“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” — Roald Dahl
I cut my finger.
Please be nice to me.
I’m having a hard day.
The thing about my profession is that you learn to tell stories in a snipped, short, fast, and cryptic way, mostly because at any given moment an actress is bound to walk between you and whoever you are talking to wanting to change her shoes, or wig, or dress. And usually, during that moment, the actress also want to change the subject of the conversation. Mainly, she’ll want to talk about herself.
So it goes. And it seems that part of what we get paid for is our quick wit, secret lives, and willingness to listen to drivel in fits and spurts, in a kind and gentle way.
Kelly’s very good at talking fast and living large. So much so that her life reads like an adult version of a Roald Dahl story. Last night, between cues, she got embroiled in a heated internet argument on an interior design site. Apparently, she mentioned, among other things while asking for interior design help, that her a boyfriend is a little messy, which is an issue when sharing a 300 square foot studio apartment.
Instead of decorating advice, she received unfavorable psychological diagnoses from any number of angry interior designers who probably figure that the first rule of interior design is to get rid of any person who might muck up their design by actually living in the space.
Well, she called them all idiots the public forum and then realized that she had used her own name as her handle. Kelly’s a performance artist in her own right, a good one at that, so she also quickly realized that she needed to change her handle so that none of the disgruntled interior designers would show up at her current show and boo her off stage.
People, it seems, allow the angry voices in their heads to read simple emails, descriptions, and explanations with a dramatic flair that gives them a reason to prove their own personal fables. We’re all monsters because they say we are. Because that’s what those angry voices want to see with their angry eyes. It’s what they want to hear.
What I’m saying is that I cut my finger. No offense. It hurts. Nothing personal. I cried after I did it, but I mean that in the nicest possible way. And I’m having a bad day, but it’s not because of you.
Yesterday morning, a snowflake landed on my dog’s forehead. I bent down to look at it and she lifted her paw up to my knee, pleading for me to take her back in. It was a perfect star above her left eye and moment I never want to forget. I wiped it away and coaxed her over to her favorite tree.
In the evening, the snow had turned to rain and the radiator I pretend is my fireplace hissed and spat. Sadie and I curled up on the yellow chair to leaf through, once more, my dog-eared copy of Susie’s AlaskaMen magazine, 2012. It’s like a novel with the last pages ripped out. I want to know what happened to all the men. How their years turned out. If anyone sent them a letter.
The male to female ratio in Fairbanks is 16,907 to 14,846. Nearly one to one. The median age is 28 years old, perfect fodder for a cougar in a snow-bunny suit. There are 129 registered sex-offenders and one miniature golf course.
I’m not a cougar, though, and I’m tired of lies and half-truths. I amended my sparse profile to admit that I am a traveler, currently exploring the world. Looking for people to talk with.
It’s the truth. But no one wants to hear it.
My profile is on fire. It’s raining men. And they all want to know the me they think I am.
It must be lonely in Alaska. And cold. Maybe it’s hard to look at all the beauty out there through only one pair of eyes.
I’ve built a life around being uniquely ill-prepared for the moments that love has knocked on my door. I’ve let it slip through my fingers as if it were cheap and easy to find. It always seemed to me that relationships were a beautiful, confining bondage, at once comforting and limiting, in which we all become blank pages for the another’s story. Figments of each others’ imaginations. Fun-house mirrors.
But it would be fun to step into someone else’s skin and rattle around. That is, of course, if the loud, angry voices don’t get in the way and ruin the gift of sharing a moment, an idea, the taste of a dessert, the tickle of grass on your neck as you watch the clouds…
I had to wait an hour before Kelly and I crossed paths again. Before she had thirty-seconds to finish her story.
The pressure was on. She couldn’t think of a handle. She had to change her name fast and any name she could think of was already taken. Until she came upon it. Her new handle for the interior design site. The code name that would grant her immunity and freedom of expression.
“What was it,” I press her. Time is short. The song is coming to an end.
“I called myself ‘yodelayhehayhehoo.'”
She doesn’t see it, but Kelly is one of the most magical people I know.
If you’re in New York, check out her show: