19 June 2009

Burning Bridges

The show opened today and I mainly want to blog on that tonight.

But some updates to topics and situations mentioned in the previous post are worth mentioning.

i - I am no longer the picture of perfect calm in the face of drama at the gig. And it's not ALL the adults in the group. The only bothersome antics have been acted out by the gal in charge. More on that situation later... (I don't know where that word came from -- "gal"....?)

ii - I am not biking to the theater. It is too damn hot for a woman of my age and condition to be biking 3 miles in the middle of a summer day in New Orleans. 101 degree heat index? Absolutely not.

iii - The ninth grade girl who thinks I am "awesome" is an incurable flirt...and I sure hope that works out for her. She has fallen in love at least 7 times in the last three weeks.


During the last week of rehearsals, it's not uncommon for things to get tense among people making a show together. It's adrenalin, it's creative juice. It's drama. I know this from experience.

Never in my experience of memory have I found a director or actor or crew member or anyone else associated with a show I'm doing as green-teeth irritating as the woman who founded and controls the current production.

Note: My optimism is such that I fully allow that she and I may come to share a productive, respectful, even gratifying relationship at some point in the future. So I am choosing my words with care in this blog entry; I mean, she might read this some day...

In that spirit, I will confine myself to "I" statements. Okay...

  1. I don't like to be told how to do something I already know how to do.
  2. I don't like to be interrupted when I speak.
  3. I don't like to be told how to do something by someone who doesn't know how to do it, e.g., play piano.
  4. I don't like to be condescended to.
  5. I am disappointed, embarrassed and frustrated by people who will not (cannot?) admit their mistakes.
  6. I'm pissed off by hypocrisy, e.g., when someone who never admits blame is ruthlessly punitive when someone else makes a mistake.
  7. I am envious and pouty when someone whose personality has been precisely described by items 1 through 6 above has power and opportunity that I wish I had.
So two days ago I decided "This is the last show I do with this woman." And then two minutes later thought Damn! I finally find myself right where I want to be, doing what I want to do and I've gotta leave again. I want to be playing music in New Orleans. I am playing music in New Orleans. I want to work with kids outside of the school system. I am working with kids outside of the school system. I want to get paid to do the work. etc. etc.

And it felt like Bridge Burning Time again. The word "again" is significant above: burning bridges is one of my habits.

Except this time I didn't knee-jerk strike the match.

When I tried to see my way to an alternative, my thoughts wound in circles, riding a roiling sea of emotion. So I went out with a friend for dinner and a Margarita, hoping my friend could help. Listening to her, my emotions settled. As well, I've talked with the other band members. most of them have worked with this poor woman for years. They see her craziness but it doesn't bother them any more. They've developed coping strategies. I'm beginning to think maybe I can develop a coping strategy.

We had three shows today.

I went out for coffee and a cigarette in the two-hour break between the first and second performances. A good idea: sitting on the steps of the big strange white building at Poydras and St. Charles, under a little bit of shade; hot but with a little bit of breeze and the sun behind a cloud now and then. Intermittently, reading Obama's book about his father and watching the passing people and vehicles.

I returned to the theater and had only one scratchy interaction with my perhaps-someday Friend. At the end of the second performance, when she came to the band with the (usual) (mostly) counter-productive changes, I attempted a calm response but was met with the (usual) interruption.

I smiled. Said, "Uh-huh," and, though we had a number of interactions before and after tonight's performance, I offered only nods, small smiles, a couple of "Uh-huhs" and "yeahs" and a "Sure!" for the rest of the day.

I don't want what she's bringing but neither do I want to burn this bridge into the New Orleans music/theater community.

I don't know if I have actually accomplished a full attitude adjustment or if the calm I feel at the moment is more directly a result of a) fewer encounters with her and b) keeping my mouth shut. Then again, perhaps that IS a strategy.


  1. Hm. I can see it all in my mind's eye ... I look forward to hearing about the breakthrough that will come out of these breakdowns!

  2. I've seen the knee jerk match strike (fire bomb?) a number of times from you. I'm glad you found a way to not react that way once again. You might be surprised that some of the bridges you once burned could be rebuilt with some effort.

  3. One method is to think that you'll outlive her/him/them, ignore them, and then do it your way.

    I'm surprised that I'm stil being hired to do the stuff I do, since I'm not apt to be beholden to anyone.

  4. Well, Anonymous.... I wonder who you are and I wonder which knee jerk match strike fire bomb event(s) in my history you're thinking of...

    I want to be clear here: leaving a bad situation abruptly is sometimes exactly the right move. We'll see what I decide as re this theater episode...

  5. Bill: I like the "ignore....do it your way" option. Thinking I'll outlive her? Doesn't actually register as a "plus" in my universe...


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