Money Makes Me Sick

On any given week I have 2-3 major faux-pas. Most of the time I forget about them after a good night’s sleep. And if I don’t, that’s okay, because it’s usually cancelled out by one that’s even worse. This week I had two major social bloopers, less than 48 hours of each other. One involved my lawyer, and the other was barfing in a mansion.

If I could go back in time and visit 10 year-old-me, she would be wildly impressed with how glamorous and professional our life will/has become.

Before I begin, I would like to say that the #2 thing that bothers me in my life is when I tell someone about a Horrible Goof of mine and they say: “Why would you do that?” It is especially worse when they say it in their most incredulous voice. As if I have an evil twin; and randomly doing a scary blood curdling scream, or carrying a bag of vomit around in a room full of billionaires is something she has written on her bucket list.

Well, I don’t know why I do this dumb shit, people! That’s why I write about it in a blog! Perhaps talking about it is a way for me to work backwards in order to answer that very question.

(BTW the #1 thing in my life that bothers me is when I accidentally text “tge” instead of “the” and my autocorrect lets it slide.)

I should now mention that the lawyer is not explicitly mine. He works on behalf of my tenant association. Something that I think 10 year old me would ‘tsk’ at.

“Shouldn’t you be a homeowner by now?” She shoots water at me through the gap in her front teeth.

“Oh, go eat another hot dog, Tory Jr.! You don’t have many years left with them anyway!”

So, I’m not actually going to tell you about my courtroom non-drama because it’s really not that interesting, and besides, I want to cut straight to how I barfed in a mansion while the experience is still fresh.

My catering company called me into work early yesterday, all the way over to the Upper East Side. In great haste, I fried up a bunch of veggies, squirted mustard all over them and then put saltine crackers on top because I don’t cook unless I have allotted myself 2-3 hours + a cool down period.

It was a lovely 70 degree day. Providentially, we weren’t allowed into the mansion for another hour. My co-worker, Kat, had Italian Ice from a street vendor and so I wanted one too. I’ve never had one, because, despite dumping anything I can find into a bowl at home and tossing it with picnic condiments, I’m leery of street vendors. After 10 minutes of weighing the pros and cons of every flavor, and being continuously cut in line by schoolchildren, I finally decided on mango and coconut. It was very good. I ate it in 30 seconds, and then I got like… stupid hungry. Ravenous! This is unusual for me.

No worries though because this particular catering company provides a five star staff meal (turkey and cheese or PB&J and if we’re lucky we don’t have to eat it off the floor, even though the floors are often marble).

During set-up I started to feel nauseous. Also unusual for me. I never get nauseous. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve thrown up, sober, in the last five years. But I chugged water and made it through, knowing that there was a sandwich waiting for me just on the other side of this icky feeling. I guess I could have explained my situation to the captain, but I didn’t want to seem needy. Or weak, actually. I work with mostly men, and so I constantly feel the need to prove my capability so I will get hired more often.

The best thing about catering is the backstage access to some of the most gorgeous homes, museums, and venues in the world. I’ve seen artwork that many people would love to see, but will never have a chance to look at. Gigi Hadid’s face, for example. Why just this week, I stuck my armpit directly into it while removing a large salt roasted fish from her table. That face? Yeah, it’s art. And now it knows the power of Schmidt’s deodorant.

This particular mansion is also art. A grand spiral staircase, topped with a Tiffany stained-glass skylight/Givenchy baseball cap, marble walls that taste like caviar when you lick them, Italian tapestries older than Satan’s grandpa’s dick. ETC.

Here’s the deal. Whether we are passing pigs in a blanket on the beach, or champagne in a historic building, cater waiters have a tendency to be sloppy and careless. Not all of them! Only the male models. But this particular company is absolutely teeming with male models, so I wasn’t surprised when were asked not to use the guest bathrooms.

