It is midnight again and as it usually happens, while most people around this time turn into a pumpkin, I come up with something important to say, write or do. Or so I think anyway…:)
The lab was so empty today. I almost felt like a student working after hours again. And then I had to send out that bitchy email about you leaving the doors open. I don’t want to suspend your privileges really. But I might have to do it. What is fair will come to me soon.
I remember my long hours at the lab. Especially before the show. The day was really special but it took me months to remember what happened again. The last five weeks especially…I took over an entire room to setup my show. Stayed there all night. Slept on the couch only to be woken up by techs coming in to fire up the Access Grid. And then there was Geoffrey.
At times like these, everyone needs a hero. And Geoffrey was my hero. Driving in the middle of the night to Home Depot…driving to the grocery store, laughing, crashing, brainstorming. I remember funny moments like calibrating cameras while listening to Nina Simone at max volume at odd times. And then there he was singing the lyrics to Oklahoma. Anyone who knows Geoff would find that crazy. And then there were the rumors about us sleeping together because nobody can imagine that you can have a friend like Geoff. And he will kill me if he reads this.
Testing, testing, testing. Hundreds of lines of code here and there. Strenuous committee meetings where nobody was happy. And then came the last week. And three days before the show Kang came up with the most stable yet version of tracking. And two days before the show came dance rehearsals. And then came an army of volunteers. We were on the tightest schedule ever.
Volunteers make EVL special. Students line up to help the graduating MFA’s because they seem to enjoy watching the turmoil and the madness at work. I volunteered for others, even if it just meant dressing up to be the prettiest goddamn hostess ever. It was important. And when my day came and thirty people appeared to want to help, I was much honored.
The night before the show was a miracle. I was in a frenzy, tuning and tuning and tuning and cleaning and setting up for the show. Marcus passed out on the couch. Geoff passed out on a countertop and I ran from one room to the next trying to find out why on earth the network was so noisy and Performer was so flaky. The network queen was being punished by the network. Soon morning came and Alan and the other support people set everything to a local network so to not rely on the school network performance for tracking. I was too fried to even do that myself.
After that, I *think* that we went home and slept for two hours. I took a shower, put on my turquoise linen dress and ran off to prep for the reception. A few hours later it started: the food, the people, the dance company, the fuss. It was relentless. Geoff and I kept a distance as if we had so overdosed on being around each other. But it all worked. It was a miracle. We were slammed with people and the dancers got nervous. I remember grabbing and hugging Robynne in the anechoic chamber/dressing room and telling her it will all be ok. I remember my godmother wondering why I was barefoot the whole time.
I don’t remember how the day ended. So many people that I didn’t know came. And then the people I knew were pleased. And the people I loved came in for at least one of the two days. My dad was proud. My uncle was so impressed that he paid for the catering. I don’t think that my mother even called but it didn’t matter anymore. The last performance was for the group of my closest friends. I remember so little of so much. Even when you think it is over it isn’t.
Then came the documentation and the paper and the video and the revisions from the committee. I drove for two hours getting continually lost while crying to get to Drew’s house to sign off on the papers at the last minute. And within days, I was moving out of state after eight years of a fully accessorized home. And I was bitter for all my previous relationships, all the stuff I had, and about the fact that neither ex came for the show. Little things like that.
I can’t quite describe the experience even two years later but for me it was magical. And the people around me helped me get through it one way or another. And I was the last one to perform on my floors…
Two years later, I am still living with my debt incurred on my last 1.5 years of my 4 year MFA stint. I could have just stuck to my business and I would have been golden right now. Making money on my own has never been a problem for me. But I remembered the teenager who picked up a TIME magazine with Dan Sandin and Tom DeFanti on the cover vowing to study VR at EVL, the teenager who worked all her summers at her dad’s hotel gift shop, the teenager who painted in the middle of the night much to her mother’s dismay, the teenager who left home at seventeen, the teenager who partied hard and worked harder…that was me. So I had to do the damn MFA if it killed me.
Sure I picked up a few bruises on the way but so what? What I am trying to say is, make it special. If your first time getting laid sucked, this is your time to make up for it. It can really be that good.
What are you waiting for? I will be standing by all of you kicking your ass and holding your hand.