Dear Trevor Noah:
I hope you are taking good care of yourself and feeling better. But I feel moved to inform you that rescheduling your November 9th Milwaukee show threw me into full-on “First-World White Lady Existential Crisis” mode
Bruised vocal cords are no joke. So I’m glad you stayed home and took care of yourself. (That’s me in “Jewish Mother” mode…sort of.) (Real Jewish Mother mode would have involved leaving a container of homemade chicken soup on your doorstep*.)
When I got the email that you had added that 10 pm show on the ninth back in September, I thought “We’re still broke. Oh, well.”
Then I remembered that Sweetheart’s birthday is November 20thand that November 9thwas the Friday after the mid-term elections. I looked at my calendar to see whether I was off that Friday.
So, as it turned out, was Sweetheart.
Who knew a January heart attack would be paying dividends in November? He’d already taken the ninth off for a cardiology follow-up appointment. My manager was handy, and okayed an hour of comp time, which meant I could show up for work at 9:30 the day after the show.
Everything was lining up. Except, of course, for the money.
“Screw it. We’re gonna be dead in 50 years, what’s a little more credit card debt,” I thought, and snapped up a pair of sixth row center seats.
That night, when I got home, I meant to tell him right away. But I forgot until we were getting ready for bed.
“I got your birthday present today!”
There are a lot of reasons to love Sweetheart. One is that he is extremely practical.
“My birthday isn’t for two months.”
“So what!? Guess what I got you!”
Our house needs to go on a diet and lose 2/3 of its internal mass, so this was not an entirely insane guess.
“A nap!” I said.
He looked at me.
“Because we’re going to see Trevor Noah at 10 pm. on November 9th!”
Cut to November 9th:
The cardiology appointment went well. The waffles before the cardiology appointment were tasty. The trip to Target to get a battery for the motorcycle key was a success, as were our other pre-birthday present nap errands. We even got to our favorite rogue dog park, aka the cemetery.
At about 3, I booted up my computer to do a little writing, but first I checked my email.
We live relatively close to the theater. I needed to swap out some Milwaukee Rep season tickets for a different date and the box office is right across the entrance from the one handling your show. I figured your box office would be getting slammed with phone calls but not a lot of actual people. Going in person seemed the most efficient way to find out what was up with rescheduling/refund protocol. Also I’d be able to hug someone dealing with it, because she’s marrying my unofficial daughter Ivy and I figured she might suddenly be having a bit of a rough afternoon, which, as it turned out, she was. (Ivy showed up while I was there to pick something up. I got to hug her, too.)
So, instead of seeing you on Friday, we drank hot cocoa in our pajamas and watched “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” which I highly recommend if you haven’t already seen it.
The next day, I got another email announcing “great news!”
This was not “great news.” This was terrible news. January 5th is smack-dab in the middle of my annual weekend writer’s retreat three hours north.
First thought: “Dammit, even if I am a Gemini, I can’t be in two places at once!”
Next thought: “This is a First World problem if ever there was one.”
End result: “White Lady Existential Crisis”
One one shoulder: A weekend with my writing crew, making words in the middle of beautiful nowhere on the north end of Lake Michigan. Amazing food and the amazing companionship of a talented group of fierce and fabulous women led by the Queen of Fierce & Fabulous who is also the author of “Shut Up and Write.”
On the other shoulder: Sweetheart and I, together in Row F, sharing the “3D Trevor Noah in Real Time” Experience, even without the immediacy of the post-mid-term breakdown that was definitely a factor in deciding to spring for those tickets.
Grrrr. It turns out that I hate it when birthday presents spill over into my writing life, especially since I never get as much time as I’d like to write.
Which is not your fault, Trevor Noah. Me not writing as much as I want to is totally on me. Which is why, after much deliberation, I have decided to turn this batch of First-World lemons into lemon cake. Or maybe half a lemon cake, in the “glass half full” sense.
I am going to clear out a space in my house and turn it into a writing retreat location. Then, on January 5th, I am going to get up, eat oatmeal, drink coffee and retreat behind a closed door, only emerging for “little writer’s room” trips until lunchtime. After that, I will again retreat until dark, when I come out to enjoy a well-earned drink, dinner, birthday/First World lemon cake and you, at the Riverside.
On Sunday, as you make your way to Connecticut, or Illinois, or wherever you’re going next, I be in my writing den, churning out words.
In the meantime, thank you for reminding me how privileged I am, to, in a world where Californians are losing their homes and lives to fire and hate crimes are up 17 percent, get to have First World White Lady Problems.
I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas (you do Christmas, right? If not, Merry/Happy whatever you celebrate).
See you in January:
(*You never knock on a Real Jewish Mother Chicken Soup Dropoff; you call or text after the fact to let the recipient know it’s there so as not to: a) force a sick person to be social and/or b) risk catching what they have if it’s contagious.)