Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Acting Reality

"You two were busy last weekend," my 85 year-old neighbor said watering her geraniums.
"Norma, we went out, we celebrated, we laughed with friends!" I said as Mr. Wonderful and I set out the garbage bins. 
"Good," she said.
"It was great!"
"What will you do this weekend?"
"Work on the house," Mr. Wonderful said.
"… Oh."


Norma was born and bred in Hollywood but she was a terrible actress. She couldn't even pretend to hide her disappointment that after we'd had a DIY job-free weekend that we didn't want to make it a double header and play DIY hooky this weekend, too. Actually the DIY plans were Mr. Wonderful's. Personally I wasn't thrilled that we would be returning to the home improvement store--again--and getting sweaty, dirty and gross--again--for the benefit of The House--again. But I didn't let on to my spouse because unlike Norma I was (drum roll) an Ac-tor.  

Channeling Bette Davis, I found my motivation, flipped my hair back and tossed Norma a smile. "Yes, this weekend we're going to work on The House. Isn't that grand!" Then I waltzed to the curb pushing the stinky trash bin. Acting is all about putting on a brave face when the show must go on. At least that's what I learned from Lee Strasberg. Or was it Miss Piggy?

"Good morning neighbors!" a red-headed woman hollered from the street, her fluorescent power walking sneakers catching a flare from the morning sun. "Where were you last weekend?"
"Mary, we went out on the town to eat, drink and be merry!" I said with a grin Jennifer Lawrence would envy.   
"You didn't work on your house at all?"
"Nope!"
"But we will this weekend," Mr. Wonderful said.
"… Oh."

Mary was the nicest woman in the neighborhood. Correction, the nicest human being on the planet but even she could not pretend to be the good Christian woman she was and feign happiness that we would be working on the House--again--stirring up dust--again--drilling every hard surface we owned--again. The bible is full of Good Christian women but devoid of Academy Award winning actresses. Luckily I, the Ac-tor, was present to add the theatrical pizzazz.

"We left The House alone but, I do declare, we missed it so," I said dabbing my eyes with a tissue a la Vivien Leigh as 'Blanche DuBois'. "This weekend we won't spend it with the kindness of strangers but in the comfort of our beloved House." I couldn't let Mr. Wonderful question my motivation for the scene or my commitment to the DIY work on The House. And the Academy Award goes to moi!

Mary and my spouse looked at me as if I'd gone off my rocker--again. They clearly did not appreciate Tennessee Williams or the the-a-ter. What amateurs!

Climbing into our cars our 86 year old-neighbor waved us down.
"It was quiet here last weekend."
"Because, Harold, we spent the whole time on the town."
"… Oh." He rubbed his bald head. "What're you doing this weekend?"
"Working on The House," Mr. Wonderful said. 
"Sounds exciting," Harold said his eyes lighting up like sparklers on an August evening. "What're you going to do?" His enthusiasm for our DIY work was so genuine and so real it made me realize that: 1) Harold liked when we worked on The House. 2) Our DIY projects allowed Harold to vicariously experience home improvement. 3) Harold was a better actor than me. 

And the Academy Award goes to... Harold.

Always the bridesmaid never the bride. Sigh. It's a bummer being just an amateur.