A List of Six Instances from The Past Few Days of My Life

5 Jul

Sometimes, at the end of a long day when I’m too tired to journal everything out by hand, I make lists of things that have happened to me. It’s faster, easier, and usually gets the job done. Here is my list for the past few days.

1. I may or may not have a super power. It is the ability to sing and dance while thinking of something completely unrelated and different. Sometimes, my brain has a hiccup or something, and I forget the choreography and words of the song that I’ve performed FIVE MILLION TIMES BEFORE, and yet my body and mouth still produce the needed notes and moves. I feel my heart drop out of my stomach because I LITERALLY could not tell you the next word or the next move… and yet, my body and some other part of my brain kicks in, and there I am, perfectly singing gibberish and flailing my body around in hopes of entertaining the fat couple from New Hampshire who are each enjoying their own personal extra large La Rosa’s pizza.

2. Dialects are sometimes involuntary. Performing an “American Country!” show to large sweaty smelly Americans on the 4th of July will result in speaking in a southern dialect for the duration of the day, even when you’re not on stage, even when you’re answering the phone to speak with your Aunt, even when you’re driving through downtown Cincinnati on your way to go see some fire works and a large group of twenty-something African American gentlemen decide it would be exceedingly humorous to throw burning fireworks into the street at passing cars: “SWEET HOME ALABAMA, WE’RE ALL GONNA DAAA, ‘YALL!”

3. The 4th of July is probably not the best holiday to try to be a “Real Person.” Last year, I spent the entire 4th of July day drinking and gorging myself on burgers, lays, and potato salad. I played volley ball in a tiny slanted front yard with one of my best friends from college, (both of us a little self conscious to be wearing short shorts and bikini tops because of the aforementioned burgers and potato salad.) I scraped up my ribs by diving belly first down a make-shift slip n slide made out of a blue tarp, a rusty sprinkler, and assisted by a bottle of the neighbors’ Great Value canola oil. I also witnessed a few guys bong beers off of the roof of a house through a garden hose.

Yet, now that I am a graduate, and I am on the quest to become a “Real Person,” I realize that those activities are probably not acceptable for me to partake in anymore. And so, for THIS 4th of July, I planned to spend my time doing grown up things. I woke up on time, completely sober and healthy and ready for my day. I went to work. I decided I would like to partake in some wholesome, all-American fun after my day of hard labor, and so Dallas, Ryan (Dallas’ boyfriend), DJ, Taylor (the youngest girl of our cast, fresh out of high school), and I decided to see some fire works. We drove to downtown Cincinnati. We may or may not have witnessed a drive by shooting. I almost got my car blown up by the previously mentioned African American gentlemen jokesters with fireworks. We arrived at the square, ready to see some fireworks, only to realize that we had missed them… and instead, a group of African American rogue reggae gypsies were performing something that they liked to call “music.” We were honestly the only white people there. And not only were we the only white people there, but three of the five of us were obviously gay, and two of them were wearing matching American flag tank tops. We abandoned the firework idea. Taylor insisted that we take some pictures with the “flying pig” statues, so we have a miniature photo shoot. (Dallas: TAYLOR! ENOUGH PICTURES! This isn’t MySpace anymore!) We start to head back to the car. But first, we stop at an “Adult Superstore,” with encouragement and leadership brought to you by none other than Dallas. BUT! Classic me, I forget my wallet in the car, and without my ID I’m not allowed into the “back” of the establishment. (Maybe this was for the best?) I spend my time examining many bold and interesting wardrobe selections and accessories, while Dallas, Ryan, DJ, and Taylor have the pleasure of listening to an excruciatingly vivid explanation of a certain “product” by the store employee: (“You see, this piece here is PERFECT for… And if you’re interested, we also have another model that is much better suited for… if you’ll follow me, it’s just right over here…”) After the adult superstore, we finally make it back home. Alive. I drink a beer. We order pizza. I drink another beer. The pizza arrives. I eat the pizza. I find a huge plastic Marshall’s bag in the corner of the kitchen. I cut a few holes in it, and wear it like an old school ghost costume. (Note: I’m a lightweight). I let Ryan pour me a glass of his Long Island Iced Tea mix. We set off some fireworks in the ally behind Dallas and DJ’s house. One of the fireworks reads: “Caution. Use ONLY with adult supervision. This firework shoots off flaming balls!” I read this out loud to the group and giggle at the term, “flaming balls.” Dallas grabs the firework and lights it. It explodes, and what do you know!!?!?!?! It shoots off flaming balls. One of the flaming balls lands in the huge oak tree that hangs over their roof. At this point, I realize I’m still wearing the Marshall’s bag. Dallas screams and runs into the house. Ryan starts dancing around and chanting, ” Please go out! Please go out! Please go out!” I sip my scotch glass filled with the mediocre pre-mixed Long Island Iced Tea and start singing a blazing rendition of “Here’s to the Ladies Who Lunch.” Taylor is taking pictures of herself holding a sparkler. DJ, who doesn’t drink for personal reasons, simply stands and takes in the sight of the ball of fire in the tree, his drunk best friend running and screaming into the house, Ryan chanting, and me singing Sondheim in a Marshall’s bag. The flaming ball burns out in a matter of seconds. Ryan and Taylor cheer. Dallas explodes out of the house with perfect timing, carrying a Britta pitcher. (“I have no idea what this would have done to help the situation.”)

