We’re Not Together

What better way to celebrate senior year of high school than an unexpected pregnancy between my best friend and his lady? Both of them had aspirations for the future that did not include any children with any immediacy, so they decided that an abortion was their best choice. Knowing both of them as well as I did, I agreed.

He made up some bullshit about not being able to get out of work, so I cleared my day and took her to the clinic. The waiting room was filled with people there for similar procedures, and people who were just there to receive any of the other low-cost medical services the office provided. It was not a lively bunch, and there was a hush that was noteworthy even by comparison to other doctors’ offices. Her name was called, and I went with her to the counter because what else was I supposed to do?

“Can you sit back down?” she asked me.

“Why? I’m not doing anything over there. I don’t mind standing here with you.”

“No, it’s just that… I don’t want everyone to think we’re together.”

I turned to the quiet room and said, “Hey – I just want everybody to know we’re not together!” My voice carries. I did not need to shout. I did anyway. She promptly punched me in the arm, blushed, laughed, and told me to sit down again. I listened this time.

She sat back down after checking in and filling out the necessary paperwork. I continued making shitty jokes about the people around us to try and ease some of her tension. It was marginally successful, her name was called, I squeezed her hand and watched her disappear into the treatment area.

“I’ll be right outside waiting in my car, so just call me when she’s ready to go,” I told the staff behind the counter.

“The procedure lasts a couple hours. If you have any errands you want to run, you should have time,” the nurse told me.

“No, I’d rather be here just in case.” I sat in my car reading Men’s Health and GQ magazines with the air conditioner blasting, and a Tenacious D album playing loudly through my crappy sound system. It was a hot summer day in the San Fernando Valley, and it was untenable to me that she get out of the procedure and into the heat and discomfort of the valley in the summertime.

They were pretty spot-on with their time estimate. She stammered back into the waiting room, significantly more pale, drowsy, and sans baby. I helped her into my car, and she didn’t want to go home in the state she was in, so I sat with her for another couple hours while she napped. I got her a couple Gatorades to down on the way back to her parents’ house, where she presumably avoided the topic of where she had been all day.

 

Back In The Today

IMG_20180827_181346_832.jpgI feel like I haven’t checked in with you in a bit. Hi! How are you? How are your kids? Still nonexistent for some of you? Oh, how I’ve missed you.

I shot my first commercial this past week. I was essentially paid to sit around most of the day and eat free food, occasionally I pretended to be a worker in a glasses manufacturing plant, and went home. The irony of doing a glasses commercial and pretending to wear glasses after recently getting laser eye surgery is not lost on me. Anyway, it was great, and I can say that I’m a paid actor now.

I also did my first video audition, which was to include some information about me, a monologue, and the lines for the role itself. Apparently, actors justĀ haveĀ monologues that they’re prepared to do at the drop of a hat. I was not aware of this, and had to learn one as quickly as possible because there was a tight deadline for submission. After thirty or so takes, and a two hour break that I had to take because I was getting too angry, I was able to finish off the interminable 4 minute video. After my final take, I hit upload, then waited anxiously before pressing “Submit” at 11:59pm. There was one view on the video and I had no calls the next day saying I was the best thing they’d ever seen, so I’m guessing I didn’t get it.

I also started Improv classes at Second City. They are fun. They are more fun than I thought they’d be by a pretty long shot. I was not embarrassed or concerned about how I looked because I’m in a new city where there are zero people with an expectation of the way normally behave. It’s freeing in a lot of ways to be an unknown.

Lastly, I did stand-up again the other night, and it went pretty well. I was probably a little tipsier than I needed to be, but I got a few laughs and the host told me he’d like me to come back. So ya know… That’s something.

Three weeks in. It feels like it’s been much longer, and I feel like I should be much farther along than I am, but I’m loving the shit out of this process when it isn’t dreadfully dreary, and I look forward to more.

Maybe Try Going Up Less Drunk

It’s odd to have a travel blog when you’re not traveling. My process when moving to a new city or acclimating to a new lifestyle has consistently been messy, and moving here has been no exception to that rule. As many of you know, moderation truly isn’t my thing.

I’ve repetitively made my rounds to bars and night clubs and comedy shows and more bars, and it’s been a crazy week. Like most of my weeks, I suppose. For the sake of updating you, though, I’ve now done a total of four open mics since landing here. My understanding is that I will have to do more like 5-10 a week to be truly “committed to the craft.”

After the show Friday, the primary note I got was to just keep plugging away. Repetition, repetition, repetition. The secondary note I got was, “Maybe try going up less drunk.” I think both are decent pieces of advice. It’s hard to remember which pieces of which jokes struck the audience when remembering the evening as a whole is a bit challenging.

