Dare You to put Your Tongue against the Subway Track...

Breach of etiquette: I triple-dog dare you.

That's also the subject of today's movie-quote quiz. I paraphrase, of course, but if you know it there should be no problem winning today's finsky.

Polar Bear swim at

The Pond

! Last one in is a higher order of human being who doesn't succumb to the pack mentality when it could mean his or her ultimate peril!

Seriously: I want to cuddle with anything with a pulse, in front of a real fireplace, whilst drinking mulled wine and humming

sea shanties

. Instead, I am diligently returned to my day job and, like an early evolution of tiny mammal, merely overjoyed to be within a contained structure that has heated air being pumped through it. On my way up from the F train today I saw a homeless person laying out in the middle of the concourse floor, covered by a ratty comforter. Show me the police officer who would kick out such a person in such weather, and I will beat that officer mercilessly. Because violence solves problems. ( <--IRONY ) Today I had the opportunity to come into closer contact with Mona's clients than I normally do. In point of fact, I had not so much contact with her client, as with her client's soon-to-be-ex-spouse. (I think as long as I don't name names I can't be fired for this disclosure.) Yes, today I actually had to venture back out into the f'ing cold to serve a summons for divorce on someone. This is the third time, in four years of working for the same attorney, that I have been blessed with the honor of this particular sort of task. It was definitely the most pleasant of the three. The individual seemed very nice and was certainly cooperative. You don't get that a lot in the business of matrimonial law. It may seem cold to perform this task under any circumstances, but I like to think that when it falls to me to perform it I have the opportunity to at least make it as painless as possible, whereas when a service service (yeah--that's accurate) is made incumbent to the same thing it is of necessity professionally cruel. That's how I comfort myself. I have no real comfort to offer the people I meet in this role. Thanks to

Neil Gaiman

for suggesting (via his characterization of


) that such a service is necessary and not necessarily vile. Just tough to accept.

An artist's life is invariably an interwoven mess of his or her personal, creative and professional lives (possibly best visualized by a

Pollack painting

). I'm not going to label myself an artist (leave that to the teeming masses) but I believe this metaphor extends to all those pursuing

The Third Life

(all rights reserved pending the apocalypse), and I sometimes wonder about the interrelationship between the elements of my particular pursuit. Today's task being a case in point, as is the fact that all my adult relationships to this point have been of necessity--to one extreme or another--long-distance ones. It doesn't exactly lend one an overwhelming confidence in one's ability to commit to and make work an ongoing relationship with someone, and I mean this both in the context of romantic entanglements as well as platonic ones.

Friend Patrick has made it something of his mission to remind me:

  1. Stability is not necessarily contrary to The Third Life; and
  2. Struggling ________s shouldn't fret over spending time/energy on things that simply make them happy.

For which I am eternally grateful. However, this encouragement has yet to make much of a dint in my wonderment over why the ol' personal life hasn't gone quite according to Hoyle. Not that I'm eager to attribute it to forces outside of my control or anything, but occasionally I have to wonder how best to make it work. And that's on good days. On bad days, I wonder if I've lost every chance for a long-term, meaningful relationship with someone by merit of prioritizing the career to the extent that I've had too many relationships fail not to have become jaded and absurd.

I try hard not to whine about it, but I am frustrated. The simple answer is, "Let go of the acting." You want a family, choose that and let the rest go. No dice, Cochise. I get about as far with that as I do on solving a

Rubik's cube

. It's not an option, and when I try to force that square peg into the round hole (minds: kindly remove yourselves from that gutter) it all goes to De Moines in a hand basket. Of course, there are varying degrees of compromise on this topic, and I've tried to explore them. Again: Rubik's cube. (I'm going to invent a "rubrics cube"; it can only be solved by speaking parenthetical advice at it until it suffers a system error from trying to process it all and catches fire, burning red until it's turned to slag...anyway...) Somehow I'm not yet ready to get a "real job" and practice community theatre, nor to apply to grad school and channel my creative energies into directing the senior class' production of

Angels in America

. Nor any of the other possibilities that spring to mind.

Yesterday I celebrated Friend Kira's thirtieth birthday with her. This March, the girl I moved to New York to be with is finally having her dream wedding. When I got out of college and was touring with children's theatre to save up enough money to move to this big city, I set my thirtieth year as the absolute, no-holds-barred decision date for hitting it, or quitting it, as regards pursuing a conventional family life. My thirtieth is impending, occurring in early June, at which time I will hopefully be in Italy, performing a clown piece in

Piazza Navona

. (Hear me, big G? For


, yo.) So much has changed for me in the past seven years, I'm no longer assured that deadline was a good call. Nevertheless, it weighs on me occasionally. Okay: more than occasionally. RATHER FREQUENTLY. Yeah. That much.

I would like to go back and delete the last two paragraphs there. If you know me, it probably sounds like whining. If you don't know me, it probably sounds like relentless self-justification. Wait: Maybe it's the reverse. If you


know . . . aw, to hell with it. It makes me vulnerable to admit that stuff, but come on. All you have to do is observe me for a short while for all of the above to be self-apparent. I'm not fooling anyone. Well, maybe Santa. Because I have yet to get just coal. Though I often wonder if generic electronics might not be today's equivalent.

What might be really hard to deal with is the fact that, of all my fantasies about how my life could go, which is my fantasy for this milestone of three decades?

In Bocca al Lupo

. Acting for spare change in a city in which I don't speak the native language. Not the fireplace. Not the Willsian progeny. Hat tricks and laughter in a piazza in Rome, which is really just a kind of New York with about two more millennia of history.

So there's no simple answer. Except, perhaps, to say that life is full of surprises. I figure if I can avoid choosing to apply my tongue to sub-zero-temperature alloys, then I'm still making reasonably intelligent decisions. So: I'll see you guys at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning at The Pond!