Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Same Yet Different.

As I've written before, deciding to write a 'sad' piece for Listen To Your Mother SF was a difficult decision.  I like to be funny.  Funny is just more, well, fun.  As I attended rehearsals my misgivings grew bigger.  I listened to the hilarious Margaret Garcia and Rhea St. Julien and watched the joy they spread.  Making an audience laugh is thrilling.  I felt a little jealous and full of self doubt over my choice.

I knew it was important for me to do something different, something uncomfortable, something vulnerable but what if I never got to do this again?  What if I'd missed my chance to make an auditorium laugh?

After the show people were so responsive to my piece I felt I had made the right choice.  So many people told me how it had helped them, moved them, healed them.  That's a lovely feeling - knowing you have helped someone.  The most notable example of this was the show's videographer.  He came backstage looking for me.  A middle aged man, with a quiet, gentle manner he asked if he could talk to me.  

My first thought was there had been a problem and my piece hadn't been video'd and I felt a stab of disappointment.  He surprised me by tearing up and proceeded to tell me that he too had lost his mother as a child.  He told me how much he still missed her.  He told me how much he had loved my piece and how it had resonated deeply for him.  I was so touched.  It was so unexpected.  We chatted about our mothers for several minutes. I thanked him for sharing his story with me - we hugged.  Then he said,

"Of course my mother left me over 18 hours of audio tapes, telling me her life story and giving me advice for my future, I love to listen to them."

How do I encapsulate my thoughts in that moment without looking like a terrible person - let's face it, I can't.

Are you kidding me?  No fair!  Don't pull me in with you tear filled, adult man eyes then drop that on me.  EIGHTEEN hours!!  I was looking for ONE letter and you lulled me into a sense of camaraderie with your 'same here' story then tell me you have EIGHTEEN hours of her,  her voice, her thoughts and feelings.   Not the same.  Not even close to the same.  For a fleeting second I thought maybe he was still filming and I was being Punk'd but no, he was genuine.  I muttered something about how happy I was for him that, at least, he had that to hold onto, then bolted for the backstage champagne.

Men are from Mars indeed.


  1. dumbass, yet what a lucky guy. dumb to share his bounty with you, but then, he's a guy. Something in them is just broken. Good for you for holding back and not slugging him!

  2. His timing sucked and perhaps his sensitivity chip misfired in that moment, but you moved him (and a whole audience of people, including me backstage, to tears). I haven't walked in your shoes so I can't understand necessarily the rage that moment engendered in you, but as your friend I'm sorry you were so hurt by it.

  3. So clearly my humor chip was broken as I relayed this story today. I've been saving it for the video drop and it was supposed to be funny. I laughed so hard about it that night - but somehow it got lost in translation. Lesson (in writing humor) learned.

  4. I watched your video. I thought I understood at the time about your mum and how you felt and it's very hard now to realize how little I really understood or supported you. Sorry. You are one of a very small number of people who I am very honored to know, let alone call a friend.

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