For me, one week is an impressively short time for the pendulum to have hit an apex, and begin its swing back in the other direction. I find that each critique and each bombing (the comedy kind, not the terrorist kind) only encourages me to push myself harder, work on my material more, and get out there to try it again.

Last night went better. I felt more nervous on stage, or at least I think I did. In any case, I remember feeling more nervous this time. Another thing I remembered was all of my lines, and I think that’s a start in the right direction. As for the direction of this blog, I think it will begin to take on more of a “repository for stories” role for me. I may not be doing anything worth sharing in this moment, as working on oneself tends to be less entertaining, but dammit I’ve done some pretty ridiculous shit in the past that should be written down somewhere.

Pulling from my past will also allow for a little more consistency with the pacing of my posts, so this too will develop into a sustainable practice. Or maybe this is all just masturbatory for me, in which case enjoy the show!

Here Comes the Bride – Me!

I have wonderful news! After four days of not having a functioning shower, I finally made the leap and spent $17 to use the showers at a gay bathhouse about three miles from my apartment. I considered a gym, but this was cheaper and I was too hungover to even pretend to want to exercise. While I was there, I met the man of my dreams and we’re going to elope this weekend!

Alright, I’m pretty sure that’s enough characters to get me through the preview on Facebook. I was going to make a joke about how I’m getting “married to comedy,” but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it (except for that sentence).

Anyway, I started my new job on Monday and I love my new coworkers, but being in another animal hospital definitely made it obvious just how much I love and miss my old coworkers. Y’all are wonderful, and I sincerely appreciate the support I feel you telepathically sending my way, and I’m choosing to ignore the anger at my absence that goes along with it.

I also went to my first open mic in Chicago, as I couldn’t reasonably say, “I had my first day of work” without having done both new jobs I came here to do. It went alright. I wouldn’t say it was a great audience (I’m not basing that on my experience – literally every comic that went up made note of it), but I was still able to pull some laughs out of them. I also abandoned my written material about half way through just for the sake of ranting a little. I think sticking to what I intended on saying is probably a better way to go from now on.

I look forward to more bombing and more honing of my craft, but more than that I look forward to meeting more Chicagoans. They have largely been ceaselessly kind and willing to placate me in my antics. Sleep isn’t that important, right?

 

Peace and Love, SoCal*

From Facebook:

It is with a flurry of mixed emotion that I mark today as my last day at Malibu Coast Animal Hospital. Over the last year-and-a-half, I’ve spent more waking hours here than at my actual place of residence, so it was my home in a very real sense. I have come to know each and every one of the people here – all of the staff and many clients alike – as members of my family, and they have done everything in their power to make me feel like a member of theirs, even in the face of my general jackassery. I am grateful for the time I’ve gotten here, and beyond excited to begin the next leg of my life’s journey in Chicago, but I am sad to turn the page on what has been an incredibly emotionally and spiritually satisfying chapter of my life. Thank you to all of you that have contributed so much – I love and will miss you all.

Malibu Coast Animal Hospital

Update: I opted out of saying goodbye to everyone in person. I made it all the way to clocking out, then a long-time client asked if I would check her out, and I choked back tears as I ran out the door to cry in my car on the way to a baseball game like a man. A big thank you to Dr. Heather Napolitano for providing me the perfect excuse for a hasty exit in the form of a Dodgers game – it was both fun and convenient for my purposes. Do I regret not hugging each person who made such a difference in my perspective on the world? Sure. Yes. But I will see them (you) all again, and ideally under less cry-y circumstances.

My car’s oil is changed, the interior is cleaned, and it’s being packed at a rate consistent with my level of hungover. If you know of any good brothels in southern Nevada, hook a brutha up with a number!

*I do not say “peace and love” – the title is an homage to Dr. Dean Graulich.

I say funny stuff sometimes.

When I was younger they were laughing at me, now I’m older, and I’m laughing at me, too.

As many of you know, I’ve sold the vast majority of my belongings, and I’m packing the rest into my vehicle and setting off for Chicago to pursue my dream of being a stand-up comedian. It’s either the best or – more likely – worst decision I’ve ever rashly made, but I’m almost 30, and it’ll only be progressively less appropriate for me to do this kind of shit, so here we go!

I’ll be posting information about my journey east on this blog, as well as on Twitter (@spatfarrell) occasionally. I’m currently debating an all-written format vs. an occasional Vlog post. We shall see what kind of mood I’m in as the trip progresses, and my alcohol consumption fluctuates.

Thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown me thus far – it has only encouraged me, so if this goes south, this is largely on you. Cheers!