I may not show it, but I am extremely socialized. If someone tells me I’m not allowed to use the bathroom, and that my only option is, ironically, the mansion next door, I will obey. So you can imagine my predicament when I walked into staff holding, saw a beautiful man crouched by the stairwell eating a sandwich while we were all still working away, thought to myself: “OHHH THE NERVE OF THESE MALE MODELS” and immediately started dry heaving.

What was I to do? Here were my garbage can options: The bathroom, which I was not allowed to use, the kitchen, which was where the FOOD was, or the ballroom, which is where all the staff was setting up.

Luckily, Kat showed up out of nowhere with a garbage can from the kitchen and two water bottles, and she shoved me right into the restricted bathroom and shut the door. Women! God love ’em!

But, it was just a few simple dry heaves followed by a runny nose. Sorry guys, I’ve hit over 1,026 words and we haven’t even gotten to the real barf yet.

SO. I felt much better, assumed I was cured, and ate a sandwich. (When it was the appropriate time.) After the sandwich I found myself still feeling hungry. I chugged another bottle of water, talked to a teenaged model about how he has 36,000 followers on Instagram and he’s only had it since January, and then decided to have another sandwich. Why? I DON’T KNOW. BECAUSE I’LL NEVER BE A MODEL? I only made it through half anyway, calm down.

During the pre-show staff meeting in the ballroom, my body decided to reject the food once and for all, and I had no choice but to barf in the guest bathroom. The toilets, by the way, actually STARTED as a Malaysian cave painting of a babirusa before it was magically turned into a modern day john by a celebrity witch named Melanie Mx Lotus. I forgot to tell you that earlier.

You know, I razz on myself a lot when I write, because it makes me feel better, but I WILL give myself a little credit and tell you that when the mango Italian Ice / raspberry jelly combo hit the voodoo toilet that probably cost more than my student loans: I, too, was an artist.

Catering is a pretty easy job most of the time. There is some heavy lifting here and there, and I don’t LOVE fighting my way through the halitosis parade that is a crowded room full of art buyers, but the shifts like last night, when all I had to do was sit in coat check with Kat and Matt and sip water and not barf, those are great nights. Those are dream nights!! Easy. Fucking. Paycheck.

So I sat my ass down, let Kat and Matt take over for a bit and… then I threw up again and decided to go home.

Here, FINALLY, dear fans and friends of my parents, is where we get to the absolutely mortifying, colossally disturbing faux-pas that I promised early on and I’m sure that once I’m done writing this, I will have exorcised the memory and it won’t seem all that bad.

There was a small garbage in coat check, and a side room. So I snatched it and hid myself away. The little pirates inside me heaved all the remaining water and peanut butter out of the sinking ship in my stomach, and the task was finally complete. So I tied and double bagged it because… gross. Then, I stood up and found myself face to face with a cabinet full of little handmade dolls. The dolls were all wearing pink and white checkered aprons with frills and the display was titled “Self-Portraits.” Holding my bag of vomit, I vowed that my self-portrait would never look so blatantly feminine.

Then I immediately went into “Obedient I should do the right thing mode,” which is a total lady thing, and did what any good little girl / cat with a dead bird / socially awkward idiot person who feels like they need to prove they’re not lying would do, despite Kat’s pleas for me to just leave it for her to deal with:

I carried the little garbage can containing my barf up the gorgeous marble staircase, smiling politely at the billionaires I passed, walked into the ballroom full of my co-workers, showed the can to the boss and said: “I threw up in coat check. What should I do with this?”

He was rightly disgusted, and it turned out I had two options. Leave the barf in the hall and let Kat take care of it, like she had suggested. Or just… take it outside to where the rest of the trash was. Which never occurred to me even though coat check was basically in the driveway by the sidewalk.

Maybe this wouldn’t embarrass you. Maybe you just read 1,813 words, waiting for me to tell you that my puke is super combustible and I accidentally burned down the whole ancient joint, and then I gave you story blue balls instead. I hope I didn’t let you down. On the other hand, sometimes I’m so socially cautious that I actually just end up fucking up most of the time, so: I officially don’t care what you think! (Please love me.)

