Milton Berle was an apparent TV god from the 1950s. He came up with the theory that TV audiences got bored, listless and lost interest sitting for extended times because the studios were too warm. (Couldn't be the writing, or Death-inducing stopdowns due to technical problems) so he insisted that his studios be kept below 70°. And TV producers figure if below 70 is funny, imagine how funny 60° would be. This extrapolation has been now taken to ridiculous ends.
Letterman has a thermometer at his desk monitoring that the temperature does not vary from 54°. This is mimicked by all the TV studios. When Letterman came to L.A. years ago, CBS installed 2 additional AC units on the roof of Stages 36/46 just to insure 54° could be maintained at all time.
Yeah, hilarious. Luckily, Jaq was working with me on this job but I was late, so I couldn't sit next to her for the morning tapings.
The night before, Abe and I got in an argument. I had a possible day that week we could have spent together if he could come with me on two field trips (an audition and a class in valet parking). He didn't return my calls and made other plans thinking I would be busy. The miscommunication ignited a greater argument about effort in the relationship and quality time together.
I said my asshole thing, "If we continue to see each other only one day every two weeks, we should seriously consider seeing other people."
He said his asshole thing, "I do everything for you, and you do nothing for me."
And from there, corresponding paranoia about those two hurtful comments grew like fungus in my refrigerator. He worried I wanted to see other people. I worried/worry that I don't have enough to offer him as a girlfriend.
I woke up that morning at 6:30am, exhausted from my two week work marathon, and left a message confessing that I don't want to see other people, I don't know why I said it and I love him. My voice was raspy from the cold morning and general fatigue.
The last time I saw Abe, he was walking one of my dogs. I was behind him and could see a corner of his boxers. I said, "I love that your underwear matches your eye color."
He turned his shaggy head of hair backwards to look at me. His bright blue eyes splashed like drops of paint from a brush for a second before my dog pulled him several rapid feet ahead of us. His head swung back around. My eyes fell back down on the waist band of his boxers. (Thanksgiving Prayer #1, Thank you for showing me how beautiful the color blue is)
When I got to the ice fucking cold studio, I couldn't help but think about his friend, a close female friend of his (we will call her Amber). Abe carried a torch for Amber throughout their friendship over the years, though nothing was ever consummated raising the flag for my already proven theory that only the penetrated shall pass. Abe and Amber suffered a rift in communication when our relationship took off last spring. And, finally, Amber recently broke up with her boyfriend.
Ok, lets gather all three of those little nuggets, throw them in a hat and call it "Worrisome." In my mind, I could see Abe going over to Amber's after our fight and venting about my asshole comment for seeing other people. He would explain how we went through all of this in the summer and now are reliving old problems that may never go away. He and Amber would be drinking. She would confess how jealous she has been. They would kiss which would lead to heavy petting and then . . . my cheeks were burning. Why could I see it so clearly?
I had to leave my cell phone in the car because of this particular studio's rules. I was waiting for him to leave that voice message, "Hey, look. Something happened last night, I went over to Amber's and . . ."
I kept staring at the lights on the stage, forcing myself to rethink the worst case scenario over and over and over so that it wouldn't hurt when it actually happened.
I found Jaq during a commercial break. Em had given her snacks the night before for our long day on the Million Dollar Money Drop. (Thanksgiving Prayer #2: Thank you for such great friends. Something I have sorely missed for most of my life.)
I confided in Jaq about the conversation over brown bananas. Jaq said, "People say really hurtful things when they miss each other. It has happened to me before. Its just because you haven't seen each other in so long and you two are frustrated." I nodded my head quietly, thinking about my asshole comment and how fucking ignorant and careless it was for me to say something like that. It is manipulative and mean and I would have to respect the fact that he doesn't want to tolerate it.
I avoided going back to my car for my phone at lunch. I didn't want to deal with bad news for the latter half of the day. When we got back to the studio, I was able to sit next to Jaq.
A couple came on as contestants. They had a long distance relationship for 3 years (New York to California) and were now married for 5 months. I wondered how long they would last since they hadn't had time to settle into each other. I think something is potentially delusional in a relationship that lives on events. When you wait to see each other it is an event. As opposed to a relationship where you get to know each other in the daily routine. You can experience each other in real life, not on vacation.
The new bride said, "We agreed in our first year of marriage we wouldn't have a microwave or a television set so we would have to cook our meals and talk to each other every night. " Crowd, "AWWWWWW!!"
Aw indeed. That's fucking poetic. Maybe they would make it, after all.
Jaq was distracting me with conversation. I adore her. Jaq, "Ray (her boyfriend) says, 'Why do you smoke when you have asthma?' and I tell him, I didn't have asthma when I started smoking."
Audience Fluffer, "And we're back from commercial!!!" We all stopped conversation and applauded. Jaq and I were in the pretty girl section, so we had to get up and feign enthusiasm for camera.
NEXT COMMERCIAL BREAK:
Jaq, "Would you get jealous if I got married first?"
Me, "I already have gotten married first." And divorced first. ;-)
Jaq, "You know what I mean."
Me, "Um ... no." Marriage isn't what it was to me. We all played with Barbie Dolls and watched Disney movies. We have to get married. We all feel that way. I went through it. I spent too much money on a wedding (rather my parents spent too much money on a wedding) that I didn't really enjoy to someone I knew, deep down, wasn't my soul mate. I did it because I thought it was a necessary step to becoming an adult. I was wrong, it has nothing to do with being an adult. But we all learn that lesson soon enough.
