I am sitting in Beechwood, my favorite cafe, where I eat every day. I have for years. The waiters and baristas and managers have become my friends. It's one of the reasons I love Jersey City. It's home.Restaurants have always felt like home to me. Eating in them, working in them-although truth be told... I am a really bad waitress.Just a really good caterer. I was always in the weeds and got by with charm. Anyone who thinks waitering is easy should be required to work a saturday shift with major call-outs, and a rainstorm. It's also the best way in the world to buld cameraderie and learn about people. When I was hit by a car, right after my mom died, I was so attached to the people I worked with, my doctor thought I should keep the job for "social reasons." I could not disagree. Glorious Food was my second family. It was a place where I learned to earn a paycheck, be nice to demanding bosses, appreciate food, and just be a grown up. I was home.
When I was growing up, my mom hated cooking every day.We lived really far from a grocery store and my dad worked insanely long hours.At 4, I remember telling her I didn't like the boeuf bourgignon she had obviously slaved over. She was so mad. Well. I remember a lot of restaurants-especially Foster's, near my Dad's office after that. In retrospect, it is a place we just spent a lot of time talking-and my parents always talked about topics-politics,sports,art.....law.
Meg and I obviously had no problems joining in. Mom saw no reason for kid food. Just no reason. And after Foster's, there was this absolutely beautiful Chinese restaurant called Victoria Peak. It was Colonial Chinese-swags of red velvet, big carved chairs that looked like thrones. I remember mom whispering to me that "Bette Davis" son was sitting next to me once. Which of course neant so much to me at-4. And every Chinese meal started with soup. I loved it. Soup. And I wanted Hot & Sour. Not wonton-with it's doughy dumplings and scallions and chicken broth. I wanted the other. The first time I ordered-my mother and father tried to talk me out of it. I wouldn't budge. I had tasted my father's-which he ordered with extra vinegar. And which I demanded. It was different. And looking around, I had a feeling that I can identify now. I felt grown up. I felt like there was stuff I didn't know yet, but wanted to. And food still does that for me. I feel warm, and safe, and accepted, and adventurous all at once. It is where family is-even if family is far away. Or it can be adventure. Or the future. Or for me. Memory.
So -today, Sam , the manager of Beechwood, asked me where I tried Korean food. It was in Koreatown in NYC. Near my parents' apartment when my mom was really sick and my dad wanted a breather. We walked in and looked at a menu that we couldn't read. We talked to a waitress that was very busy and looked really puzzled at a bunch of little kimchis and radishes. we tried to not talk about mom and we tried to have fun and we tried to forget that she wasn't there.
And that's a lot for today.......
Friday, July 16, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Hi. I'm back. And everything is going as well as can be expected-except for a couple of hiccups. I lost my blog. Well-Not really-But, I could not figure out how to log in because enough time has passed that, well , I forgot. At least I can laugh now. I consider that progress. I turned 36. And I have been focused on rest and recuperation-for the first time since I got hurt 5 years ago. I decided that,dammit, -I am going to get well. And I really feel a difference. And-drumroll , please, I am consciously allowing myself to look silly by asking questions. Why?Why?Why? Because I need the brain to work. And I have come to realize people are going to understand or not. And I am going to have to deal. And for someone as driven as myself-this is haaaaaaaard. I resent not being able to run the 12 miles I did in field hockey. I resent not being able to keep up the dancing I need to for a show that I could do. I resent not being able to WAITRESS. I LOVED waitressing. I hate being forced to give up any aspect of my life because I am not able to. It's demoralizing.And correcting myself-well-it's EMBARRASSING. Do I really want other people seeing my mistakes? No. But I need to do it in order to correct. Sigh. Still onward.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
In order to be an actor, you need to be fearless. Emotionally fearless. You need to be so open to people and available to other people's lives and emotions and experiences that you can feel almost psychic. It is a humbling experience. I walk around feeling like a raw nerve myself, and yet I know I need the resilience to pick myself up and try again. And I have to say-this week is a good, good week. I had lunch with my friend Mia-and we were talking about our respective careers. And she was generous enough to say "what do you need?" I have learned that the people who are our angels are not necessarily the ones we expect to be our angels, they are not necessarily the people we expect to care. And on the flip side, some of the people we wish and hope with all our heart just are not the ones that are all they should be. I am an actor with a head injury, and I know I can lead a really good life-and I feel blessed. I remember my friends at Kessler and for some reason they drive me. Because I have their chance. The chance they don't get to have a beautiful life. I am not going to squander my beautiful, creative rich life I was forced to put on hold. So there. I left Nico, but I am talking to another coach. We'll see.