Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Back Stairwell of Doom and Adventure

You know what I don't do enough, Blog? Tell you stories of the shit that happens to me. So here is one for you before I forget.

A couple weeks ago I got back from my trip to the Azores and Boston and, like always, had a bunch of dirty clothes. Laundry is a tricky thing to do when traveling after all. I came back to Minneapolis with a renewed sense of purpose that lasted about five hours. But during those five hours I made a point to revamp my day to day living with a run around the lake, a trip to the grocery store that ended with vegetables, and the purchase of two, count 'em, two pairs of sunglasses since I'm totally one of those people who goes through about 15 pairs a summer due to my carelessness towards protective eye-wear. It's bad.

Because of my new found motivation and productivity, I was in and out of my apartment building by use of the back stairwell that leads right out into the alleyway; half a block from Hennepin Avenue where everything that is good and holy in Minneapolis lies. This is also the stairwell I use to access the laundry room that is in the basement of my building. After the exercise and the shopping and the general life clean-up that I had so dutifully taken joy in doing over the course of the afternoon and evening, I piled my clothes into a basket and headed down to the laundry room to do even more awesomeness that is known as keeping my shit together.

Things were going great as I made my way down the first flight of stairs. I had a sense of productivity. I was happy to be home. I had just eaten some vegetables. Life was great! I hit the landing and turned to make my way down towards the firsts floor, eager to keep this momentum going. That's when I saw something fall out of the corner of my eye. It was obvious enough to make me stop for a moment and assess the situation. It could have just been part of the building. It's an old building after all. Things fall in old buildings right? But there was something in my gut that was telling me it wasn't inanimate; that it was alive. I didn't have to wait long for the proof because just as I was about to take another productive step forward, it silently flew out at me. A bat! It was a bat Blog! It was a bat that for some reason fell from its little vampire hangy place next to the door on the first floor and freaked its shit out at me.

I'm not going to lie. I screamed. I screamed like I was being murdered because, oh my God, there was a bat flying around at me and I was on stairs and holding a heavy basket of clothes. I was completely defenseless! It clipped my hair flying up the stairs (CLIPPED MY HAIR) only to turn around and swoop back down at me on its way towards the basement. I don't know if you realize how cramped stairwells are Blog, but they are. And when you combine a bat, a basket of laundry, and me in the confines of one, things get crazy fast. All I could think of between my screams was the Jungle's artistic director Bain and how he met a vampire once (the story involved an encounter with a bat, naturally). He had a stick to defend himself, I had... clothes? It was fight or flight, but I had no way to fight, so I dropped my clothes on the landing and ran up to my floor, slamming the door behind me.

Silence. I stood at the door immediately regretting my uninhibited response to my potentially rabid neighbor. I had to go back in there. My laundry and a whopping three dollars in quarters was sitting on the landing. I cracked the door to eye the distance between me and my belongings and listened with my now heightened senses. I waited to hear both the bat and neighbors emerging from their apartments to wonder what the F all that screaming was about. Nothing. Nothing, but the soft echo of its wings hitting its body and the walls that surrounded it.

I finally worked up the courage to swing the door open and run down the stairs to grab my laundry. Who knew something so simple as scrambling down a few steps to retrieve a basket of clothes would be such a horrifying experience. Though when I arrived at the second floor unscathed, I managed to enjoy the adrenaline high that had just shot through my body. I had done it. I had just been attacked by a flying rodent had made it out with my dirty wardrobe and life intact. I was spent. It had been a day full of traveling halfway across the country, exercise, and healthy eating; not to mention the winged and potentially rabid wild animal that made its presence known, mainly in my hair. Sure it would make sense to call my landlord after such a thing, but I took a shower instead. Then I called my mom and left her a message because it was Mother's Day. Then I went to bed because, if you re-read this paragraph, you'll see it was a busy day.

There are a few things that unnerve me about this whole scenario. Obviously attack by bat is at the top of the list. But there is also the whole me-screaming-as-if-I-was-being-murdered thing. I wasn't allowing the air to escape my vocal chords in a pleasant feminine breath. I was top-of-my-lungs screaming. And it wasn't just one scream. It was a series of horrified and pitchy sounds that not only were loud, but also echoed throughout the entire stairway. And when I was waiting for the courage to take me back into the stairwell to retrieve my clothes I was also waiting for someone to come out of their apartment and say "what the hell is going on?". No one did.

Fine. No one wanted to investigate the screams coming from the stairwell. But I surely couldn't have been the only person who had been attacked by bat. I was going in and out of this stairwell all day long. Others must have been doing the same thing long before I had returned from my trip. Maybe my landlord already knew?

