Heigh-ho, The Glamorous Life

I’m writing this on my iPhone, 31,023.6 feet in the air. I have another hour to go before my colleague Kevin and I arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after leaving Los Angeles early this morning. And San Francisco two days prior to that. 

Kevin and I are on a regional audition tour for Marymount Manhattan College, where we both teach. He is such a gifted teacher and a true friend. We run the auditions together, make decisions, then have a little free time before going out to a fantastic dinner. Sometimes we see theatre, or go to a museum. And we laugh. A LOT. Then we’re on to the next city.

Oh, and we’re seeing HAMILTON in Chicago tonight (thanks to one of our amazingly talented MMC alumns, who got us house seats). 

Almost 48 hours after we return to New York, I’ll board another plane to London for four days. I’m doing research for a presentation and seeing a lot of theatre, including DREAMGIRLS with Amber Riley [enter squeals of delight here]. 

It all sounds pretty glamorous, doesn’t it? At least it can look that way based on the pictures and posts I make on social media. And in many ways it is. Coming from a family of fairly stationary folks, the fact that I have recently been in San Fran, LA, Chicago, Sydney, Chicago again, and will soon be in London, Atlanta, Boston, and Stockholm is ridiculously cool. And I’m getting paid to go to most these places. Who wouldn’t love that?

I’m writing this on my iPhone, 31,013.8 feet in the air. We don’t feel the fluctuation of 10 feet as we zoom over Iowa. There’s something a little disturbing to me about that. Not feeling the changes, I mean. Traveling for work keeps one in a constant state of flux. What time zone are we in? What time does our information session start in this city? Is this the venue with a keyboard instead of a piano? Everything melds together. And then you get on another plane. 

I’m in the middle seat. On American Airlines. This is a good time to mention I’m 6’4.5″, sandwiched between to other big guys. I couldn’t do the work I needed to on the 3-and-change flight because the teenager directly in front of me thinks of her seat as more of a beach chair. My ass is asleep, and my legs aching to get the hell out of this confined space. There is no getting comfortable. American Airlines, man…

Minor complaints, true, considering my life is glamorous. 

Exactly a year ago, Kevin and I had the worst case of food poisoning the night before traveling to Chicago. We were so weak, we wondered if we could even get through security. We did somehow. We were spared that travesty this year, not even making eye contact with the 24 Hour Kitchen on Santa Monica Boulevard, next to the Ramada, where we’ve stayed two consecutive years.  

But what about that musty smell in the hotel room in San Fran this year.? And the delays on more than half of our flights because of weather and (it sometimes feels) pure spite. And eating out gets old fast. And I miss home. And there’s this guy I’m seeing…

First-world problems, I hear you say. And you’re totally right. All of them are. This is the life I dreamed of having when I gazed out of my bedroom window in my sleepy hometown of Camden, New York. And in many respects this life is dynamite (for me, at least). I guess I just share this as a reminder to myself and young folks staring out of their own windows, aching for the same opportunities. 

We each are collaborators with the universe, designing our desired lives. Those lives (careers, relationships, etc…) come with some wonderful opportunities. They also come with a price tag. Nothing is free, even when it appears to be .

Am I OK with what I give up to be a traveling artist? On most days, yes. Today…?

But then I remember I’m seeing HAMILTON in Chicago tonight.

Yes, I am OK with this.

I’m writing this on my iPhone, 14,757.2 feet in the air. It’s time to prepare for landing. I know Kevin and I will see some talented people in Chicago and have some good meals. We’ll hopefully get home in time for me to pick up with my life in New York. Just enough time to do laundry, teach several lessons, pack, and leave again. 

I made this life choice. And I love it.

Most of the time…

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