Thursday, January 31, 2008

chopped liver is pretty good

anyone that knows me knows that i love my big brother something fierce. don't believe me? try saying something disparaging about him in my presence. go on. i dare you.

he's a playwright and actor for The Neo-Fututrists, the good people that brought the world "Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in Sixty Minutes", and he's also a professional Awesome Guy. it's true. if you're not familiar with The Neo-Futurists or my brother, i recommend you go check them both out, as soon as possible. you won't be disappointed.

last weekend i went to the Neo-Futurarium to see his first prime-time-writer-directorial debut with the company. i knew that he'd been experiencing some apprehension about the show, but i was geeked to see it. the show,"Contraption", examines "the intersection between innovation and insanity by dissecting the lives of some of history's greatest inventors." i could talk about how great the show was, how i'm gonna see it over and over, how it was one of the best shows the Neo-Futurists had ever done, but instead, i'm going to tell you about the pride i felt for my big bro.

i claim the title of his "biggest fan". i think i may have been impressed with his writing since before i could read, he's THAT good. over the years, he's gotten himself a few more fans, and rightly so. he has an impressive body of work, discipline, talent and monkish humbleness. i'm always happy to meet people that know him, and take great pride in their appreciation. what's starting to bug me though, is the shock and disbelief people express when they find out i'm his little sister.

did Maja Einstein feel this way? by the way, Maja Einstein was Albert's little sister. betcha didn't know that. yep, she lived a decent life, had a good education, married, but had no children. what was it like for her at family dinners?

Ma Einstein: Oh honey, I'm so happy to see you! Al, look! It's your sister!

Pa Einstein: So, what have you kids been up to, lately?

Albert: Well, I just made major contributions to the field of physics, with my special theory of relativity, and I also created a new theory of gravitation.

Ma and Pa Einstein: That's wonderful! You're a genius! We're so proud of you! How about you, Maja?

Maja: Um, I went fishing for the first time. I caught a trout.

Ma and Pa Einstein: Oh... that's nice, dear. Ahem. Uh. Very nice.

i'm not trying to say that i'm jealous of his success, i'm saying that i didn't expect to be graded on a curve. i feel pretty good about my life and the direction it's going in. i don't feel the need to compete with my siblings, at all. they do their thing, and i do mine. we're all equally supportive of each other, and i believe that's what really counts. i'm just starting to wonder if the shock people express, when they find out i'm his sister, is based on a comparison or simple surprise that he even HAS siblings. do people think that genius is a solitary role? he's not just MY big brother, and i'm not just HIS little sister. we're siblings, friends and a mutual support system that we can always be grateful for.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Laws of Probability

i'm not very good at math, but i've been considering this:

Karmic Mass x Velocity of Chance = ?

it equals a giant sinkhole on Montrose Avenue directly in front of the job i just quit, effectively shutting down the business for an undetermined amount of time. i'm happy to know that nobody got hurt and the busted water main is only a major inconvenience rather than a tragedy. i'm also amazed to realize that i would have been out of work at this time, regardless.

i've always believed that if things ever got too bad in my life, i could always look forward to something equally good, basing this belief on probability. a sort of Yin/Yang-convoluted-hopeless-optimism approach, if you will. like i said, i'm no mathematician, and perhaps i have no business trying to make sense out of cosmic forces, let alone break them down in mathematical terms, but what i'm trying to understand is HOW this sort of thing happens.

one of my dearest friends just moved to Chicago (finally) about a week ago. he's a good man. he does good things for people all the time. his karma is damn near the platinum limit. however, he just went through one of the most horrendously unfortunate weeks imaginable. starting with the day he moved in ( -2 degree weather) to his (unfinished) apartment that had no heat. and then the lights went out. powerless (literally), he continued living out his life, without a trace of bitterness. and then his car got towed and impounded. really? honestly, Fate, what did he do to piss you off? well, he nobly went about his life, moving forward with a shrug and a crooked smile. and then, when we all thought the worst was over and he had nothing but good fortune to look forward to, some random drunk totaled his car.

i'm beginning to wonder if it's really all just a crapshoot, and it doesn't matter how good or bad your karma is. either that, or my buddy is about to win the lottery. that'd be awesome.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Giving Up The Ghost

I quit another dead-end waitressing job recently. I won't go into the ugly details, mostly because the "how" and "why" of my resignation are boring and inconsequential for anyone, save myself and ex-employer. No, what I'm concerned with is the aftermath.

There's something strange that happens after a person has been somewhere, been with someone, done something or lost something that has always been there. It's part disorientation, part longing and part masochistic obsession with what once was. The closest parallel I can draw is that of the phantom limb syndrome. Medical dictionaries describe it as: "The perception of sensations, usually including pain, in an arm or leg after the limb has been amputated. The brain still gets messages from the nerves that originally carried impulses from the missing limb."

I've been waitressing for nearly ten years, and now, in the aftermath, I find myself missing the mind-numbing ease of serving food and drink to strangers. I went out for lunch today, with a friend. I anticipated our server's questions, answering them before they were asked. I felt a curious resentment as I watched her move around the dining room, conversing with her customers, clearing empty plates and collecting billfolds. I observed her patterns, like a scientist, trying to gauge her mood while knowing how I would feel, if I had been in her position. I actually felt envy.

I understand that a person's job isn't definitive of who they are, yet there is something to be said for those who do their jobs well, and damnit, I was a good waitress. I feel like I lost something integral to who I am. Nothing as dramatic as an arm or leg or pinky toe, but something solid nonetheless.

I'm giving up the ghost. I'm forgetting the phantom limb that never should have existed. At this moment, I am envisioning my "career" (snort) as a waitress as a massive tentacle that was attached to my head; superfluous, ugly, ridiculous and barely useful. I am cutting off that phantom limb. And now, I'm selling it to a restaurant that will chop it up, steam it, and serve it with a side of pickled seaweed sauce. Hell, as long as I'm not serving it, someone else can choke it down.