Celebrity witch Melanie Mx Lotus herself could have turned my upchuck into gold, and I would have been on the train feeling guilty afterward no matter what. I either didn’t do enough or I did too much. I suppose being socially appropriate means that you’ve found a healthy balance. These people exist. I am not one of them.

But hey at least I can say I barfed in a mansion!! And someday when the time machine is a thing, I really will go back to little me and say, “Go ahead Tory Jr., eat those frozen cordon bleus that Mom got schmoozed into ordering from a strange door-to-door frozen meat salesman. Because when you grow up, you will have a very delicate stomach.”

I’m No Fun

The number one problem in my life right now, I shit thee not, is that I am not having enough fun.

Here is proof:

  1. I can’t stop cleaning my apartment: there’s always something to clean
  2. I keep a food journal
  3. I keep a journal for lists
  4. Today when I walked into a tree I yelled at the tree
  5. When someone tells a joke I cannot hear it and I continue with my serious thoughts
  6. I am actively trying to have more fun
  7. I am writing a blog post about having fun
  8. I only read cookbooks now
  9. I keep listening to the soundtrack from the movie “The Hours” over and over
  10. Everyone keeps telling me to have more fun

Normally this wouldn’t matter, but I am an actor and yeah, much of the time, having fun is part of my job.

I started this blog way back in 2012 as a way of taking care of my depression. It was an outlet. In the nearly 5 years I’ve been maintaining it, it has gone through many phases. Tracking moods, documenting experiences, telling silly stories, writing reviews, and most recently: Updates on my acting career, which has proved to be the most boring thing I’ve written about… what??

My acting teacher, Anthony Abeson, has been trying to infuse us with more fun. “Wild Theatricality,” he calls it, because somehow, it’s been lost.

“Are we nuts? Broke AND not having fun?” He recently Tweeted.

I, like many actors, am worried about doing things “right.” Which is, you guessed it, NO FUN.

However, this isn’t my actor website. This is my personal blog. So it doesn’t have to be organized or professional or have a fucking logo or anything. It just has to be a place where I can dump my brain out for a bit and sort things through.

And sometimes I just find the craziest things in there!!

Willpower

Before I left for Iowa for the holidays I discovered Discipline. It started with Willpower, who is a cousin of Discipline, I believe on the paternal side.

I catered a private holiday party somewhere in the Union Square area. There were desserts, trays and trays and trays of desserts. Ginger snap ice cream sandwiches, Bite-mallows, mini fried apple pies, peppermint soliders. I remember all these desserts in detail. The way the light hit the chocolate glaze of the Bite-mallow, how the ginger snap cookies favored melting toward the left. The crispy flakes left behind by the apple pie.

My Midwestern woman instincts went into full gear and I mercilessly hounded the guests into a sugar coma. “OMG you haven’t tried the peppermint soliders! Everyone is talking about them!” “Sir, I saw you eyeing the ice cream sandwiches. I saved one for you.”

You see, I had to do it. I had to get them to eat all the dessert, because it was a long walk from the party upstairs to the make-shift kitchen in the den, and during that walk, temptation sprouted from those trays like emails from a listerv you swear you’ve unsubscribed from over and over again.

“No.” I told the dessert. “First of all, I feel like I’m getting a cold, so it’s really important to keep this poison out of my body.”

Pretty soon King Dessert fell from his throne. As the night went on, and I managed to get by without mindlessly popping mini fried apple pies with farmhouse cheddar into my mouth like a whale, yawning, and passing through a school of fish, my confidence rose to new levels. I unabashedly checked my phone in front of the boss. I let someone catch me looking at myself in a mirror. I convinced a party guest to buy me a sensible car.

And that confidence stayed with me for a full two weeks. I didn’t need sugar! So I gave up alcohol too. Pretty soon I was jumping out of bed in the morning and praising the day without the aid of coffee. I would have been checking things off my to-do list like mad, but I didn’t need to make a list because I was just DOING productive things without thinking. I smiled a lot. Struck up conversations with strangers, and friends too. You see I’m a textbook introvert, and I don’t really like conversations because they make me tired.

