Friday, November 9, 2012

Actor's Nightmare in Margaritaville

I've been dragging around Margaritaville recently feeling as though someone has stolen my tequila and taken an ax to my blender. Stuck in some kind of negativity hangover, I haven't had much luck at clearing my head. But my fiesta of funk might be leading me somewhere. I'm so fucking bored, I said to myself last night, what I need is a week of theatre-going in New York--like the old days. Of course there's no chance of my getting away now that my mom lives with me. The self-pity danced me around a bit, and then the thought occurred to me: I'm in the wrong play.

I am living the classic actor's nightmare. If you've ever been on stage, you probably know what I mean. It's the week before the show opens or maybe the first week of the run, and you wake panting like a racehorse because in your dream where you're waiting to go on as one of the witches in "MacBeth," you see through an opening in the scenery that your fellow actors are in the deep south, drawling out Tennessee Williams lines on a vine choked veranda. That desolate heath that you're dressed for was last week's play. Or maybe the play is right, and you're there in some overstuffed drawing room with your frilly cuffs, your accent just right, the lynchpin dramatic moment about to occur when the book shelves topple and the lights crash down from above splintering at your feet.

I see life's problems as something meant to be solved. I've raised children, managed a chaotic household, kept the home fires burning behind a husband with a high-powered career. A child with a lisp? Speech therapy. Crooked teeth? Orthodonture. Entertain the new partner? Sure. Roof leaking? Get it fixed. While it would be a ridiculous revision of history to say I managed all of these things gracefully, I did them. I fixed what needed to be fixed, did what needed to be done or at least tried my damnedest, perhaps going wrong (sometimes repeatedly) before choosing a solution that provided at least some relief.

So here I am in the fix-it play, chauffeuring my mother from one specialist to another. Googling into the wee hours to ascertain if it's one of her medications that makes her groan constantly, of if there's a diet to improve circulation or prevent flatulence. I've gotten her new shoes, new hearing aids, a cane, a this, and a that. But there's no fixing what she's got. She's old. She's not going to wake up tomorrow and be 70 again. Or even 80. I am in the wrong play.

And worse yet, there is no play. No script. No stage directions. It's improv. All improv. All the time. With a sad ending. I suck at that.


janzi said...

Yes its weird writing to someone you dont know on matters you read about. However I think its quite justified you getting the feeling that you are in the wrong play!Moving your ma to be with you, whilst really amazing at the highest level, is always going to be a real drain on your resources, both financial and emotional. We had my husband's parents living next door to us for several years. At the beginning they were independent and didn't really need much of our time. John went and sat with them each evening to go through the days news.. at least what they counted as news... then George got parkinsons, and Ivy got dementia... so that was a whole new ball game. I spend many many hours with them in their last five years, and when it was all over, we were both drained and left high and dry inside ourselves. We had not realised the effort it had cost whilst we were still dealing with all the drama... so I really do empathise with you and know where you are coming from.. Perhaps you could get a kind neighbour to keep an eye on your mother for an evening out without her... you will have to do something like that or you will go mad I am sure..!!!!. I do hope there is a nice neighbour who will help once in a while, and I am sending you big hugs from across the pond in the meantime!!!

Ms. Moon said...

You have given me new perspective to ponder. Perhaps, maybe...I am in the wrong play too! And THERE IS NO SCRIPT!

Deb said...

My mum is going blind. Everyday I hear about how much worse her eyes are than they were yesterday. She wants to see the eye doctor, believes he can fix her eyes. The doctor can't. She's going blind and can't accept that fact. She also has atrial fib which has been kicking her ass. She asked why she has it, I answered, because your heart is old. It's sad but true and still she rails against the truth.

I wonder if I will be any different. It is hard though.