Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Loring Park Episode #63: The Comedown

This episode begins with me screaming my head off in my bathroom at 2:45 AM on a Sunday / Monday. As one does.

Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still
I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

July 7, 2016 -- in which something I worked really hard for actually PAID OFF and I felt surrounded by love -- was one of the best nights of my life. Like, top five. Without ranking them, I would also say:

*New Year's Eve 2005 at my friend Laleh's house while we watched Mariah Carey perform in Times Square
*The surprise party for my college roommate Whitey at his parents' lavish house in Chippewa Falls
*The night I won Funniest Person in the Twin Cities
*Miami Beach with Erin, Loretta, Joey and Jared, a night that involved karaoke, gorgeous go-go boys, meeting handsome Canadians, and exotic food and drink

Perhaps the happiness of my birthday show was like a drug, in which the comedown was inevitable. Then it was my birthday (ten days of birthday!), and my life finally went back to normal. I had no gigs on the horizon. Work was busy but not as lucrative as I was anticipating. I could feel my mood starting to shift.

I went crazy for a while. And when I say "crazy", I do not wish to belittle anybody else's mental illness. I am not being treated for anything because I wasn't sure if I was gonna stay in my current job or not and would need new insurance (blah blah blah). I can call myself crazy. I can't call YOU crazy if you have anxiety or depression, because that's not nice or any of my business.

Now when I type this out, it sounds ridiculous, but I'm gonna take you there anyway. My weeks of breakdown began with a pair of Gucci sneakers.

I was supposed to pick up shoes for my roommate. I brought home the wrong shoes because I didn't verify the item number. I apologized twice and was met with an eye roll and silence. We immediately left to pick up Joey because we had made plans to go see Ghostbusters. Steve didn't talk to me when we were in the car. "I've said I'm sorry and you can choose to accept it," I said, like a mom dropping off her kid who just had a spat before soccer practice. Eye roll and back to cell phone.

Joey got in the car and was his usual sunny self. 

"Hi, guys!!" he smiled. "I'm so excited!!! Aren't you???!!!"


"I'm just tired," I lied. "How do I get to 394?"

Things didn't get better from there. I lost my VIP ticket right after receiving it and you need it to get into the specific section. Then I accidentally put butter on my hot dog. What a waste of five dollars! I was already in a mood but hoped the movie would improve things.

We walked single file into our seats, and we were in the VIP section so the seats are two by two. It's kind of awkward to be the third person, especially if you are in an imaginary fight with the second person and the third person has no idea this is happening. Anyway, I was slated to be in the middle but at the last minute Steve walked around us so he would be by Joey and I would be by myself in the third, no-mans-land seat. And maybe he did this because he prefers to be on the left side of the movie theater or has a thing about being closest to the fire exits, I don't know, but I perceived it as a deliberate kick to the balls and spent the next two hours just wanting to explode. 

It was like the episode of The Real Housewives of New York City when Dorinda flipped out because while on vacation in Turks & Caicos she realized that Heather always walks into the club before the other girls and she took it to be a personal slight and was agitated for the rest of the night.

Does this make any sense to you?? If it does, then you are probably also a reality TV junkie and a 13-year-old girl. Hi. Nice to meet you. Also, you are not old enough to be reading this blog. Come back in a few years.

I regret to inform you that I cannot give you a review of Ghostbusters as I was too sad to focus on the film. I am a supporter of women in comedy and think Leslie Jones does not deserve an iota of the horrific online harassment she has received. I didn't even get swoon-y about Chris Hemsworth, which is the ultimate tragedy.

I drove erratically on the way home, because two hours is a long time to stay silently upset about something. I was pretending to be Kate McKinnon but my inside was pure Leslie Jones.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Joey asked.
"I'm fine," I said, which is histrionic teenager speak for Absolutely Not.

We dropped Joey off, went home, Steve still didn't acknowledge me in any way, and I deactivated my Facebook and left to go play Pokemon Go with Jared. Seventh grade is hard.

