making junk up.

This has been a big week for capturing little moments.

I already extolled the wonders of commercial street antique shops (though I forgot to mention the inscription on the Bridgefield Galleries storefront: “a brocante,” meaning, a flea market in france. divine! Oh, and one of the owners asked if I was on spring break… Bless his soul.)

Next little moment:
I had a near-Larry David experience in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

I spied a parking spot from one row over, just two spots from the front. Jackpot. Only one car was in front of me, a big, red, handicap-tagged cadillac. As in, has the pick of all the close spots he could ever want. And what does he do? TAKES the non-reserved close spot like it ain’t no thing…blatant waste of his handicap-tag and slap in my able-bodied face. I threw up my hands, “C’MON! This guy and his handicap tag took my non-handicapped spot. Anyone?!”
I had to park rows back as a result, baffled and embittered. Injustice.

Other little moment:
Mom has been hanging out with me this week, using part of her spring break to help me pack and do house stuff. Tuesday night we decided to go to Borders for a little peaceful browsing. I pulled into the parking lot minutes before she did, and noticed something was amiss. Cars were lined up along the back curb, a crowd swarmed in front of the store, and a tour bus emblazoned with the image of an angry, beefy man blocked the entrance.
That’s right. I was in Borders with Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Mom, bless her heart, isn’t well versed in the b-sides of reality television, so she didn’t realize what a treat we were in for. While we watched from across the parking lot, Dog’s wife (I don’t watch the show either…so don’t ask me her name) came out to greet the fans lined up outside. “Is that him, that blonde-headed looking thing?” she asked, not taking her now-frightened eyes of of her. (In mom’s defense, the two have similar mullets and sun-ruddied complexions.)
By the time we worked our way inside the store, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much, and it took conscious effort to unwiden my eyes. Snaking between the shelves was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen in a bookstore, many brandishing digital cameras in one hand, whose flashbulbs elicited continual loudspeaker reprimand from the bookstore staff, and wailing, kool-aid-mouthed toddlers in the other.
“Please do not use flash photography. This isn’t hard, people,” was about the fourth announcement I heard.
“What a beyitch,” one fan replied from behind her cellphone camera.
Now I must pause. Let’s be clear: I’m not a nice person sometimes. As much as I admire my late grandma’s maxim, “it takes all kinds,” I question its validity when in the presence of folks whose definition of “book” and “author” and “hygiene” differs so vastly from mine.
By the time Dog and his entourage left the building, my ears were ringing from shouts of “Dog! Dog! Dog!” A final cheer arose as the bus pulled away, and then…silence. Masking tape arrows on the ground, abandoned Big Gulp containers on shelves, and wearied looks on the Borders staff’s faces were all that remained of the oft-toothless throngs.
One employee pushed a broom past me. “That’s more like it,” he said.
“Yes, this is the Borders I know and love,” I replied.

Yet another little moment:
Wednesday night a bunch of us Skinny Improv folks did a workshop with Brian Jack, an improviser from Chicago. If you want to see how rock-awesome long-form improv can be, check out this clip. (It’s from a couple years ago, but he’s the dude in the light blue shirt and tie.)

They’re so good, I want to invent a new expletive to express it. (Like Liz Lemon introduced last night, with “whuck?”) Bill Murray called improv “the most important group work since they built the pyramids,” and otherworldy group-mind like theirs proves it’s true.

Improv is, as we like to say, making junk up. But it’s also about building relationships, making and noticing patterns, creating art in the moment, learning to think without judging or filtering. (Obviously I need help thinking without judgement, see above.) It’s just fun to jam without an audience for a while, and be reminded there’s always more for me to learn.
A big lesson I jotted down: Always DO something. Even if it’s just BEing where you are. Do something.
That’s pretty good advice for life, no?


One thought on “making junk up.

  1. That is my FAVORITE post so far!! Maybe because it has funny YouTube clips? Maybe because of the Walmart tool, probably because of the surreal meeting of Dog and his look-a-like wife.
    On another note, just from an audience perspective, I didn’t find that Improv as much funny as it was creative. Maybe I am just used to improv that keeps you laughing a lot.
    Again, awesome blog, LOVE… IT!

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