That willpower turned into discipline. And I was saying No to things that didn’t make me feel good, and Yes to things that did.

Then the holidays hit full force and I went back to Iowa, and I moved into the third week of my menstrual cycle, so I had to step out of my mind and body and let a demon live there for a bit.

Now, here I am back in NYC. Trying to find routine again. It’s okay, I’ll get there. I now know what its like to not feel so tired for once in my life, and that it all stems from willpower, discipline and eating things in moderation.

 

 

 

 

The Golden W

The seniors in my high school had the option to graduate with a “Golden W.” We were given a sheet of paper that listed every possible extra curricular activity we could have participated in for the last 4 years, and then we were supposed to have teachers sign next to the ones we were involved in. You received the Golden W if you had enough points.

I did not receive a Golden W. It wasn’t because I didn’t participate, it was because I just thought it was really stupid, and unnecessarily competitive.

The band teacher in my high school was meeeeeaaaan. I’d love to look back on it and say that all the abuse he bestowed upon us helped shape us into disciplined adults, but I personally think it just gave me an irrational fear of mustaches and having coffee cups thrown at my head.

Anyway, if you dropped out of band without participating the whole 4 years, he would award you NO points. Which pissed a lot of kids off. That Golden W should have made up for the noxious epithets that were slung in their faces- even if only for a few semesters.

It was probably a really shitty thing for him to do. I’m sure he had some screwed up version of a moral ground, and awarding Golden W points to a quitter was cutting the grass too short. Perhaps he thought kids shouldn’t be awarded for lacking endurance.

I thought about the Golden W when I sat down to write this morning, because I was fuming about social media and how much I hate it. I hate that having a consistent online presence is a job requirement. Tumblr? 15 points! Oooh, WordPress? 50 points! Adding up those points won’t get you a job, but it may get someone to glance at your resume.

But I think what really bothers me is that it is considered “hard work.” I grew up in a blue collar town. Hard work meant physical labor. Generations before me worked in factories, meat packing plants, manufacturing. (Or public schools). I myself have been a server for almost 11 years now. I’m used to the idea that if you’re not standing for 12 hours, shoveling food in your mouth when nobody is looking, shrugging off sexual harassment  and bowing low to everyone who walks through the front door- it’s not WORK.

As much as serving can suck the life out of me, it is something that I am good at. I’M A REALLY GOOD WAITRESS YOU GUYS.

Not so much with social media. I mostly feel like it’s a very speedy bandwagon onto which I will be forever trying to hooky-bob. Thus amplifying my mediocrity.

So, that’s what I’ve been working on. Swallowing my pride and scheduling my Tweets. And maybe not sounding so much like that band teacher who didn’t have many positive things to say ; )

 

 

Poop York City

The mad, mad world of babysitting sucked me back into its sticky clutches this week. What can I say, I’m addicted to cutting up fruit and arranging it into shapes. Also, I like children more than adults.

I had to get up and head to the financial district by 7:00 every morning this week, and then I stayed up late rehearsing for a show that opens tonight, so I’m pretty tired. When I’m tired I eat a lot of junk food, and then I get even more tired. And then I eat more junk food. And then I get constipated, and my whole world falls apart. And that’s how I do Routine.

Today was the last day I had to take the kids to school. It was a pretty calm week, so naturally, it was capped with a spectacular feu de joie, involving: a wheelchair, a slow moving child recovering from a broken leg, refusing to just ride in the wheelchair, 12-13 kids and the unyielding pressure of getting somewhere on time while relying on the MTA’s chimerical methods of communication, a tree frog in a huge bag, a Spongebob pillow, and an excessive, yet rational, fear for the life of a dwarf hamster in the hands of a small child. And so many stairs. So, so many stairs.

