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Love Will Tear Us Apart book website
I’m lost in thought, on my way to pay for an improv space, wondering if I’ll get into the class I applied for, when an older gentleman, as bundled for the cold as I am, waves his hand to indicate that I can step in front of him and step on the train first.
I get the sense that he doesn’t speak, or doesn’t speak English at least, so I follow his lead with the pantomime and kind of half-bow to say thank you.
I step forward and feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and he tugs on his hat and smiles, points to my hat, indicating he likes it.
I smile, tug on my own hat, point to his hat, indicating I like HIS.
He gives me a thumbs up.
We board the train. It’s so packed that no one need grab a pole: we’re so smooshed together that there is literally nowhere to fall. (This is the red line, boarding at 34th St. during rush hour.) I can’t really turn around to see the guy, but I know he made the train, too.
A bunch of people get off at 42nd street, and somehow I manage to get a seat. So does the guy.
He lowers his head in an exaggerated way to indicate exhaustion, but then raises his head and laughs.
I do the same.
He gives me a thumbs up.
I’m thinking, holy shit, we are doing some straight-up vaudeville right now. This is the best.
Then he points to his knee and waves his hand to indicate his knee is not doing great. Thumbs down.
I wave my hand over my own knee to indicate “so, so, but pretty good.”
Then I cross my fingers and point to his knees to show I hope his knee gets better and I say a little wish to myself that it does.
I don’t think wishes work like people think they do, in a physical way. It’s more subtle than that: it’s how the wish makes you, and others around you, feel. It’s about what happens next.
The next stop is mine, so we smile and wave goodbye.
This is why we do this, I think. This is why we do this.
Moments later, I check my email and see that I didn’t get into the class. For the first time, I don’t care. Instead I think: how can I fill my days when I would have been in class? Where can I travel? Who will I meet? What will we make?
There is a bigger stage out there. And no one is casting us. And no one is giving us notes. And no one is deciding whether we’re ready for the next level but us.
But it’s real and it’s magic and it’s our job to bring what we’ve learned out there.
Listen, pay attention, yes-and, wish your scene partners the best.
This is why we do this.#improv #subway #newyork
The first time I ever heard the song “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens, I laughed because it was the most ridiculous song ever but also it was great. I was pretty young and I was sitting in the back of the car and my parents were in the front and I was like “Is this song for real?”
And they were like, Yeah.
And I was like PEACE TRAIN? WHAT IS A PEACE TRAIN? Every time it got to the chorus which is stupid and great and has this little triple clap thing, I went nuts, singing it and laughing and clapping and I think my parents got a kick out of my incredulity at the existence of a song about a peace train because they grew up in a world where writing a song about a peace train was a thing people did but I grew up in a world where peace trains are like “fetch” and Cat Stevens are like Gretchen and the world is like Regina George who’s all like,
"Stop trying to make peace trains happen!"
Now whenever I hear it, I think of that day and I feel pretty good.
Peace trains are never going to happen, but whatever.
Also, young Cat Stevens is so fucking hot.