make me try to pull a William Wegman. And a person can't go around dressing up their dogs unless they have some talent as a photographer.

Photo Credit:  
This is a photographer with talent.


K. said...

You should call me! When I'm in town I spend Friday nights wandering around this big house trying to avoid going to the gym. And also wishing for some fun/fabulous event.

stephanie said...

I spend my time during the week inside my head and when it comes time to relate to real people again, I sometimes forget how to do it. When my husband gets home, he wants to be quiet and not talk to anyone because he teaches all day. Maybe someday all of us will be on the same page. If you're ever in AZ on a Friday night and want a drink, call me. For reals.