But it all worked out. I said bye to the kids and headed to the C train. When I got to the top of the stairs, I looked down and saw only a black, gaping pit. Deep below, I thought I heard a sewer alligator challenge a mutant street musician to combat, and then a growling noise. I’m too young to die and I was close to the Brooklyn Bridge, so I decided to walk home.

Since it was a beautiful morning and I had nothing but time, I went the romantic route and bought myself a cup of coffee at a waffle stand. The waffle guy was feeling “SPLENDID” because it wasn’t raining, so he gave me two free cookies. I left him a 75% tip because I really love nice people. The paper cup was covered in syrup, and the coffee tasted like dark roasted poison, but the dim glow of a new morning lit the sky and the fresh air breezed pleasantly across my face and I wasn’t going to let a $4.00 cup of toxic mud get me down.

Image

There goes a selfie of myself that I sent to Cole with the caption “Make it count.” That was the first take, just, fyi. Also, it looks kinda gloomy in this picture, but at the time it didn’t feel that gloomy.

NYC mostly sucks, but moments like these make me feel particularly sentient of the unique things the city has to offer. A man walked by me and said, “Good morning, Beautiful,” and I’m never sure if I should allow men to get away with this behavior, but I really do like nice people, so in my haste to reciprocate, I walked into one of those thick wires that holds the bridge up and dumped coffee all over myself. A biker passed by and scoffed at me as my scarf burst into flames. I became nervous about what it was doing to my insides.

I’ve been waiting for spring to come so I can get hit with that giant feeling of inspiration and renewal that rides in on the sunshine. Today it felt like everything was moving in the right direction. Goodbye winter! Get on the MTA and go straight to hell where you both belong!

About halfway across the bridge, it hit me. Not necessarily an artistic epiphany or a wave of motivation, but something was moving, and it was definitely a moment I had been waiting for all week. I wasn’t literally constipated anymore! If this were a work of fiction, I would elaborate with a hilarious poop story. But it really only ends with a miserable bus ride home.

And that’s New York City for you. The roses here are singular in their beauty, and you can stop to smell them and get your picture taken with them. Just keep in mind that a stranger might be pooping in the garden.

Suitcase Stories

 

So, in Februrary I cheated on my real life with the tv show “Gossip Girl.” I did it because I was really cold and miserable.

But that has ended so now things can go back to the way they were. I learned from my mistakes, etc. Chuck and Blair ended up together.

Excuses, excuses!

Although it feels like not much is going on, I DO have a show going up next week!

The Forum Project is a performance troupe that I’m a part of that focuses on Forum Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed. This year we’re doing a residency at University Settlement, and we’re presenting a series of short plays we’ve been improvising/devising since October.

If you’ve never seen a work of Forum Theatre, I highly suggest you check it out. Last week I saw the troupe perform at a conference called “The Trayvon Effect” at Columbia University- and it was a really amazing experience.

Just don’t expect to be a member of a passive audience!

Click HERE for more information about the show / getting tickets.

red, write and blues.

ariel

Tonight we begin the second and last leg of our performances of The Tennessee Williams Project– and I am already anticipating ways to defeat post-show depression. 

Luckily, I have a lot going on right now. I’ve found that one way to beat the blues is to find a healthy balance between watching “Gossip Girl,” and creating stuff. Making money doesn’t hurt either, on the rare occasions that happens.

I’m excited to begin teaching Shakespeare and Improv with Fresh Theatre Arts. Yesterday I was developing a lesson plan to take “Hamlet” into an all-girl classroom of 12th graders, and I had to practically stand up to type. I was so excited I couldn’t keep my own butt in the chair.

And Monday I spent the morning filming a sketch written by my endlessly talented and hilarious friend Chelsea Bearce. Behold the photo at the top there to see how a human dresses like a cartoon, and then check out Chelsea’s music video, “Curvy,” an excellent parody of Lourde’s “Royals.”

As for right now, I’m gonna go wash my face with this new coffee I bought called “Screaming Monkey.” Over and out.