The Mind's I


Are you a day person or a night person?

According to my partner, I'm definitely a night person. I can stay up really really late hours working on the computer or watching TV. I'd like to think that I can be a morning person. I can wake up early and be energetic and enthusiastic and work hard. I did that for several months when I worked for the University. Up at 7ish and sit in front of the computer for about an hour or two. Then I go back to bed and take an hour nap. Back up, shower, get to the office. It's a strange system but it worked for me.

However, now I'm a real sloth. I sleep on the bus for my commute, so I tend to be sluggish when I come home from work.

I can say I'm definitely not an afternoon person. After lunch, everything s-l-o-w-s d-o-w-n...


I want to see this so badly with Alan Cummings. If he leaves before I get a chance to the see the show, I will be heartbroken.

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The Roundabout Theater Company
I will probably buy tickets for next season. I want to see all of their productions!

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March 22, 1999
The Side Man

EileenePerhaps I should have new beginnings every few months or so. Wipe the slate clean and begin over again. There is so much that I want to tell you, Constant Reader, but I haven't had the time to go back into my records and finish writing those entries. So, I figure I'll just write about them when the time feels right that I should write about them. Most of the time, my older entries are about half-way finished records... but I don't feel like I've ended them... and I feel like it's hanging. I haven't reached closure with the incident. So, I let it sit. And they remain unposted here. Oh well.

I'm not sure how well I can adapt to the everyday writing thing that Kymm and Al do. Writing is not particularly natural to me and forcing it would make it an unenjoyable task for me. However, I find myself always needing to say something about X.. or Y.. or Z.. and I think I should try to capture on those moments.


Regarding work: they have instituted something called the "Personal Commitment Month". Essentially, they are trying to streamline their process and stop people from having so little billable work to the client. All the consultants that can are required to work 50 hours a week for the month of March. Ugh. I am one of those "fully billable" consultants. I do no internal work whatsoever... so all my hours are completely billable to a client. And I have lots of work. The projects that I'm working on all have reasonably large budgets and can have me working all fifty hours. So I've been exhausted all this month. I have to work until about 7:00pm every day.. so I decided to take this month to watch Broadway shows! I figured, I'm already at work until fairly late and it's no problem to pick up a taxi or walk to the theater district. I've got two booked so far this month. Two weeks ago I saw ART and last week, saw Electra. I promise to tell you all about them...

... but for now, about 3 1/2 weeks ago, I saw the Side Man.
The Side Man
I've been thinking about this play for a long time because I had such mixed feelings about it. My mixed feelings don't have to deal with whether or not I enjoyed it -- the play was fabulous. I'm having a hard time classifying its genre. On one hand, it was extremely funny. Not the small chuckles but the hard belly-laughs that makes one hurt when wiping tears of joy from your eyes. It was funny. I found a website that approriately calls it a "tragi-comedy". That's the phrase I've been searching for the past three and a half weeks.

I saw one of the last performances with Christian Slater in the main role. A week later, the man who originated the role returned. I thought that Mr. Slater delivered his lines extremely well in the role of the son/narrator of the piece, Clifford. Clifford is the son of a jazz musician, Gene, who seeks neither fame nor fortune. He plays for the sheer joy of playing. The music alone is his compensation. This drives his family into extreme disfunctionality. His wife, ambitious and feisty Terry, doesn't understand why her husband doesn't shoot for something more than two-bit jobs and no recognition for his talent. Her frustration turns to despair, yet no matter how much she prodded Gene... nothing. She turns to drink and her desperation turns to anger. Slowly, the comedy turns into a tragedy. The couple that at the beginning of the play was so energetic and funny and loving turned to bitterness and hatred. Terry turns into a creature that is terminally unhappy. Gene, blind to it all, continues to play. Beautifully. Long forgotten by the outside world that has turned to rock and roll.

The most touching scenes in the play involved Clifford at around 10 years old. Already, he's had to learn to fend for himself. He cleans up after his mother's bottles that are scattered everywhere in their tiny home. He prods his father when he has to leave for a show. He acts as a moderator between the two of them: a furious mother and an impassive father. His mother constantly declares how she wishes that he was never born. She anguishes over their debt. And he stands there and takes it, lovingly taking his depressed mother into his arms and consoling her. He pulls her away from a window ledge when she threatens suicide due to her miserable existance. Here's a young man who had to grow up so fast and I just felt so strongly for him. It's a sad tale, but beautiful in the telling.

It made me think about many things. It made me think of all the people that have had to "grow up fast". In some ways, I had to. But not in the same way that Clifford did. I didn't gain responsibilities or had to take care anyone else... my parents took care of me for the most part. Most of the people that surrounded me when I was his age were much older, angst-ridden teenagers and young twenty-somethings. I had to stop looking at the world through the eyes of that 8 year old I used to be, wide-eyed and dreaming of Middle Earth, and instead was exposed to images from The Wall. It's a shock to the system... I remember being depressed in late elementary school, for no reason other than I connected with the angst that my friends were feeling. Most of my friends at the time were non-social and were outsiders at school. I wanted to be more like them and began separating from my day-to-day life and becoming more entrenched in the virtual one. Now that I think about it, I don't think I necessarily "grew up". That implies increasing responsibility. Genuine responsibility. I didn't. My perspective just shifted. It was a different kind of growing up. Some days I regret it and other days I cherish it. I wonder how Clifford thinks about it... or whether or not he thinks about it at all. I would probably blot it all out... that kind of existance. I'm too cowardly to relive old hardships.

It made me think of what it would be like being with someone like Gene. I am terribly ambitious. I want a career. A successful one. I want to make lots of money and wallow in it. There is a part of me that wants fame and notoriety. I take it for myself, unlike Terry who wants it for her talented husband. I want my husband to be so too, but I'm more accepting if he's not. That's why I'm lax about Mike not yet finding a permanent job. It's not that important, especially since I'm so successful. I think being inTerry's place, I too would go nuts.

When I have little control over a situation, it drives me crazy. I am a little bit of a control freak (Mike can easily tell you that I get upset with him primarily when he doesn't do something in the way that I would do it, not because he is doing something wrong). I hate it when things go wrong and it's not my fault and I could have done something about it. I put blame on myself. The anger that I direct outward is partially for me. The feelings of incompetence in my part for not taking over when I should have. When something goes wrong and it is my fault, I am far more relaxed about it. I tried my best but sometimes things go wrong and I accept that from myself. I should try to be as forgiving to others.

I want to be a side man like Gene. Someone who doesn't need the recognition to be happy. I need it. Badly. I need to know I did well. From my friends. From my family. From my partner. Yes, sometimes even you, Constant Reader. I am a strong woman in many ways, but I have found my self-confidence builds when I hear others speak positive towards me. I wish I could find it through my own enjoyment. I do, somewhat, but not as much as I would like to. I am happy, Constant Reader. Tremendously happy. But I look at someone like Gene who has such a pure, simplistic vision of his craft and I am envious. There's happiness that I can't touch when he performs... without the need of the clapping crowd. Just the performance. That's all that matters.

Writing in this journal is a performance.. I wish that was all that mattered.

Image of Playbill cover for Side Man from Playbill Online
© Copyright 1999, Eileene Coscolluela