Jaq, "Would you get jealous if I had a baby first?"
Me, (thinking YES!) "This isn't a competition. I thought you didn't want a baby . . ."
Jaq, "I don't want to have to go through childbirth, at least not without medication. I want the bong hit ready for right after the baby is born."
I said, "Giving birth doesn't have to be so bad. Have you seen 'The Business of Being Born'? Ricki Lake gave birth to a baby in her bathtub and barely made a noise. Just a 'plunk'- see? A baby!"
Jaq, "I know I am going to get a C-section. My mother got a C-section both times."
Me, "Maybe you two have slightly different body types."
Jaq, "No. She has a small clitoris. I have a small clitoris."
Me, "How do you know your mother has a small clitoris?"
Jaq, "I don't want to talk about it."
Audience Fluffer, "And we're back from commercial!!!" APPLAUSE!!!!
NEXT COMMERCIAL BREAK:
Me, "I don't think Abe is a boob man. I don't know what kind of man he is."
Jaq, "Ray is definitely a boob man, but I don't have feeling there."
Me, "You don't?"
Jaq, "No. Didn't I tell you about the time they were almost ripped off and I didn't notice."
Audience Fluffer, "And we're back from commercial!!!" APPLAUSE!!!
After we wrapped, I went to my car and saw the text message I was waiting for all day.
Abe: "What time r u off tomorrow? Want to bring u flowers."
I am an idiot.
The next day, I was doing audience for a Fran Drescher Show. We were stuck outside in the breezy, Los Angeles winter for over an hour in nice clothes. Abe was going to be at my apartment before I was. It had been a difficult two weeks.
Actress in line, "Mariah Carey is such a bitch. You know when I worked on one of her projects, they put some of her clips in my hair and she said, all bitchy like, 'Why is she wearing my clips? Be careful. Don't lose them!' She is sooooo pretty and has a great voice . . . but, yeah, such a bitch."
A school bus full of kids pulled up in front of us, waiting for the stop light. This audience call was only women, so we all started cooing and giggling. The kids waved at us, and we waved back. One child motioned that he liked my heart shaped sun glasses. I felt warm all of a sudden. Life can be beautiful, even while waiting on cement on a cold day . . . in platform heels.
Actress in line,"I met Cuba Gooding Jr. He licked my hand and part of me was like 'Ewww. Gross.' then the other part of me was like 'Oooooh!'"
After we got inside, I was counting down the minutes. The show was fairly interesting. The studio wasn't cold. And, during down time, they were playing hits from the 90s during I knew all the words to.
Me singing, "Donnie D is on the back up, drug free, so put the crack up." I turned to the girl next to me. "I remember in 8th grade taping this off the radio. You had to write down the lyrics to memorize them. Rewind, play. Rewind, play.
Girl next to me, "Aww that's so cute."
Cute? Did I just date myself?
I looked to the camera man for the musical break where Marky Mark stops rapping and mouthed the words to him "Yeah . . . can you feel it baby . . . I can to." The camera man was like 60 and instantly uncomfortable. He avoided eye contact with me for the rest of the night.
I got home to Abe. There was that nervous energy of post-fight, pre-kiss. I ran up the stairs and saw him. His hair is shaggy, but it falls short just over the back of his neck. Every time I see that smooth spot on his neck, I smile. Its so boyishly wonderful. He swung around and met my eyes with a smile. He looked a little frightened of me.
He said, ''Hey!" He was already cleaning. I jumped on him and kissed him. Home, sweet, home.
We couldn't decide whether we wanted to eat or have sex first. Honestly, I was grappling between the two choices on the car ride home. Sex won.
Abe, "What position should we try this time?"
Me, "I could spin like a pin wheel."
Abe, "Are you referring to zero gravity?"
Me, "No, why?"
Abe, "Because that would require zero gravity."
I love that boy.
He took me to the Cheesecake Factory afterward where they made me a lovely, carby pasta dish with the champagne martinis I love so much. (Thanksgiving Prayer #3, thank you for keeping the Cheesecake Factory open until 12:30am.)
While piling food into my mouth and sipping golden deliciousness, I said, "I feel like I am high on Oxycotin."
The two gay men at the table next to us looked over, disapprovingly.
Abe said, "Don't you mean Oxytocin?"
Me (with a mouthful), "Mmm, yeah. Oxytocin."
ox·y·to·cin/ˌɒksɪˈtoʊsən/ Show Spelled[ok-si-toh-suhn]
1. a polypeptide hormone, produced by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, that stimulates contraction of the smooth muscle of the uterus.I said, "I have never felt this high before in my entire life." I forced every spoonful of food into my mouth despite my stomach's attempts to close it off. Food tastes better around him. Why is that?
I told him about the couple on the show. How they spent 3 years apart and were now married on 5 months. Abe said, "I think it would be easier to have a relationship where you hardly ever saw each other than one where you periodically see each other."
He looked at me and a tiny smile sprang on my face. He missed me, too. It wasn't his desperation for independence that kept him away. That is what I have been fearing all along.
We went home, warmed up the bedroom with my space heater, and climbed under the covers.
We woke up the next morning, Abe's arm around me, my head on his shoulder and Belle, my gray, tiger kitty's head squeezed under my arm and on top of Abe's chest.
Abe barely opened his eyes and said, "Good morning, Baby."
My space heater went off in the night, and the cold, morning air was settling over our blanket. I had to get out of bed and turn it back on.
I closed my eyes again. Nothing could make me move.