Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some thoughts on my last day at 601

the view from my ex-office

I saw your picture today.

Yes, sir, yours. In black and white. You're sporting that full, proud head of hair in your headshot, staring out at the world with your best "you know you want this" look.

Now, you're a little... older. And thicker. And bald. It happens.

Oh, I saw yours too, missy-- you too with the hair, the leather jacket, and nothing but a lacy black bra underneath(!), looking for all the world like The Hot Extra in a Van Halen video.

Now you've got a different last name, a kid (two?), and don't really act much anymore. It happens.

And I saw you, too, my friend. I wasn't really prepared to see you today. You were alive then.

Now you're not. It happens.

I moved out of my office this weekend. As some of you know, my awesome and entirely too lenient landlords at 601 W. 26th in Manhattan had, when I shifted my base of operations to LA, offered me a sweetheart deal on my office, with the understanding that if a "full-price" taker came along, well, that was that.

How come we never, ever think these things will come to pass? I'm still in LA, mostly, and simply cannot justify full freight on my amazing office, so it was time to go. (But I will be back.) I'd been slow to respond, and February's a short month-- next thing you know I'm realizing that I've got ten days to clear out. Oh, I was prepared for the hassle: if you're an actor, chances are you're a "mover" too (funny, the things we get good at)... but.

What I was not at all prepared for was how difficult it would be inside.

My mom's a hoarder. Foolishly, I thought I was immune to this; I am cured of that misconception when I open a desk drawer and find it stuffed to capacity with paper napkins. (Hey-- they give 'em to you every time you get, like, anything at the commissary on the 8th floor-- and, ya know, Free Napkin! It just seems like a waste to chuck 'em.) (I'm right about this, BTW, and NOT crazy.) It takes about ten minutes to realize that A) I've been in this office longer than I'd thought, and B) there's been a whole lot of hoardin' going on. Time for some hard decisions. A little tough love.

So I labor. I agonize over each keep-it/chuck-it moment, and there are hundreds of them (How is this possible in a 10X10 office??). And in the midst of this Hoarder Hell... I finally arrive at my headshot files.

You should know this: if you have ever, ever walked into my office with a headshot, in any city, at any time... I still have it. I resolve to thin this herd by at least a half. It's ridiculous, really, all these crates. (As a side note, I'm saddened by the gaps in my recent collection due to the lazy proliferation of "oh let me just send it to you electronically." Do yourself a favor: print your headshot. Pay the money. Get the richest, most vivid headhsots you can, and carry them with you, and give them to people like me. It will pay off.)

So I spend the rest of the day staring. At you. So many headshots. Each one the representation of a dream. All these little triumphs, little heartbreaks.

Here's something I bet you think isn't true, but it is: I remember you. Whether we met on Harrison Ave or Babcock Street or East Broadway or South Street or Greene Street or 440 Lafayette or 6th Ave or Greenwich street or any of the other countless rooms I've rented over the years... I remember you.

And in remembering you then, I remember me then, too. Who I was. The sky I saw. The world I lived in.

And here's what I realize, as today's sky darkens and the lights of Manhattan outside my gorgeous window (sigh) twinkle to life and I'm still sitting, overwhelmed, amongst a sea of headshots: I'm proud of you. Because in the end, whatever the result, I think it is the attempt that counts. I believe that. I do. And I was a part of that and I'll bet I didn't say thank you but I am. Thankful. More than you know.

It's fully dark when I come to realize one more thing: I'm keeping your headshot. In fact, I'm not throwing out a single one.

IN those rare moments that I share, I sometimes tell people that what I want most in my life --my deepest fantasy, my porn-- is photo albums. Or, more to the point, to have a life where photo albums would exist. And every day I carry a little ache with me that I don't.

But sitting in that dark office I realize that I do.

You're my photo album.

601 W. 26th St.
Feb 28, 2011


  1. It's hard to swallow now and I'm afraid if I don't keep my eyes pointed toward the ceiling there will be more tears than I can handle. Focus. School pick-up for the girls, a pediatric dentist appointment, a visit to a potential preschool for the boys, dinner, baths, bedtime all upon me. Then laundry. And maybe, if there's anything left, a few words for the new play.

    I miss it. I miss it so much it hurts.

    I'm glad you're keeping the headshots.

  2. Just the best piece ever... I love you for this.