“I left school and couldn’t find acting work, so I started going to clubs where you could do stand-up. I’ve always improvised, and stand-up was this great release. All of a sudden, it was just me and the audience.”
“Comedy is acting out optimism.” Robin Williams
Another hotel room; corporate stab at a vision of home that only the cripplingly unimaginative could conceive. Home of false smells and manipulated light and temperature, where time rolls on unimpeded, unnoticed. Minibars where all manner of expensive luxuries become passé, where the decor calls to mind a Kleenex box – safe, sterile, innocuous, soothing in a way that speaks not of succor, but of a temporal easing of symptoms, perhaps a way to forgo the pain and discomfort by losing consciousness for an hour, a night, a week – however long it takes to feel better.
The most compelling feature in the room is the massive television, designed for me to take my mind off of me, even if it goes nowhere else. To ‘decompress’, as if merely the act of living had me squashed gutless. I watch and imagine that someone would watch me. I am a voyeur of myself as I peep into facsimiles of the lives of others, strangers. I need never come close, will never connect. Each parcel of time is doled out neatly, blocks cut into bricks, interspersed with talking vegetables, dancing children, important information about dog food, impressive possibilities for perfect skin, perfect families, perfect erections. Each half-hour is measured, as is each hotel stay, and I am just passing through.
Never mind what I am passing from- it is already gone, like lightning. Hard to distinguish one bolt from the next, though at the time, it was all I could see. Yesterday’s flash, marquees of a thousand bulbs are faded, no longer burned on the backs of my eyelids. I can’t see what is not in sight. What, then, am I moving towards, heading to? What will be new today, tonight, next week?
I don’t know. Today I can’t imagine. No matter where I go, I always return to me, and I am my own hotel room. I go into myself to retreat, to tickle the muse, to walk around naked, to do whatever I please, but once here, I am so, so, devastatingly disappointed. I go into myself, and spend my time looking out the window.
Tomorrow I will pretend that I am fine. That I am happy. Tomorrow I will pretend that I still have the capacity to care, that I am irradiated with energy and light and mirth; that good will, good faith , goodness will flow from me freely, and that the faces, upturned and glowing, will smile and laugh, offer me pearly teeth from ruby lips, throats gurgling laughter like gargled honey, thick and sweet and satisfying. We will nod, agreement all around. We will throw back our heads and laugh, laugh until we cry, laugh because we cry, laugh as if there was nothing to cry about, laugh because we feel, exquisitely, excruciatingly, because we are all here together, stuck in a snort of joy, a giggle of recognition, a wheeze of release; we will come together in a beautiful orgasm of understanding, connection and elation. We will laugh.
Not tonight, not here in this four star hotel room of my own, not after my sleeping pills and during the tv news, well before my last drink. But maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow, I think.