Boxing Lessons

Not everything has to be a lesson. I get so bored with myself sometimes for trying to squeeze meaning out of everything.

Today I had to carry a giant ass white foam box all over Queens for work and I was like, this sucks but at least I’ll learn something. I will find some sort of emotional takeaway and it will all have been worth it.

Okay, but what?

The box is roughly the size of two toddlers, put together, and then fused into a giant lego to make a square. So, 30x10x10. Older toddlers. Ones that can nearly outrun you.

All day people kept thinking that there was something in the box but the box was empty. Three Uber drivers tried to carry it for me and when they realized that it wasn’t heavy they put it back down and let me carry it myself.

And every time that happened I thought, ooh a learning opportunity! But, no. I learned nothing from it, regardless of the pattern.

I looked for ways to learn from the box all day, but nothing really happened. Even during morning rush hour when I hauled it on the C train, nobody got mad at me. Twice, I walked off without the box, because I thought it was a table. But I didn’t get far enough to really learn something about what it’s like to leave a box behind.

Maybe I was just destined to have an ordinary day. The sun was shining, NYC children played in small patches of dirt like always, and I carried around a box, swiping at the hours as they passed. I tried talking to the box, to see if the universe had anything to offer in the form of a Sign. I even shook it like a Magic 8 Ball. But nothing mattered. The box refused to be inspirational.

Eventually, the box and I got stuck in some bushes, because I was in a hurry.

It was then that a very clear learning opportunity finally presented itself: take a deep breath. And then locate and utilize a sidewalk. Not super poignant, but the practical messages are just as good.

 

 

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.”

working from home

One very tough thing about working from home is that I have to keep stopping to put my face on the cat.

The problem with this has less to do with my cat allergy and more to do with time management.

Time management is hard for me, because I always think I have NO time, when in fact, I have loads of it, and I spend much of it pacing around convincing myself I’m running late.

So I have come upon a little aphorism: You always have more time than you think you do.

And I say it to myself and I chill the fuck out.

Unless I’m at the post office.

Another thing about working from home is that when I’m here I feel a great need to clean everything.

The irony is that the apartment is almost never clean. I often find myself looking at piles of junk I have strewn about the living room, scratching my head and wondering where my day went because: Didn’t I vacuum and do laundry and organize the books today? Alas! Where did this pile of junk come from?

So another maxim I rely upon: Art before dishes.

I stole this one from a book that I cannot reference because I can’t remember the book. Please know I did not come up with this saying.

Lastly, it is tough to work from home because I believe there are small bugs in my apartment that bite me while I’m trying to sit at my computer, and ONLY when I sit at my computer.

Nobody else believes these bugs exist, but here I am scratching away even though I have not burrowed my face in ANY cat fur recently because I do not fit under the bed.

This leads me to perhaps the most important little mantra I have for myself, being:

Slightly unhinged people also have a best self, and it should be embraced.

xoxo

$78

Today I put my frog suit on, jumped from one job application to another, and caught no flies.

Unless flies are just a metaphor for frustration and despair. In that case, I’m full.

Days like these always start by checking my bank account and realizing that I missed the Chewy.com shipping reminder and have just spent $90 on cat food I didn’t need.

Last week I decided that I very seriously need to crack down on my finances. Set up an IRA, check my balances every single day, get back on the student loan train, not spend money on tacos and Frose, yadda yadda.

Since the key to having more money is making more money, I got up at 6:30 last Monday morning and applied for bar jobs, tour guide positions and temp work. By Friday, I got through the rounds with a tour guide company which now seems to have blossomed into nothing, decided that my schedule doesn’t really allow me to bartend right now after all, and nearly cried in a temp agency when they told me “12-13 dollars per hour.”

I also decided that setting up an IRA was too confusing, and I told myself that I had enough in my account for now and I’d be fine and didn’t need to check everyday.

I’m not irresponsible. I’m very organized, highly neurotic and concerned for my future. However, when you don’t have money, checking your bank account is like being tied to a chair and forced to watch a horror movie. I guess you have no other choice but to watch.

So I can say I logged into my bank account this afternoon and immediately yelled “run, idiot, run, he’s gonna stab you.”

AKA: $78

 

Thus triggering my money panic routine which goes like this:

  1. I will get a job in an ad agency or something.
  2. I look through copywriting jobs and think about what my life would be like if I made at least $30,000 / year.
  3. I tell myself I have no experience and/or marketable skills and decide to move on.
  4. What about social media?
  5. I tell myself that I have no followers on Twitter or Instagram and therefore nothing to prove and also I hate social media.
  6. Ah, administrative work! I start with colleges and universities.
  7. I imagine what the job would be like. The beloved children’s book character Amelia Bedelia races into my mind and I imagine myself accidentally breaking machines, fucking up travel itineraries, crying and watching Excel how-to videos on lynda.com, and getting a firm talking to in an office while sweating through an ill-fitting pencil skirt and a thong. For some reason.
  8. I decide I am too scared to work as an administrative assistant.
  9. I curse myself for spending 10 years of my life pursuing acting.
  10. Oh wait, I am an actor with 6+ years of teaching adults with developmental disabilities, at-risk and homeless women and hundreds of kids ages 3-15. I go to Playbill.com.
  11. I find the perfect job and then realize I have to write a cover letter.
  12. Quick! I see if any of the previous cover letters I have written will suffice.
  13. Nope.
  14. I tell myself that most places prefer you to have an MFA, which I think is a waste of time, and that I’m not diverse enough and therefore don’t deserve to teach our youth.
  15. This is a good transition into brand ambassador work.
  16. I go to Craigslist and consider applying for the job with the headline “No nudity required, promise!” for about the 600th time.
  17. I tell myself that I am worthless and stupid and I probably won’t be able to connect to the monologue I am doing in class tomorrow even though I have a high emotional IQ and that is about all I have, which makes me an extraordinarily overdramatic person who has a hard time falling asleep at night.
  18. The dog outside begins to bark so I spent time cruising around for new music on Spotify and I hate everything and wonder what is wrong with our youth, why do they listen to this absolute crap?
  19. I remember that writing makes me happy and sometimes posting a self-deprecating blog post perks me up.
  20. I scold myself for not writing more blog posts.
  21. I realize I could have spent all that time looking for auditions.
  22. I think about emailing my mangers to tell them I’m done acting. But then I realize I have no back-up plan.
  23. Here we are.

Dudes, I could have spent the whole day playing around with setting my sock fuzz on fire instead of all this crap and it would have been way more productive.

And in an ironic twist, I have to stop typing so I won’t be late for work.

I’m babysitting tonight, which means I’ll get to hang out with a child who could probably afford to pay off my student loans- but at least I will get to shut my brain off and use my imagination for a few hours, which is something that I am, in fact, pretty good at.

But first, I have to feed the cats and replace the litter in the box with real paper money.

full of joy and happiness

When I moved to New York City, I Instagrammed a screen capture of a note my sister left on my phone. It says:

“Dear Tory, I hope you have a wonderful life in New York full of joy and happiness. I believe you will be famous one day and maybe even cast in a television show. When you are, I hope you don’t forget about your little sister stuck in Iowa. Love, Keely.”

My caption is as follows:

“I just found this sweet note on my phone from my #sister. I neglected to tell Keely that the dream is really just to do enough industrials to pay off my student loans.”

This was June 18, 2013. (Before she had Instagram).

A few things:

First of all, and most importantly, I have got to up my caption game you guys. It’s the same reason I’m bad at Twitter.

The bar is now so much higher than doing industrials it isn’t even funny that I wrote that. In fact, I did do a tv show! 2 of them! Confidence is key.

Also, my sister is no longer stuck in Iowa. SHE LIVES IN MAUI. MAUI IS IN HAWAII. The other day I saw that she is actually in vacation on A DIFFERENT ISLAND IN HAWAII. Sometimes I pretend I am on vacation when I am in Williamsburg, because you can get close to water. Williamsburg < Hawaii.

I am so grateful for my support system. You can be a dentist, or a school counselor, or a police officer, or a guy who writes fortunes for cookies, but no matter what: your support system gets you through it all. And I am very #lucky #blessed #fortunatecookie.

By the way my sister is a nurse, which is not an easy career, Maui or no. Whenever I want to whine and say “this is harrrrrrrrd,” I think about how Keely is a tough bitch* and a life saver. Even if she’s just sneaking a darling little note into someone’s phone.

*This is a title she gave herself when we asked why she didn’t want to get gassed up before getting her wisdom teeth pulled. So, yeah confidence is key.

 

WERK vs. WORK – you can do BOTH!

I ate too much pizza before I went to bed last night, so I couldn’t sleep. Naturally.

After combing through the emails I haven’t checked for 26 days and properly updating a bunch of unnecessary shit on Facebook, I realize it’s only 7:15am. Wow, I have the whole day ahead of me! Now would be a good time to catch up on that Mad Men episode I didn’t see last week.

But instead, here I am updating something more important! I’m learning! I’m really learning!

My level 3 Annoyance class just finished up this week. We’ve been going to this bar in Williamsburg called Redd’s after class. (DON’T tell anyone about this bar, it is too good for you)!

There’s a guy in my class named Brad, and a couple weeks ago he said to me:

“Do you want to keep doing improv?”

Yea of course!”

“Do you want to do it for real? Like, for real?”

Yea?”

“Well. I don’t think you’re ready to commit.”

(gulp)… I’m not?”

“To the practice, to the scene. It’s a huge commitment. I just don’t think you’re ready. I don’t think you’re doing enough work.”

Why did this conversation start?? I must have been doing too much talking about Game of Thrones.

I didn’t really elucidate the importance of the conversation, I know… But it was an important conversation because Brad simply reminded me that this is a city that hustles. All that time you spend watching Mad Men and telling yourself its research, other people are hitting the ground. And by “You” I mean “I.” (Me). And maybe “you” too.

Go home, Brad, you’re drunk. No, really, he was. However, the man had a point. I love it when people tell me what’s up. Thanks Brad.

I’ll end with a photo from the class. It’s a re-enactment of a scene in which two people just touched their butts together the whole time. This is Werk:

Image

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.