4.) Conversation had with Dallas before rushing onstage to sing “Standing Outside The Fire.”
Dallas: (Looking onstage at Layke, his eyes empty, his soul rotting) You know what sucks?
Me: …What?
Dallas: When performing isn’t fun anymore.
Me: Yeah…
Dallas: It’s f-ckin’ hot as balls.
Me: It’s hotter than Satan’s scepter sitting in the corner of hell’s office.
Dallas: What are we going to do tonight?
Me: I don’t know.
Dallas: I’m so jaded.
Me: Me too.
Dallas: I literally don’t think I can do this show again. Not again.
Me: You have to. Sorry.
Dallas: F-ck you, you dirty whore.
Layke (On stage, singing): Cause it’s not enough just to STAAAND outsideee the fiiiiire. C’mon YALL!
(I start to rush onstage, fake smile plastered to my face.)
Dallas: (Yelled in a way so that only the performers can hear) Shut the f-ck up, Layke!!!!

5.) During the 9-11 section, when everything is supposed to be completely serious and somber, a gentleman guest decided it would be okay to walk across the front of the theatre while holding one of those obnoxiously massive stuffed bananas wearing a reggae hat.  

Me: Where were you when the world stopped turning… that September day?
(Enter muscular gentleman in a one of those cut-off “shirts,” holding the ginormous reggae banana above his head in complete and total victory.)
Me: …Were you in your yard with your wife and children….

My super power kicks in. I suddenly remember the scene from The Hunchback of Notre Dame that we watched, sober, a few nights ago, the one where Quasimodo hoists the unconscious Esmeralda above his head and screams “SANCTUARY!!!” to the common folk below… I now imagine this gentleman screaming “SANCTUARY!!!!” while hoisting the reggae banana above his head in front of DJ while he attempts to sing “I’m Proud to be an American.”)

Me: …Or working on a stage in L.A.?

6. Conversation had in the car on the way back to the house after the failed firework adventure:
Taylor: Hey! Guys! Hey guys! Hey!
Dallas: WHAT, Taylor, Jesus Christ!
Taylor: Should I call Toppers and order the pizza!?!?!
Dallas: …That’s actually… the best idea you’ve had in a while, Taylor.
Me: …Yeah. Good call.
Taylor: Okay! (Dials the number) GOSH I am just so proactive and resourceful- Hello? Yes? Hello? (pause.) Dallas, what do I press to make them shut up?
Dallas: …What?
Taylor: It’s one of those promotional recording things.
Dallas: Oh. Well, you have to sit through it. That’s kind of the point.
Taylor: Oh. Right. Okay! ….( a moment passes ) GOSH, shut UP! NO I DO NOT WANT A LARGE PIZZA!!!! NO I DO NOT WANT TO FOLLOW YOU ON TWITTER! ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOT- hello? Oh yes, Hi. Um, hello. We would like to order some pizza.
Dallas: Oh for the love of-
Taylor: For pick up. We will pick it up. (pause.) Okay. We would like three double orders-
Dallas/DJ/Me: NO!!!!
Dallas: Two triple orders, you stupid whore!
Taylor: Oh sorry! Sorry, two triple orders of stopper ticks. I mean pizza sticks, the toppers thingies! A double order sticks of popper pizza, one pepperoni and one cheese with ranch-
Dallas: Wait! No!
Taylor: Wait, no, I’m sorry!
Dallas: TWO triple orders, of TOPPER STICKS, one pepperoni, one cheese.
Taylor: Did you hear that? I’m sorry. Two triple orders of cheese and peperoni-
DJ: NO! ONE cheese, ONE peperoni!
Dallas: Dear God-
Taylor: What dipping sauces do we want?
DJ: Does he know TWO triple orders?
Taylor: YES! Now what sauces do we-
Ryan: Ranch.
Me: Cheese.
DJ: Pizza Sauce.
Dallas: Blue Cheese.
Taylor: OKAY! I am so sorry. We will need ranch, cheese sauce, blue cheese, and BBQ…
DJ: And pizza sauce!
Taylor: AND PIZZA SAUCE! Sorry, did you get all of those? Okay. Great. Yes. No, wait! We wanted topper sticks.
DJ: Oh my God.
Taylor: And we need a liter of coca cola. Do you have coca cola? You do? Great, we need a liter of that. Or- yeah, a two liter, or whatever… Annnddd… that should be it!
Dallas: I am going to jump out of this car.

We are, quite literally, “Standing Outside the Fire.”


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