The next day, I drove back to the mall to correct the footwear situation and called Joey to finalize our plans to go to the beach.

"I can't believe Steve was such a [jerk] last night," I said. (I said a word worse than jerk).
"Um, Steve wasn't the one being a [jerk]," Joey said. 
"Watch your language, Joey," I said and hung up. Of course he would take Steve's side! Everyone is out to get me! said my irrational voice. Calm down, Dee, said my rational voice who, while rational, still compared myself to a fifty-something woman from a crafting commercial.

When I later explained the situation at the beach, Joey was still even-keeled. "First of all, don't drive like a maniac just because you're mad. Don't put my life in danger. That was bullshit. And you need to actually tell people when you're upset with them, or you're gonna have a situation like when you didn't talk to Jared for a month."

This is what separates a best friend from an acquaintance or even a regular friend. A regular friend will always be your "yes man". Nod his head. Your best friend is going to call you out on your shit. If you want to bury yourself, he'll hand you the shovel. 

We tried playing Pokemon Go but it wouldn't work on my phone while Joey leveled up. It was just like when we go out to the club together.

I spent the weekend at my parents' house and listened to "Clown" by Mariah Carey over and over. She wrote it about Eminem but I pretended it was a dis song towards me. My self-esteem was not at its highest that week.

Nobody cares when the tears of a clown fall down

Wednesday night, it was time for the Gay '90s, which had bingo at 60 numbers for what I swear was two months running. I ended my imaginary fight with Steve, who lives in this place called The Real World where people don't expect to read minds and communicate telepathically and instead they act like grown-ups. I hear it's nice. I felt it was our destiny to win, because we had gone so many nights! Sometimes with Jared, sometimes with Joey, sometimes with Reid, and sometimes I would sit next to Ronny, a cute barback who also sings really well and once at karaoke he did that Peter Pan/Lost Boy song and my pants almost fell off.

Alas, it was not to be. A bingo queen who brings her own damn bingo blue won the jackpot, and Steve told me she was the same lady who won the LUSH jackpot!!! Some people have all the luck. Nevertheless, I learned from Jesus radio that you can have joy or jealousy in your heart but never both. Good for her.

I decided to re-activate my Facebook, as turning it off hadn't made me less depressed at all. Instead I was just extra annoying on Twitter. I do recommend getting away from the noise a little bit, though. If I wasn't in the business of show, I would totally tune it out more, especially during an election season. Unfortunately, I don't have an agent and it's how I get probably 95% of my gigs. Upon activation, I found out that my friend Tan Man was having a going away party that week because he was moving to San Diego! I was so out of the loop! I was already supposed to go to Woody's going-away party that week because he was gonna be on tour!

I couldn't get my co-worker to switch with me for party day, so I said good-bye to Woody at the 19 that Wednesday. Tan Man's party was on a Saturday at Marvel Bar. Since I had to work, I decided I would just meet him at The Saloon. 

I was already frazzled because I had locked my keys in the car for the 517th time. I was still able to put together my message for Tan Man:

Saying goodbye to this kid tonight. I met him four years and one day ago at Valleyfair on Gay Day. He was wearing a tank top and everyone in my group was salivating. I kept sneakily changing my position in line so I would "accidentally" be his ride partner.

And what a ride it has been. He is one of the most caring, hard-working, genuine and NICE people in the world. He has literally been in the front row in support of my comedy and acting and always made an effort to stay connected even though his life revolves around things like "fitness" "exercise" and "mornings" and my life revolves around things like "the bar" "after the bar" "maybe I will think about working out today wait are we going to the bar already? TWIST MY ARM."

It has been an honor and pleasure to watch him grow in his career, entirely self-motivated and self-made, and I predict the median body fat percentage in San Diego will significantly drop as a result of his presence and work. Minneapolis was lucky to have you for as long as we did. You are still the only person I would ever go on a kayak for. Love you!!

I promise I'm not always a total loon.

