Let’s get right to business, breaking news. Apparently (and I haven’t quite figured this out yet) everything I wrote yesterday is false because Facebook added a “timeline” feature and now you can look up past posts? Okay, truth be told, I haven’t found that timeline feature yet, but I will and I’ll get back to you about how to do it.
So about that post yesterday?
Uh, never mind.
Okay! On to the good stuff! Today we start a new story. Seriously I feel like it’s the first day of school, I’m so excited. Invite your friends, family and pets to read the blog starting today, because this is the easiest time to get on board. Charlotte (my daughter who apparently doubles as my blog editor) just said my blog stories are getting a little long, so I’m going to tell this story in fewer blogisodes. Okay? Okay. REMIND ME. You now how I like to make rules and then break them.
Fanfare (if you know Les Miserables, imagine the trumpet fanfare that announces the arrival of the battle.)
I bring you: One Day More.
Pause in story. This is bad, I’m pausing and we haven’t even started. Charlotte will read this and roll her eyes and
say, “Mom” (dragging it out into three syllables as only a teenager can) “get ON with it.” But I have to mention that I just realized this is now the second musical theater song title I’ve used for a story title. Hi, musical theater geek, anyone? I am, I really am, in fact (I’m now outing myself further)–if it rains and it is night and I am walking alone in the city I ABSOLUTELY sing the lyrics from Eponine’s song On My Own: “In the rain, the pavement shines like silver. All the lights are misty in the river” and continue the song until I am crying inappropriately and pining for my fictional unrequited lover who has mysteriously long sideburns and wears a vest.
What’s that? Listen! That is the sound of readers leaving en masse because I am now too much of a romantic musical theater geek for anyone, even my fellow musical theater friends, to tolerate. It takes big cojones to ask people to share your blog and then follow it immediately with a story about how you walk around and sing show tunes in the rain. Share my blog! I’m so cool! Unpause story (before Charlotte kills me).
In December of 1992 I won the equivalent of the musical theater lottery when I auditioned for–and got–the national tour of the mega musical Les Miserables at 25 years old on my very first audition for that show. I was hired on a Tuesday, they asked if I could be in LA the next day, but I managed to delay until Friday. I said it was because I needed to pack and get my life together, but mostly it was because I wanted to give my then-boyfriend of a year and a half a few days to go get that engagement ring he was probably wanting to buy for me. On my last evening, next to our Christmas tree, he gave me…a briefcase and highlighters.
When I arrived on tour, I had a million things to learn (I was understudying thirteen women and had to learn all the roles), but the first thing I was told was to make sure I had a passport. Which seemed kind of weird because we were a national tour, not an international tour and even if we went to Canada a driver’s license would suffice. As you can imagine–it’s a group of actors–the rumors flew about where we were going. Europe, Mexico, South America–all we knew was that there was a 3 month TBA on our schedule with an announcement to come.
I didn’t really care where the tour went because I hadn’t been anywhere outside of the US, although I’d toured every state in the nation with a previous show. I was fine with going anywhere international, even to dumpy Kazakhstan if it earned me a stamp in my brand new passport, so when they said Singapore, I was like–huh? Where’s that? Asia? Is it a part of China? I called my maps-for-brains boyfriend and he talked me through it. Here–I’ll give you an idea. Picture the US on a globe. Now picture the exact opposite side of the globe. That’s Singapore! End of geography lesson.
The trip was scheduled from the end of January to the end of April and this is what that meant to me:
Winter in a tropical climate. Hooray!
We were scheduled to leave for Singapore from Los Angeles, just after the new year (Jan ’94), after a two week engagement in Pasadena, California. I took a vacation during Christmas week and went back to Cincinnati to see family. Let me tell you how fun it is to give Christmas presents when you are 25 and making a lot of money and have no expenses. Really fun. I think I won the love of my niece and nephew forever that Christmas.
During that trip I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandmother, who we all call Meema. Meema and I were very
close, especially as I got to be older and could drive to her apartment. There is so much to say about her, but I’d get all dribbily and I already admitted that I sing musical theater songs in the rain. One blogisode can only hold so much preciousness–so here’s the deal. She was awesome, and funny and loved that I was on tour with Les Miz. Even better, she was a world traveler despite having very little money, which she earned by working at the phone company, and she took all of her trips with her best friend who was a Roman Catholic priest because he was smart and spoke a lot of languages. She encouraged me to travel my entire life, and was always jetting off somewhere–I think someone once told me that she took her first trip at the age of 60 (Aunt Barbie–correct me here?) and it was to England where she promptly dropped to the ground and kissed it, proclaiming she was “finally home.” Hey–let’s just keep that story, even if it’s become exaggerated over the years, because it’s a great image, this 60-year-old woman and her priest friend kissing the ground. Meema hadn’t ever been to the East (although she went as far as Egypt to see the pyramids) so she was excited to hear about my trip. Singapore was originally a British Colony (which is right up her British-wanna-be alley), so high tea was in order. I promised to raise a cup of tea in her direction and come back with stories, which I would tell with a British accent, of course.
I hopped on a plane and flew to LA, especially excited because Rob was joining me for the first week before he headed off on a different show touring around the States.
We had a blast. Have you ever spent time in Pasadena? It’s great. It was romantic, and fun, and everything was wonderful between Rob and I. This is especially noteworthy because relationships fall apart when people go on the road all the time. It’s easy to drift apart, or someone gets the hots for someone else, or someone gets jealous of all the money the other one is making–there are a million reasons. It’s a real test. I was proud of us. I was proud that we’d made it a year apart. In fact, I was so proud that I wanted a prize. And I wanted that prize to be in the shape of a circle and I wanted it on the fourth finger of my left hand, and I was insufferable about it. For the final twenty four hours that we were together, before I jetted off to the other side of the world, before I was not only in a different time zone, but on a different day of the calender than him; I pouted. Big time.
He was over it.
By the time I drove him to the airport to fly to Detroit, I was weepy and girlie and icky and I think he was dee-lighted to leave me on that jet plane and have a nice break from my begging. These were not my finest hours.
Speaking of hours, a few hours later, I’d finally fallen asleep after a super long cry, and I woke up not in the bed I’d started in, but on the floor of my high rise hotel room. I was disoriented and it took me a few seconds to figure out what was going, because–and I mean this literally–my world was shaking. My midwestern mind just couldn’t compute what was happening.
I was in the middle of an earthquake.
And the epicenter was a few miles away in a town called Northridge.
And I was on the 15th floor.
And I had absolutely NO IDEA what to do.
(To read the next post, go here)
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(To read the next blogisode in this series, go here)