Bramhall Square (Portland dating column)

Waiting game
By CAITLIN SHETTERLY  |  October 27, 2008

Somebody once said something about how the best things in life are worth waiting for. I’d love to know who that was. I hate waiting. As Dan Bern says, “like even for a bus or somethin’.” Yet it seems to be the name of my game.

Last week, in New York City for auditions, which I hoped might keep my acting career in the game from the safety of Maine, I spent at least half of the time waiting. Waiting in a room full of actors — each one hoping, each one brave enough to pour his or her heart through the sieve of a character in front of a perfect influential stranger — to be called into a large room where I was instructed to stand behind a red line before spilling my self like a glass of cold water into classical and contemporary characters of my own choosing. Sometimes I was told to go away, wait some more, and come back and make a character stoned all of a sudden even though she would never be stoned in a million years and suddenly I’d feel exhausted from all the waiting and I’d find myself waiting to just see some small glimmer of “yes” in the eyes of my auditioner, because as actors our lives often hang in the balance of someone else’s power.

I also waited for three years for my ex-boyfriend to show up at Starbucks and take me to our old apartment where I could finally reclaim my last bits of things left waiting for me.

Before waiting for him I had spent the morning waiting in my car for the street cleaning rules to change. I can’t think of any other city in which this happens — indeed I’ve never seen it before and since I didn’t own a car when I lived in Manhattan (like most people who live in the city) I wasn’t privy to this particular New York experience. After my alarm buzzed me up much too early (I had consumed a large bottle of Cabernet with an amusing dinner guest and a fabulous meal of pan-fried chicken with broccoli rabe as balm to my acting blues the night before), I blearily made my way to my Subaru wagon sticking out like a solitary fat-assed hippo from Maine in among a pack of sports car hyenas, a few sleek Lexus zebras, and a nasty-but-fast dingo or two. There she waited for me, patient and untouched, brave on her own in the big city. As I came down the sidewalk, I noticed that the entire opposite side of the street, the side without street-cleaning rules, was double-parked. On closer inspection I realized that inside every car was a person who had just vacated his or her spot on the illegal side (the side to be cleaned) and was comfortably reading the Times, having coffee, checking e-mail, or making phone calls while guarding a plum spot right in front of their brownstone door.

Back home in Portland, the closest thing I’ve seen in my neighborhood is the doofus next door to me who drives an F550 (if such a thing exists — just picture the largest truck you’ve ever seen) plowing and re-plowing the snow that’s already been plowed all day on a Saturday while I wait for him to stop already.

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