Thursday, February 23, 2012

Different Direction

I haven't done much socializing in New York yet, but coincidentally, the folks I have spent a bit of time with, all come from my school days.  In the past few weeks, I've reconnected with old friends from high school, from college, and from grad school.
Chris hasn't changed much since her days
behind the wheel of her Studebaker.

The most astonishing reunion was with my high school comrade Chrissy, whom I had not seen in over 30 years.  Back at Kennedy High in Granada Hills, CA, she was part of the theater crowd (I only spent one year there, so everybody I knew was in the theater crowd), and we reconnected a while ago through Facebook. 
Chrissy as a sassy French maid,
that's me with the cane, as The Miser.

Back in the day, she was a diminutive lass, with a little girl voice which served her well in the shows we produced (if there was a young girl in the show, we were set with Chris).  She lives in LA, after spending lots of time living all over the world, and she traveled with her husband to Manhattan for a few days.  We had a terrific reunion over lunch, and she reminded me of the old Studebaker she drove while in high school.  The sight of this teeny tiny gal peering over the steering wheel of that boxy sedan was hilarious.  

Spending time with this old friend reminded me of that year I spent at Kennedy High, when I had such a bang-up time in the theater department;  it was that year which put me on the path I still follow. (I wrote a bit about that here.)

Monica as the wife of the Emperor
who was hoodwinked about his clothes.
Recently, I also reconnected with Monica, a gal whom I knew while in graduate school.  She was an undergrad while I was in the MFA program at USC, and we did 3 or 4 shows together back then.  Granted, we did not interact much onstage, as my recollection is, our characters rarely if ever appeared together.  I'm sure my Dogberry never met her Hero in Much Ado, and in our Measure for Measure, my Pompey the Tapster never ran into her Juliet the Pregnant Girlfriend. 

Monica attended my annual party celebrating
the anniversary of Stonewall.
But the kids' shows we did together were great fun, and she was always a welcome presence at the parties I hosted back then.  Monica's another one I lost touch with until Facebook entered all our lives;  she has recently transplanted to New York with her husband, and continues to act. 

Another kids' show, Monica as a disgruntled rat.
We had a great catch-up lunch, and I was reminded how much I liked her 18 years ago.  (Monica is documenting her life in New York on a very well-written, fun blog which is worth checking out.)

In between those encounters, I spent a fun evening with a college chum. 

Greg is on the far right, in CSUN's
Guys and Dolls.
I must have been a senior at Cal State Northridge when Greg was a freshman, but we knew each other back then, as everyone did who was in the theatre department. 

We lost touch for a long while, but in recent years, reconnected.  Greg has been a Manhattan local, off and on, for a couple of decades, and is in the midst of an eclectic career in playwrighting, stage management, and in the classroom.  He was very excited to learn of my good fortune in snagging an apartment at Manhattan Plaza. 

I've always been directionally challenged, no more so
than when looking out my own window.
Other than my sister, he is the only person to actually see the apartment, and he delivered some unexpected news.  I've been telling anyone who asks (and a lot of New York actors ask) that my swell apartment faces north.  After his arrival, it only took Greg a few minutes of confused examination out my window to alert me that I was flat wrong.  Contrary to what I've been telling people since Halloween, my apartment actually faces east.

I've always been lousy with directions, and this proves the point.  I wonder if my error in direction has bigger meaning.  I've landed in New York (albeit part time) through a series of flukes and luck.  While here, I'm floundering around a bit, like I've been tossed into the deep end of the pool unexpectedly. 

It's not like I'm drowning; at my age, I know how to swim.  But I'm still bewildered by the significance of landing here at this stage of my life, rather than when I was a young pup; I'm not sure what it all means.  I'll be needing my New York friends like Greg to point me in the right direction, since I'm likely to be facing the wrong one.