There's a lot to discuss.
By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer)
Holy crap, this week.
Most of the time politics is ugly, but you stick with it because of those very rare, sublime moments when it is beautiful.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 27, 2013
I’ve been trying to find the words to describe how I’m feeling about this week. And the only thing I can think of is PRESENT. This week has been a test in remaining in the moment while recognizing the past and looking forward to the future.
Do you ever have one of those days that you don’t plan, and yet everything moves so perfectly and seamlessly, it’s like you had your schedule blocked out?
I could speak about the complete roller coaster ride my heart has been on with the SCOTUS rulings: the absolute anger and utter devastation at the gutting of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, followed by the absolute joy and elation over the decimation of DOMA and Prop 8 on Wednesday. I could speak about staying up late on Tuesday night, watching a live stream of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis be the most amazing voice for her constituents. I could speak of feeling the pull of The Stonewall Inn on Wednesday night, and going down there to celebrate with my fellow human beings on this great step closer to equality.
But instead I want to talk about the best day ever. My friend, Amy, invited me for a day in the country on Monday. One of the pluses of working in theatre is having Monday off and being able to explore places while everyone else is stuck at work.
You get summer Fridays, I get summer Mondays. Who wins depends on the weather.
Amy is currently stage managing a show at Brits Off-Broadway called Dirty Great Love Story (which, by the way, is one of the most cleverly written and original shows I’ve seen in awhile. If you can get tickets before they close on Sunday, GO!) and one of her actors wanted to escape to the country for the day. So Amy rented a zip car and drove Katie (actor), Colin (house manager), and myself up to Warwick, New York for a day of wine tasting, cider drinking, and climbing cherry trees.
We talked about sex, God, and politics. We sat in the sun and ate chips and guac. We tasted ports that were too strong for June and discovered bourbon soaked brandy that you could pour over pancakes. We went to a farm down the road and basked in the strawberry filled air - a scent that Bed, Bath & Beyond tries to sell you in candle form, but here it was actual scent of real strawberries. We climbed cherry trees and found the unclaimed bunches on the tip top branches. And we brought home our bounty of berry, cherry, and winery goodness back to the City while blasting hits of the 90s on the radio.
It could’ve ended there. The day could’ve been a rousing success if we’d returned the zipcar by 6pm as scheduled, and went our separate ways. But then Katie piped up with the most brilliant of questions: “What is everyone doing now?” We all responded with a resounding utterance of “Um... nothing?” At which point, we made plans to go to Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar for dinner and cocktails. We shared a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. We listened to the jazz singer and guitarist play “Someone Like You” at an eighth of the original tempo. I ordered a Chocolate Manhattan and we sang an early Happy Birthday to Katie. We laughed and talked some more about nothing and everything.
As the sun began to fade, and you could tell this day was actually winding down, Katie mentioned off hand how she hadn’t been to any bars since arriving in New York from London. Amy, Colin and I hatched a plan to keep the party going and keep kitsch alive - we were going to do Harry Potter shots at Barcelona Bar. And so we did.
And we drank craft beers. And we watched the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. And we talked about how incredibly awesome this day had been. We left at one in the morning and took the A train back uptown together. And one by one, we all got off at our respective stops, giving hugs and kisses to one another and being incredibly grateful for this awesome day.
This week was incredible. This week was heartbreaking. This week was absurd. This week was mind blowing. This week was emotional. This week was real. And history will remember the things that happened this week with politics and human rights. I will remember the things that happened this week, as well.
But I hope I also remember climbing cherry trees. And singing along to Ace Of Base. And discussing Richard Dawkins. And learning what an “alcopop” is. I want to live more in the present and swim in the sea of here and now. I want to be conscious of my surroundings and alert to what is right in front of me. There is a lot happening in the world right now and it can be overwhelming. But I’d like to think that keeping in the moment and celebrating the joy in a Monday day off might make it all that much better.
Happy Pride weekend everyone. There’s a lot to celebrate.
is a native New Yorker and theatre baby. Her plays have been produced by The 52nd Street Project and Starfish Theatreworks. She currently makes a living as a Broadway treasurer.
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