Never Done: Free Man of Color
Never Done: Called Apple to ask them to remove white nationalist iPhone App from iTunes
Tshuve: Time with Tabitha
Tshuve: Brooklyn Soup Swap
I feel like I haven't been writing many tshuve posts, even though I've been enjoying returning to some of the new routines I've recently started. At the end of a very full day, which included reading and marking up the contract for the screenplay option I am still working on (It took five hours to read and mark up this contract. Are any of you reader/friends entertainment lawyers who would like to answer a couple questions for me that my BA in Anthropology/Religion and my MFA in Dramatic Writing didn't prepare me for?); and having a phone meeting about my new international documentary film project, which I am doing with three wonderful people (I will ask them if it's OK to blog about it, and if they say yes, I will give details about it here); and calling Apple customer service to talk with them about why it's a bad idea for them to allow an iPhone/iPad/iPod app for the white nationalist group NumbersUSA .... at the end of that full day, I was hosting Soup Swap at my apartment, and an out-of-town guest for the weekend, and also spending just 20 minutes with Tabitha while her mom went to run an errand -- all while getting ready to go see John Guare's new play A Free Man of Color at Lincoln Center.
Also, it might be helpful for you to know that this week's mide (middah) is Equanimity: Rise above events that are inconsequential.
What I like about this mide is that it implies that there are events that are consequential -- and we just have to be able to figure out which ones they are.
When you are reading a legal contract that is written to represent the rights and responsibilities of two separate parties, the entire actual job is to determine what is, and what is not, consequential. That's why it took me 5 hours to sort through the document -- because it's not always easy to figure that out, even with a law degree. Is it OK if my name is not on the title card following the title card for the director? Maybe yes, maybe no. Is it OK to change the word hereto to herefor? I think it is. Is it OK to sign something that says we would have the first option to write the sequel as a work for hire, with no financial compensation. Um. No. The challenge for me though, is to be able to stay grounded while figuring these things out -- and not let anger, confusion, or frustration cloud my judgment, so I can keep figuring out what is consequential, and what is not. Rabbi Alissa Wise likes to think about a state of equanimity as being like seaweed. You're swept around by tides and currents and waves and storms, but you always stay rooted.
It was easy to stay grounded while talking with Apple Customer Service, because as soon as I explained who NumbersUSA is, and what white nationalism is, she found it to be deeply consequential. Interestingly, she took white nationalism seriously by comparing it to pornography, which is, apparently, the offensive material that most people call in to report.
Later, Tabitha and I were alone together for about 20 minutes, and she cried the entire time we were together. I assumed she was having a hard time understanding that her mom would be back because she hasn't yet developed object permanence, and so I just stayed close to her, and held her, and got down on the floor with her, and talked with her while she cried. I wasn't very thrown by it -- she would check me out every now and then and come crawling on top of me to get a hug, and then recommit herself to crying. So I knew she knew she was OK with me, just really not happy about something. When her mom came back, she told me that this had been going on all day, but Tabitha did get more relaxed when her mom was holding her. Until she suddenly threw up -- a lot -- all over herself, her mom, and a very little bit on the 0% bedbug couch. And just then -- no, really, just then -- our out-of-town guest arrived, with an entire meal she wanted to cook, just then.
So I was getting rags to help clean up the throw-up, and clean clothes for everyone to wear, and plastic bags for the pukey clothes, and accepting a bottle of wine from our guest, and finding a roasting pan so she could make chicken, and answering text messages from Esther who was about an hour late with the 8 quarts of soup she made and was bringing over for people to pick up, and getting dressed to go out to the theater, and finding the tin foil, and answering the door, and ..... I was seaweed. I really was seaweed. I was able to see that there were no crises, and that there were enough adults to do whatever needed to be done, and that Tabitha was feeling better once she got cleaned up, and that it was totally fine that people were going to have a nice dinner in my apartment without me, and that I was going to Lincoln Center to see a play that had gotten horrible reviews.
And you know what? I liked it. First of all, I had insanely good seats. Third row center, to watch Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def. I have definitely never done that before. I would sit in the third row center to watch those two play Monopoly. But also, I liked the play. Mostly. I didn't like Guare's treatment of women in the play, and while that is not inconsequential, I can forgive him for it because he set out to write about the Louisiana Purchase, race and slavery -- and not sexism and the subjugation of women. I admired the ambition of this play -- a play about race in the United States, in New Orleans, in 1801, during a transition from a racially free and mixed society to and racially enslaved one. I thought the story telling was consistent, and I thought the direction was bold, theatrical, imaginative, and also consistent. I was never bored. I was spellbound by Mos's acting. And in an unpredictable reaction, I decided I want to wear bloomers, waistcoats, and high boots this winter, and that I might try to sew myself some. Maybe in a lovely knotted-kelp green with dulse-colored polka dots.