Sunday, February 28, 2010

Up In Flames

On my way to work a few days ago I saw a homeless man trying to light his hair on fire with a Zippo.

Had I known that this was a sign for where my day was headed I might have declared him a prophet, pulled my boat ashore and left my nets to follow him. (It’s a Biblical reference, people – I’m from the Midwest – what do you want from me?!)

A few hours later, I was in FedEx, sending off envelopes. There were about nine people ahead of me and the one employee working was clearly frazzled and kept apologizing to all of us.

Finally, I was the only one left in the store and just as I was about to talk to her about the pros and cons of shipping overnight, something happened. She took one look at me and burst into tears.



I didn’t know what to do. So I dropped my envelopes and awkwardly reached across the counter to pat her shoulder.

It’s okay…this job is tough. You’re doing really well.

She looked at me and kept wailing.

I’m just SO OVERWHELMED. There were so many people!! And I’m having a family emergency and my replacement is late!!

So, I did what any good Midwest girl would have done. I offered to buy her some Coke.

I know a guy who sells it on Sunset and Laurel Canyon.

KIDDING. Mom, that was just a joke….A JOKE!

I bought her a Coca Cola and tried to make her laugh. (I swear if I’m any more like my father I may start growing a mustache.)

Eventually she calmed down.

Soon, people started coming back into the store, she started working again, soda in hand, and I left wiping her tears off my sleeve and wondering if that really happened.

That night, I got to thinking about how sometimes my life feels like a series of never ending fire fighting – yeah I know, I’m coming down a little hard on the 'fire' metaphor.

But stay with me.

Los Angeles seems to be full of people walking around pretending they are okay. Pretending they are not soaked in gasoline and just one spark away from going up in flames.

From breaking down at your job in front of a stranger.

Or giving up all together and deciding to light your own hair on fire.

I am the queen of pretending that I’m okay. Pretending that I’m not over-stressed, or over-tired, or overwhelmed. Even if I’m standing around the ruins of my life and a friend asks me how I am, I always respond…

Oh, I’m fine! And you?

I admire the guts it takes to admit that you are not fine. To admit you need a Coca-Cola (or in my case a Gin Dirty Martini.)

Sometimes life comes at you too hot and too quickly. You might not survive if you don’t reach out to someone.

The longer I’m here, the more I learn I can’t fight the flames alone.

There is so much peroxide in my hair I wouldn’t stand a chance.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

For those of you who couldn't attend the In the Company Of Jane Doe (if you just joined us that was the show I just wrapped up) I thought I would bring the show to you! What follows are some production shots I love by the very talented Jeremy Roush.

Yes, this does look like I'm at the gynecologist...but I assure you that the rusty sickle CoCo Kleppinger is holding is used strictly for people interested in cloning themselves.

I called this my my Ariel moment as I signed away my life. Also, I love this actor, Isaac Wade. He is brilliant.

We obviously had no fun with costumes and props.

This is me considering what would happen if I ruined the whole show. And Hannah Beck is recording it all.

This scene never failed to break me (from laughter.) Why? Notice the uni-brow, the looks of contempt, and the HUGE hair.

This is Sara Kaye who played my clone. I know, the resembelence is striking... But it gave me good motivation when I had to be jealous of her (I wish I was that petite, I wish I had that cool tattoo on my wrist, I wish I could pull off a fur hood so well, etc.)

A moment of realization. Or as I liked to call it, the moment I realized I only had two sentences left to try and remember.

I saved this one for the end. This is how I feel in traffic.

See? Now it was like you were there! Plus, you got the added bonus of my commentary (which I'm sure was not annoying in the least.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

They Like Me, They Really Like Me

A few days ago I was recognized at a bar.

And I don't mean someone recognized that I was the girl eating fried food at midnight or I was the person who still had a Nebraska driver's license even though she's lived in California for a year and a half.

I was recognized for being an actor. Some circles might say 'celebrity.' (That circle is made up of my mother, my grandpa, and myself in my wildest dreams.)

I was sitting there among friends, drinking and thinking about leaving when all of a sudden two twenty-something girls approached our booth. They looked at each other excitedly, nodded their heads, and sidled up next to us.

Are you the girl from the 'Jane Doe' play?

I stared at them and nodded my head.

Oh. MY. God. We thought it was you when we saw you from across the bar! We just wanted to come over and say how much we LOVED YOU in that show! It was so funny! We loved everyone! It was so good and we are SO EXCITED to meet you!

As you can imagine I had to pick my jaw up from the floor and hand my friend Rachel (who was visiting from Minnesota) an oxygen tank.

I stammered a thank you and wondered whom they knew in the production. And guess what, gang!? They didn't know ANYONE. They came becuase they wanted to see theatre. I may have blacked out when they told me that.

My first fans then insisted that I come to a party they were throwing the next night, gave us their number, and told me their other friend would 'FREAK OUT' if I was to come.


Eventually, they left in a bustle of smiles and 'OMGs.'

Did that just happen? Had I had one too many Citron and sodas?

Finally, after we regained consciousness Rachel looked at me, shocked.

Here I was hoping to see a celebrity in Los Angeles and it turns out I was sitting right next to one.

I do have to say, that might be one of the craziest things to happen to me out here yet. For that brief moment I felt like a celebrity - at least a B-list one.

And now the show is over and it's time to find a new project.

I am no longer Jane Doe.

I am Jessica Runck.

Who occasionally gets recognized in a bar.