The next day at work, after it had finally sunk in that post-vacation productivity is extremely short-lived, I emailed my landlord with a subject line of "Bat" letting him know about the incident that had occurred not even 24 hours before. He responded with a phone call right away saying he'd have animal control over there within the hour to take care of it. I can't help but imagine that I was the only one who reported bat. Bat had gone undetected and potentially ignored for who knows how long and it took me being viciously attacked and almost losing my life to rabies to bring the whole thing to light. No pun intended, bat (bats hate puns).

F you puns!
Anyway, I will chalk this whole thing up to more experience with rodents. This was a short-lived one that I think I would take over the whole mice in my car debacle that happened a couple summers ago. Sure I almost had a heart attack, but it was only one and I wasn't barreling down the highway at 60 mph when it happened.

RIP bat. I know you are dead now because that's how animal control rolls. Unless you've turned into a vampire who I will inevitably fall in love with. I'd be down as long as I get a good entry for Blog going. Bring it on.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Blog, I've been away and now I'm back. I had a most amazing trip to the middle of the ocean and to Boston. Naturally, you'd think I'd want to tell you all about it, but I'm not in the mood. I just wrote part one of a series I'm working on recapping my trip and I'm rather burnt out on putting my memories into words at the moment. More of that to come.

Instead I'll look inward, as I tend to do with you. I think this is because I've given up on making you a relevant blog for the masses and instead will accept you for what you really are: a means for me to sort out my thoughts with a small internet audience that comes and goes as it pleases. It keeps you quaint, doesn't it Blog?

Last night and today I realized I'm letting self pity and sadness take over my life. This is a result a constant and subconscious comparison I make between myself and everyone I know. At this point, everyone I know seems to be at a place in their lives where growth, excitement, and change are happening while I feel like I am in a rut with nowhere to go. This of course isn't true, and I keep trying to remind myself of this in an attempt to get myself out of it, but I haven't been doing a very good job.

Tonight I think I came up with one of the better ideas I've had in awhile and contacted my dear friend Will for some advice. Why him, Blog? Well, not only is he a special person to me, as I recently articulated to you, but he also has been pursuing a life in the theater since I met him nearly 10 years ago. And he's done really well for himself as far as that sort of a thing goes. He's not world famous or anything, but he knows the ropes and is really good at putting himself out there. He's had tons of experience and has been in all sorts of productions. I decided to hit him up on the Facebook chat this evening to pick his brain about getting back into theater myself. My depression has been getting to me, and I know a surefire way to bring me out of it is to find creativity in my life. I need to make something. I need to contribute. I need to take a look at myself within and bring whatever I find to a venue where it is shared and molded into something new and different and worthwhile.

What I'm trying to say is that I need to be in a play.

I chose to go to Will for help because he lives this every day. He also knows me better than most people. Most importantly, he believes in me and I don't doubt him on it for a second. One thing I realize is that I didn't set up a support system for myself when I first moved here in hopes of becoming part of the theater community. I've met tons of people and have worked on projects here and there, but I never had the support and closeness that surrounded me when I was in Bemidji. Will is left over from that and he is the perfect person to keep me accountable for pursuing this thing. He told me the exact things I needed to hear:

"I'm more than happy to help keep you motivated... because you are talented. It's a little absurd how often Andy and I have had the conversation about how talented we both think you are... and hoped that you would find your way back to acting again."

Sometimes an ego boost is just what you need to become motivated about the one thing you've always loved to do. An ego boost and a plan for accountability. This week my job is to seek out two monologues and begin working on them. He will be checking in next week on my progress. Not only is he supportive, he's holding me accountable. It is just what I'd hoped to get out of him.

Thank God for the internet Blog. Without it I wouldn't have you and I wouldn't have the ability to have a dude in Chicago holding me accountable for memorizing Shakespeare.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hello From Terceira!

Blog, today I write to you from abroad! I am visiting my dear friend Carly this week and am simultaneously exploring the majestic Azorian island of Terceira. So far we have done many things like eat this delicious thing called alcatra, drink wine, catch up on old times, play with puppies, and ride in the back of a pick up truck to a club. It's been quite the adventure and there are still three days left! Including today, Cinco de Mayo, which will entail a party complete with a pinata. I'm also really hoping to see some bull aggravation along the way, but who knows if there'll be time for that.

I do believe this may be my first post to you from abroad, Blog. How fun! For as many times as I've flown over the Atlantic, I only have gotten the chance to write to you during the one time I've been dropped in the middle of it. Seriously. This island shit is crazy. Ocean views all the time. And we all know how I feel about the ocean...

