When life drops something in your lap, you don’t stand up and brush it off. You grab it, hold it, maybe shake it a bit…
The point is, I’ve finally learned to be a “yes” person in my very “no” world.
(small pat on back: pat pat)
A few weeks ago a good friend asked me if I wanted to go see Louis C.K. with her at Caroline’s. I had very little work at the time and very little prospect of paying her back for the ticket, but…the chance to cross off #25 on my list? Yes, please. Who knew if I’d get another opportunity? My friend didn’t even know this was a list item, she just wanted to share the evening with someone who loves Louie the same way she does. And I love and appreciate that she thought of me. It was kismet, or one of those cheesy fate related words.
The day of the Louis C.K. show, I was (as usual) scrolling around on the Facebook when I saw in my feed the news I had been waiting for: there were tickets available for Daily Show tapings (I had looked into this right after making the list, but they weren’t any seats at that time.) I clicked the link and was confronted with a choice of dates: Monday, February 28, or a slew of dates in late March. The planner, the procrastinator, the overthinker in me wanted to pick a date later on so I could prepare myself. Then I realized I could be dead by late March, so I should just do it. Crossing off list item #11 so quickly would feel so so sweet.
So Monday it was.
In the space of four days, I saw up close and personal two of the funniest human beings in existence, in my humble (and correct) opinion. Hilarious in completely different ways, but both prone to pointing out life’s absurdest absurdities. There’s not much to tell you about these experiences. I experienced them. This mostly just involved laughing until my face and stomach hurt, until I couldn’t breathe.
Which is a surprisingly great feeling.
There is something so sexy about a wickedly smart sense of humor. My heart literally skipped a beat when I saw Jon Stewart. I don’t think there is a more intelligent, raging, riotous man on the planet.
These were two happenings I cared enough about to write down on my list. But the joy of being a “yes” person is that when something unexpected but wonderful crosses your radar, you don’t hesitate to participate in that as well.
An unconscious but worthy goal was accomplished last Wednesday when I attended The Talent Show at Littlefield, a performance space in Brooklyn, and saw Ira Glass dance. And then met him. Ira is the producer and host of NPR’s This American Life, and the more I listen to him the more he becomes my hero and teaches me the fundamentals of storytelling, a skill I am still far from understanding thoroughly. It was a little moment of unexpected magic, egged on by some lovely friends, and to feel for a millisecond like I orbit in the same universe as Ira Glass…that is a euphoric feeling.
A week later I went to Symphony Space on the Upper West Side to hear short stories read by the likes of two more brilliant This American Life contributors, David Rakoff and Mike Birbiglia. Besides being slightly stalker-ish of me, this event gave me a chance to see a new corner of the city, a new performance space (I love seeing new spaces in NYC as much as I love walking down new streets), and split my head open with new thoughts on that elusive art of storytelling. This event occurred after I had been out almost every night for a week, after I had been battling a stomach bug for four days, after I’d already spent enough money on entertainment for a month, let alone seven days.
But I said “yes” to a new experience. And I’m so glad I did. It was a lovely evening with two beautiful ladies and three thought-provoking stories.
I have to remember I have never said “yes” to something like this and regretted doing it. But there are lots of things I’ve said “no” to that I’ve regretted. Obvious but still unlearned lesson.
So in one week I breathed the same air as five people whose work I admire, respect, would dare to emulate. (Let’s not get into the fact that they’re all men. I need to fine me some lady heroes.) Maybe rubbing elbows with them included rubbing some of their success on me to have as my own.
But if not, it was still a pretty freaking fantastic week.