Anyway, I went to The Saloon at around 11:30 and I ran into my friend Ria, who was anxiously awaiting Tan Man's arrival.

She was with her roommate Brandon, who we've talked about before in the Super Bowl episode. He was wearing a crop-top. (Can we discuss this shirt? My only purchase from the Nordstrom anniversary sale. It's Paul Smith and says "P.S. I Love You". I wanted to wear it for my trip but it's still in the wash)

"I should blow raspberry on your stomach like a baby," I said, because I am good at distracting myself while waiting.
"Do it!" Ria cried. "I'll Snapchat it."
"No," Brandon said. "What if my boyfriend gets jealous?"
"He wouldn't," Ria said. "Jakey, you are far too young to be dating Brandon." (Brandon's tastes run toward the silver foxes)
"Did you just say I'm too young to do anything?" I asked. This was one of the first nights I had gone out as a 30-year-old. "That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me."

We hugged, but it still didn't bring Tan Man to us, who was calling it a night! He said he would come to the show at the '90s the next night.

"My theory is that he hardly ever drinks and everyone at Marvel Bar was giving him free shots and he probably has the tolerance of a 12-year-old," I said. You don't get to 5% body fat by being a booze bag, to use a Loretta term (towards me).

I still wanted to drink but then foolishly ordered a tequila shot.

"Why did I get this?" I asked. "I don't even like tequila."
"Are you going to finish it or not, Jakey?" asked Ria, who was now sitting across the bar from me and silently judging.
"I have to get sad about something first," I said. Sometimes I'll Google pictures of Chris Hemsworth from Cabin in the Woods because of who he looks like, but that chapter of my life really has long been over (470 days!) and I tried to find something else to get sad about.

Then PAOLO~! walked in. Holding hands with an age-appropriate and handsome boy! The shot, it was downed.

"'Allo, Jakey," he said in his indiscernible accent. "Guess which one of us is older."
"I can't play this game," I said. "First of all, I know your exact birthday. Secondly, Liam would always play this with me and I hated it." Remember the New Year's Eve party when they pegged me at 35 and made fun of my hairline? Not how I wanted to kick off 2013!

"Fine," Paolo pouted. "But whoever gets told he's older has to bottom."
"And take a shot," said his man friend. "I've already had five."
"Me, too," said Paolo.
"Well, I hope neither of you is bottoming tonight," I said. I didn't say that out of jealousy but pure logic. I have the sex life of a nun and even I know that excessive tequila will give you dry mouth and mud butt.
"I saw you perform at Pride," Paolo's boyfriend said. "You're really funny." Oh, fine. I approve.
Somehow my age came up in conversation.
"No way," Paolo's boyfriend said. "You look like 24." They could have banged on Danny's bar after that.

Brandon, Ria, and I danced to Beyonce. Brandon took his shirt off. Nobody died.


I continued to unravel the following morning (which I think is the day that ended with the bathroom screaming). And it's all going to be fine. We're not gonna go into details. I'm just gonna take you behind the scenes of a mental breakdown, okay? Because weeks later I can look back at it and realize what the root of the zaniness has been.







Okay, so remember when I went nuts at Jared and moved out for a month? A major part of that was that I did not let him know what I thought was the absolute truth -- rather, I had just accepted that this movie in my mind was the utmost reality. (Spoiler alert: It wasn't.) And I was doing it all over again, creating a mostly false narrative and convincing myself of its reality, and the one person I could have talked to about it (Joey) was in the Wisconsin Dells while I was on the water slide that was my erratic emotions. That is the worst metaphor I have ever used, and I am keeping it.


The year I turned 30 was the year that everything changed, and it seemed to be happening all at once and I didn't know how to cope with it. On top of that, now I'm gonna say good-bye to a dear friend of four years because I cannot stay in 2012 forever.

Tan Man showed up to the '90s and we watched wonderful, summer-filled porn. He brought his straight friend, so to say the man was a good sport would be an understatement. Then the three of us played a game of sexy Twister. You will be shocked to find out that I was the least athletic of the three and lost right away, and I had even cheated twice.

