So, there I was, sitting on the couch at about quarter to eleven last night, aimlessly scrolling and reassuring myself that whatever time I was wasting I’d get back when the Time Fairy broke into my house at 2 a.m. and gave me all my minutes back. Every time I’d switch from Twitter to Instagram I’d think “I should really get to bed.” And then I’d think “But what if something interesting happens? This hour is a free space on the BINGO card of responsible living.” And so it went, back and forth like that, for a while until suddenly, unbidden, The Second Hand, the piratical herald of the Time Fairy, mashed a claw through my window and screamed, “You fool! Tonight we’ve come to take yer hour! Yer in me debt now, and I charge interest!”
I was, truly, so shocked that I did not have the extra time I thought I did and I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there for living or the assumption of the future or something but, frankly, I’m too tired to figure it out. I was up all night wrestling the Time Fairy like Jacob wrestled the angel. But, reader, when she left, she left with all 60 of her minutes. And The Second Hand kicked over a potted plant on the way out.
The feeling of having an extra hour that you do not have is, I guess, similar to the feeling of misremembering a meeting time or walking around all day thinking it’s Tuesday when it’s really Wednesday. And there’s something to be said for gleefully declaring “Time is a construct!” and doing whatever you want whenever you want, but the rest of us are locked in a predatory loan situation with Google Calendar so it’s only going to get you so far. But there are so many instances when the question “what time is it right now (dot com)?” is less literal and more ephemeral, existential, conceptual. What time is it right now on vacation? What time is it right now at this big age? What time is it right now in your house, in your car, in your kid’s day, for your dog? I think about time so much. I’ve spent the past couple years writing about place in my plays and the way our stories are tied to physical locations and circumstances and I think I might be pivoting to time soon. Or maybe it’s all the same thing. Maybe time changes a place which prompts us to realize that it’s been changing us, too. Or maybe place is resistant to our changes, subject only to the chaotic malevolence of The Second Hand. I don’t know! I’m tired!
Here’s something else! On Friday, my friend Jeff and I went to go see Macy Gray in concert. I love concerts but I don’t like standing or being pushed around or really most of the things about concerts, so I don’t typically go. I figured, however, that Macy Gray at a small-ish venue in Baltimore wasn’t going exactly going to be Lollapalooza. We grabbed two stools by the bar (SEATED!) and had an absolute blast and I got so into it that, at one point, I was standing on the little stepping bar at the base of the stool, waving my arms back and forth and screaming. Screaming! The bouncer came over and told me to sit down because, uh, standing on the little wooden bar of a rickety bar stool is def not safe. But I didn’t care! Time is a construct and construction is a construct and I was having Dad’s Nite Out-level fun reliving my 20s with Macy Gray.
(One of my absolute favorite images. I will never not bring this up.)
Jeff is a few years younger than me and we were both surprised by how much older than us the crowd was. Everyone was in their mid-40s or 50s and, like me, were on their feet, twirling, and screaming like The Rolling Stones were in the house. This was momentarily jarring as we both assumed that Macy Gray’s core audience at her peak in the late 90s/early 2000s was melancholy queer teenagers as we had been. It wasn’t until we got to the venue and were midway through her 12-minute rendition of “Relating to a Psychopath” (she bowed in the middle) that we realized that perhaps the core purchasing audience for a Macy Gray album was, I dunno, people who were adults when the album came out. Like, people who listened to Macy Gray on their office radios (or whatever we were listening to then. Pandora? I don’t know.) People who actually bought the album instead of downloading it on Napster. This was stunning. And I felt a little foolish. Just because “The Letter” and “I Try” and “Still” were the soundtrack to a particularly fraught and, in retrospect, beautiful moment in my late adolescence and just because Macy Gray was and ever is the patron saint of chaotic chill, a value to which I aspired then and may have overshot now, does not mean that I was the only one who was hearing her. What a lovely discovery. What time is it at a Macy Gray concert? It’s 1999 and August 2001 and March 2020 and, somehow still, it’s also already 3 a.m. Outrageous!
Bailey sighed. "Am I an agent of a chaos or am I the growling stomach of the nation, hungry for change, starved with the malnutrition of misinformation, clearing the shelves of the grocery store of truth?!" He laughed again. "Just kidding. I was hungry. What a long day of being pet, being walked around, and refusing to capitulate."
Having dropped a cool half a billion dollars, Bloomberg tweeted that he was leaving the race for the same reason he got into it: "to defeat Donald Trump." Ah, yes, much to be inspired by here. This is a tactic from the Force Majeure school of politics. He's like "I wasn't running away from the avalanche; I was running toward the other side of the avalanche." Whomst among us hasn't spend the GDP of Tonga to achieve the opposite of what we set out to do? Mike Bloomberg's like "I said I wanted to be president but I also never said I didn't want to be president. Anyway, I gotta go dust my wine cave."
As someone who spent years of his youth embodying the soul and polyester body of one Charles Entertainment Cheese, I have long waited for the day when plush-size models would get their due in the fashion world. And, like a character breakfast at Disney World, when it occurred it was so much more than I'd hoped for: beautiful, overwhelming, and a little bit confusing.
Sergio, meanwhile, lives in a regular person apartment with his husband Kade, who meets Christian and then excuses himself with one of those "well, I'll let you boys get to it!" exits. I'm obsessed with this. They're standing in an apartment kitchen but Kade somehow manifests the energy of a gracious host of an estate in some bygone era. After the visit, Sergio invites Christian to play soccer with the promise of men in tiny shorts but then when they go, the men all have leggings on because it is winter and, yes, I have written a letter of complaint to the FCC. Between the gracious hosting and the soccer fraud, however, there's the monster in Sergio's bathroom, and it's there that we begin our superlatives!
Let’s Hang Out!
Wednesday, 3/11 - Speaking on queer joy at Loyola University, Maryland, 6:15pm
Monday, 3/16 - Hosting The Moth DC at City Winery, 7:30pm
Thursday, 3/19 - Hosting The Moth Mainstage Santa Barbara at Lobero Theater, 7:30pm
Random Thing on the Internet
In my early 2000s nostalgia and rumination on time, I remembered this video from So You Think You Can Dance set to Billy Porter’s song “Time”. I loved that show so much and I was so invested in every single contestant. This is one of my absolute favorite performances. Strong content warning: it’s a dance about grief, so please, please avoid if that energy isn’t where you want or need to be today. In fact, I’ll put an alternate video from SYTYCD below it.
And here’s a dubstep number about a poker game! This show is wild.
What time is it?