Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Artists in The Concrete Jungle

I've lived on the East Coast far longer than I imagined I would when I first relocated to pursue the blaring lights of Broadway and two of my deceased aunt's favorite soap operas - One Life To Live and All My Children. I've yet to perform on Broadway, and realized that performing on soap operas aren't for me, eighteen hour days notwithstanding.

I originally thought I'd get invaluable training and knowledge performing off-Broadway, and make my way out West, find an agent, land a TV series or three, and several supporting character film roles before returning to New York for my Broadway debut. It's still not too late to realize my performing goals, but I think it will happen with one-man shows or plays that I write and direct in the future.

Most artists in urban cities, unless they have parental support, must live with roommates to survive and audition on a regular basis. Roommates are a necessary evil. Living with a roommate isn't always easy because two or more strangers attempt to coexist while respecting each others' boundaries, not drinking the last two glasses of low fat or soy milk clearly marked with masking tape and magic marker, or forgetting to leave a note when out of state relatives phone.

Roommates require understanding, endless patience (if you intend to live together more than three months), and selective recall. Living with someone in a big city other than a family member or a trusted friend from grade school can wear on the nerves, but the alternative is moving to a more affordable city or your birthplace.

I believe that roommates we seek on some level are extensions of or missing links to our personalities. I think I'd make a great father, and to that end my roommate for the last three years is younger and needs limitless encouragement, nurturing, and support. We have become father and son. I never wanted to raise an adult child, but this is who the universe has sent me for a lesson I'm supposed to learn - I think.

An unfortunate side effect to some roommate situations is that the dynamic can morph into an old married couple, replete with old wounds that refuse to heal, petty jealousies, and competing for attention with mutual friends.

I've lived with several memorable roommates: a human lab rat who subjected himself to all sorts of poking and prodding to earn money, a female kleptomaniac with a penchant for Paloma Picasso lipstick, a gadabout who'd seduced his sister if it meant getting something he wanted, and a peeping tom.

I know it's because I'm an oldest child who as an adult became
an overprotective nurturing father figure that the above sampling of broken-winged souls found their way to my door.

I never set out to create an artist's commune or charitable organization in my apartment, but there were times that might have happened with the assortment of people who followed the beacon from my lighthouse. At the end of the day or just after sunrise, this thing that I do, this way of being, weighs heavy on my mind and soul.

My family and former classmates are in Texas, and it was a hard lesson to try not to recreate or repopulate my emotional life with people who might have resembled those I left behind. It's not healthy. Some of the roommate choices I've made were snap decisions because I wanted to save money, audition more, and live what I thought was an artistic life in New York.

The most important lesson I've learned, and sometimes have to remind myself is that everyone and everything we try to escape, hide, or avoid finds us in subtle and blatant ways. Problems dealing with your mother or father, odds are you will date or live with someone who's just like your parent. Unresolved anger issues? You'll undoubtedly find the one person in your new city that stomps on every landmine you've buried. Never learned how to balance your checkbook and maintain your finances? Watch out. You'll live with a shopaholic whose carefree spending confuses you as s/he tells you the rent will be late again.

My solution to the roommate shuffle is to become financially solvent in the next few years and buy real estate so that I don't have to depend on anyone else to share the expenses.


SerenityLife said...

Dang, boy..it's like the ODD COUPLE in your home! Sorry =(..

This is why I live alone. I cannot take insanity around me but at least you have a friend?! I think?!?!

Okay Dad! Bye! 8)

Message Media Ed. said...

I've been living solo for about 7 years now. Before that, I really enjoyed having a roommate. All of my roommates are still really close friends to this day. Recently, my honey moved in and now I have to live with a boy! It's been wonderful living with someone you love... but he's still a boy (there's hair all over the bathroom now, crumbs everywhere and he's very loud and walks really hard) lol, i love him though so you just have to ride with it :) Anyway, thanks for your entry. It brought up some fun memories.