We vamoosed to The Saloon, where I said good-bye about 850 times.

Then I went home and screamed my head off in the bathroom and went to Jared's and we went back for more vodka and he went back to get his cigarettes. Steve is being nominated for sainthood.


Let's Talk About Boys

Amidst my going nuts, I have actually been FLIRTING!

Reid and I went to the 19 and met nice men from Utah while playing darts.

"Are you Mormon?" Reid asked the 6'2" muscular blonde who works in the fitness industry.
"Oh my god, Reid, you can't just ask people if they're Mormon," I said as Gretchen Wieners of 2016.
He laughed and said he wasn't. He was there with a couple who was nice enough. Then they met a tall dudely dude named Jim.

"Ohmygodhiimjakey," I said.
"What?" he asked incredulously. "J.P.?"
"Jakey," I said.
"Wait .... WHAT?!" he asked again.
"Jake with a Y at the end of it," I elaborated.
"Oh," he said. "K."

I turned to Reid and Utah. "You guys, I think Jim is really into me," I said. Utah laughed and I realized he was good people.

Another night at The Saloon, Reid and I met up with a pair of 21-year-olds! One of them I knew from the clubs before. I had asked him his name once and he said Brian. "It's such a douche bag name," he said with a smile. "Nah, it's cute!" I cried. Anyway, Brian was with his friend who was having his 21st birthday. I hadn't eaten all day and was coveting the shame basket they had ordered.

"Can I have your pickle?" I asked.
"We can share it," Brian smiled.
"Do you want to Lady and the Tramp it?" I asked.

He agreed to do it! And then part of it ended up in Reid's lap which was really gross. But still! Look at me flirting! 

Then Reid bought them martinis.

"Look at us flirting with the boys," I said.
"And I don't need a gimmick," said Reid.
"I have a boyfriend," Brian said.
"Oh, that was a waste of six dollars," Reid pouted.
"I got what I wanted," I boasted.

Reid continued to hang out with them but then the birthday boy barfed all over the patio and I realized maybe I should start crushing on older men.

I went to a party for my friend Anne at LUSH. One of her friends there was a therapist but she said she charged extra for being at the bar. Ugh. Fine. This gorgeous man who I always see at the bar and on Grindr was there and I introduced myself to him. All I said was "Hiimjakey" and shook his hand frenetically.

"Um, I'm Corey," he said. That was the end of our interaction. My friend Jeff who was there said he dated him in college and that he is like a puppy dog. Perfect!

Dane and I both needed haircuts because our stealth ginger was showing.

"Are you really ginger?" Jeff, who is a proud ginger, asked. "What color are your pubes?"
"I'm not answering that," Dane answered.
"Nair," I answered.

Then Dane and I went to the bathroom together but I didn't want to use the trough and we spent three minutes talking about peeing in public and then COREY came out of the bathroom stall! I can't have nice things. I went to Charlie's house to watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show because I opened the next day and I party so hard on Fridays.


I got to cross off Valleyfair on my bucket list for the summer! Finally! Steve and I only stayed for five hours because it's different when you are two grown-ups, and an hour of that was in Soak City. I wanted to do Steel Venom again because I was going to marry Vlad, the strapping blonde who secured our safety. The girl running the Power Tower was really cranky and she smashed my junk TWICE because there was an annoying group of children on our ride who wanted to get off at the last minute. We pretended to kiss in the Wild Thing photo but nobody booed us because everyone else on the ride was Swedish and I was 90% happy with how progressive the world is now but I was 10% kinda bummed about it. I remember, like, ten years ago, these two bro-dudes kissed in their photo, maybe as a dare, and people booed the hell out of them.