I fear the ocean. It. Is. Right. Over. There.
It is right over there all the time. Because I'm on an island. An island surrounded by ocean. That's what makes it an island.

Also, I don't speak a lick of Portuguese. I thought maybe my really bad Spanish might be able to get me by, and it does when it comes to reading subtitles on the TV, but speaking this stuff? I asked a cab driver about 15 times how to say "thank you" and still said "thank you" as I exited the car. Oh well. At least I know how to get a plate of squid around here and if I'm honest, that's half the battle right there.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's Not That Great

Blog, I've been MIA for the latter half of April. I'm aware of this. I'm also aware of my reverting to the typical blogger tendency to acknowledge a rather lengthy absence. Luckily I had four posts in April. That's keeping up with my average, I do believe. I just got all of it out of the way during the first week of the month.

Ok. Enough with the posting about how I haven't posting. That's no fun to read.

Tonight I realized I could make my life sound fucking awesome if I wanted to. I have a cushy office job that pays me pretty well for the work I do and has regular hours. I love the people I spend my 40 hours a week with; they both challenge me and make me laugh every single day. I have this really great second job that not only brings in extra cash, but also is a gateway to free theater and fun parties with food and wine and chocolates and actors and crew and paper lanterns lighting up warm spring nights on a city balcony.

I have a quaint little apartment that has french windows decorated with paisley curtains. There's a fireplace filled with books and a gallery of friends' art on my walls. I have a cabinet stocked with wine and a fridge stocked with food. I take the train to visit my brother. I always have music in my ears. I can sing and play the guitar. I find myself sporadically going on auditions or performing in front of paying audiences. I'm asked to be a part of films here and there and every once in awhile I'll see someone I know on TV.

I live walking distance from a plethora of bars, restaurants and theaters; not to mention a grocery store. Half a block from the bus stop. Half a mile from a lake surrounded by multi-million dollar homes. I can walk down the street and not be surprised in the least to run into someone I know from some circle I'm a part of.

I'm like fucking Carrie Bradshaw sometimes with how I sip wine and sit in front of my computer in nothing but a towel, fresh out of the shower; save my image from riding around on the side of a bus all day long.

I've settled in the suburbs with a two car garage, dog, and fenced in yard. I've traipsed around the bars lending my mouth to any boy who was accepting of my drunken offers. I've gone on dates where doors were held and chairs were pulled out. Checks were taken care of and checks were split. I've been nervous, confident, cocky, and disinterested. I've felt beautiful more than I've felt unattractive and I think my wardrobe is alright; maybe even slightly above the fashionable average on a good day.

Sometimes I'll get into a routine where I do yoga and run on a regular basis. Other times I'll pass my evenings trying new recipes or eating ice cream while perusing the internet. I have close friends who are far away and because of this I'm starting to need my toes when it comes to keeping track of how many times I've flown across the Atlantic. My passport is filled with stamps from Europe and Mexico. I've been to Canada and both coasts. I've seen the northern lights and a meteor shower and the Swiss Alps...

Twenty four hours from now I'll be on yet another flight hanging over the Atlantic, preparing to land in a new country for me; Portugal. More accurately, the Portuguese islands known as The Azores. I've somehow managed to travel more than I ever thought I would. Make more money than I ever thought I would. Know more talented, amazing, inspiring people than I ever thought I would. I have a cute apartment, good health, and a glass of wine right in front of me. My bags are packed and I'm ready to get yet another stamp in that passport I got at a time when the only place I had ever been outside of the US was Canada.

And here I am barely holding in the tears because despite all of that "cool" shit I've just listed, at the end of the day I come home to an empty apartment and no one to share myself with. Reading through the self-involved vomit I've just spilled to you Blog makes me realize I'm an alright gal. I'm a catch. I've got a lot going for me. But that good feeling goes away when I know that those friends of mine have someone they love by their side every night. They have valid relationships and it makes me just want to throw all the parties and circles and performances and travel to the side because it's not important. It doesn't matter. It's just busy work until someone meaningful comes along.

The twelve year-old me would be blown away by who I've become. Sixth grade Samantha wanted nothing more than to travel and work in a skyscraper and live in a city doing important business with important people. Well Little Samantha, what you didn't know was that laying low and having a meaningful relationship with someone could have been just as, if not more fulfilling.

Of course, there's always the potential of a stay at home mom or settled down wife coming across this post and thinking that this life I lead is a fabulous one. You always want what you can't have, I guess.

To Portugal then.