Back when I had a blog I took it very seriously. I found it immensely satisfying to write an entire thing and publish it instantly.
Theater and TV are not like that. In theatre you labor over a thing for months, maybe years, and sometimes no one sees it. In TV the thing continues forever into the future (or at least that’s the desired effect), even after it’s been cancelled. In both cases you get haunted; either by what never was, or by what wasn’t enough.
But blog stories are gumdrops. Chomp, swallow, sigh. Gone. And another pops up right when you crave it.
That’s how I felt at the time, anyway. I forgot to write plays for a bit. I wanted gumdrops. Sourballs. M&Ms. Anything that dissolved too fast to get sticky.
This particular blog story is a kit-kat. You can break off pieces and eat ’em one at a time.
Smoke. Part one.
(Originally published on February 5th, 2005 at 11pm.)
When I was eleven years old, my parents decided to take us on the only family vacation we would ever have, to Downingtown PA. They got two rooms at a motel for a week, one for the three kids and one for just them. I have no real memory of why they decided this would be a swell place to take the family. I remember them asking us to run off and amuse ourselves in the attached recreation center, or in the lobby, or with our new Colorform set, while they stayed in their room. I remember we never left the motel the entire week. It was raining.
I remember being profoundly bored. I would go to the rec center and see how many weird ways I could run on the treadmill. The Commodore’s “Night Shift” was playing on repeat the entire time, and no one was ever there. I would go there by myself most times, leaving my brother and sister behind in the room to watch TV.
On my third day there, I was surprised to find a girl standing by the Pepsi machine outside the rec center, drinking from a can. She was skinny, face full of tan freckles, reddish-brown hair that came down to her shoulders, and a green terry tank top. She looked me up and down. “My parents stopped here for the night because of the rain,” she said. She asked how old I was. “Eleven.” She told me she was fourteen. She asked if there was anything fun to do around there. I told her about the rec center. She wasn’t impressed.
“Do you smoke?” she asked.