"Let's have the guesser try your age!" Steve cried. Last year we did this and won a stuffed owl, but I was pegged at 26 because of the people I was with. The guesser was cute and looked like a teen idol. As I got closer, I saw he was identified as from De La Salle High School! I told the Lord I took back any previous comments about his looks. I really wanted to do weight because I had lost 10 pounds (thanks, anxiety!) but age is probably more fun.

The teen idol looked at me and jotted down a number. "I'm gonna write this down with a pencil and I can't change it," he said. "Okay. Go."
"30," I said.
"Really?" he asked with a grimace. Oh, God. He probably put down 42. Steve is going to laugh about this until I really AM 42.
"I put 22," said the heartthrob.

I tried hugging him but he recoiled. "Please just pick a prize," he said, and I panicked and picked a giraffe - type thing.


Sean was back in town this weekend and we continued our usual rapport, which is he buys me drinks and I coach him socially. We were talking to my friend Princess, although I avoided physical contact because Princess had just come back from the Kesha concert and had glitter all over him. We requested Madonna and Mariah Carey.

"I'm old enough to be your father," Sean told Princess.
"You don't need to include that in every conversation," I said. "It's not relevant."


The next night was major because it was the opening of GAME, which is a gay-themed sports bar! Joey couldn't go because he was at the Jay Brannan concert. Jay Brannan is his Mariah Carey. Ok, then. I just like the cover of "Your House".

My friend Max came to join us, and we watched Roseanne while waiting for the Uber. GAME had a block party but it was raining by the time we got there! Steve and I were going to wear matching jerseys but we didn't think of that until about ten minutes before leaving.

Anyway, it was totally packed in there, like PRIDE-level. We realized it was going to take us forever to slide up to the bar and get a drink.

"Get ready," said Steve, as we were surrounded by men who were a lot thicker and taller than we are.

I realized this would be our most athletic endeavor. Let's go to the tale of the tape as we represent America in Drinking Olympics.


EMMERT                                                                           HOWELL
5'7", 120                                                                              5'8", 135

Good with bartenders                                                       Former varsity athlete
Easily distracted                                                                Only wants Blue Moon

There was an opening and we slid right in. GOLD MEDAL.

"Thank God we're tiny," Steve said.
"I don't know what I want," I said. DOWNGRADE TO SILVER.

GAME was super fun -- I recognized the staff, including this cute boy who I met at the 19 and then met at the UpDown and he said he now sees me everywhere and I said "I hope not sporadically" which is totally a rip-off from Clueless -- oh, and COREY was there so I waved at him over and over -- but my favorite people I met were an older straight couple.

"We have this table and we're not giving it up," said Sherry. 
"No dancing on the table for you?" I asked.
I thought her and her male partner were a gay man / straight girl relationship, but she later told me that they were engaged. Off my surprise, she added, "We're both widowed."
"So you get it," I said. "Life is short."


Reid, Joey, Steve and I played UNO the next night. After Game and Drink Four, I lost my shirt and my dignity and decided I was still butthurt about ShoesGate -- Joey and I had discussed it at Treasure Island before I cried at The Bodyguard on Whitney Houston's birthday -- and I was going to pop off like I was on The Bad Girls Club while Reid was outside smoking and Joey was forced into the role of Platonic Marriage Counselor. 

(The way I remember it is that I was super mature and dignified, and then I was later told that um, no, my shirt was off and I spilled vodka all over the coffee table. Fucking hell.)

Anyway, I re-enacted the whole thing and went on and on about how I actually felt that night. In that moment, Steve could have told me I was batshit crazy and he wouldn't have been wrong, but instead he said probably the best thing to tell a person when they are going batshit crazy:

"I'm sorry for what you ... thought ... happened in your head."

Like, that was all I really needed, y'know? Steve's new book, 10 Ways to Effectively Deal With a Crazy Person in Business and At Home, will be out next month from Scholastic.

And then I lost Uno.

I think I'm still crazy but maybe I'm just 30. I don't scream in the bathroom anymore so at least things are looking up.

Next week: The boys go on vacation because this isn't enough of a Real Housewives show!

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