Basic at The Groundlings – Part 4 (The “I Imploded” Chapter)

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

screen of Homer's computer at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Picking up from yesterday

I crashed and burned so hard in the second half of class. So hard.

Beginning with that fateful Tuesday class (and all the bawling my eyes out that followed), I flamed out.
For the final three classes, I either didn’t go (that Thursday), or I showed up late (both times the following week).

Of course, that is a horrible attitude to take. I may have been pretty sure that I’d ruined all of my chances of passing, but there were still things to learn. I guess more than anything, I was so embarrassed. I didn’t really have a desire to show my face anymore. Or to ruin other people’s scenes by, you know, being there.

“But wait. Aurora! This doesn’t sound like the girl that we know,” says any of you who used to know me back when I was fiery and cool (and blindly ambitious).

big red/yellow flame explosion cloud over Springfield on the Simpsons

Yeah, I know. Trust me. I’ve been reflecting a lot over the past few weeks. And this was not the girl you knew. Chin up, though. The girl in this story gets a little better toward the next time she takes Basic.

In sort of my defense (even though I don’t deserve one); at the end of that Basic that I took with Jordan, I started a new job as an Assistant Editor on Swamp People. It was hard to make Basic work with my new schedule. Sure, I could’ve made it work, had I made it a priority. But I didn’t. I cringed at the thought of walking through the door to the school.

On the last day, we get our final evaluations. I wanted to at least say goodbye to Jordan, thank him for being such an amazing teacher, and apologize profusely for imploding.

There’s a surprising amount of freedom in an evaluation when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not going to pass. Obviously, it sucks in the sense that I was a big, fat failure. But it was fun in the sense of no nerves. I could go in all smiles and laughs with Jordan, and make fun of myself for being the horrible, horrendous improviser that I was.

This is how I imagine I laughed and laughed at myself.

I laughed off my miserable performance. With a knowing smile on my face – knowing that it was the silliest idea to try improv in the first place – I said, “I should probably just forget it, shouldn’t I?”

He said, “No.”

(Semi-dramatic pause.)

I was so sure that he was going to say, “Yeah, obviously” (most likely in a nicer way, but nonetheless).

Instead, he said, “No. Don’t just forget it. Take Basic again. I really think you can pass next time. If you believe in yourself.”

It’s possible that that’s the “feel better spiel” he gives everyone, but it seemed quite genuine. So, I choose to feel special.

Thank goodness Jordan had such blind faith in me, and thank goodness I overcame my deep embarrassment long enough to go in and say goodbye. I almost certainly would’ve completely given up on improv had it not been for him. (I mean, come on. Who do I think I am?)

It was almost as though I had permission to think that improv was something I could do, if Jordan said it was. This is where I’ll pick up next time.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Back to the present day: I’m realizing this story is taking way longer to tell than I anticipated. (I know I’m giving you way more backstory and details than are necessary, so that’s part of it. (The biggest part of it – all of it, really)

Lisa Simpson, looking up, impatient, hands on hips

Aurora, are you ever gonna talk about running again, or what?

Improv has become really important (and often all-consuming) to me. So, I feel this incessant need to talk about every detail. (Sorry.)

I know that many of you read this blog to hear about running. And  I know I’ve have two races from two(!) weeks ago that I have yet to talk about. So, tomorrow, I’ll pause the improv story, and move on to Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle. (I shouldn’t get any further behind on running events (especially when I have another one coming up this weekend!).)

I said that you needed to know the story of improv before you heard about my races from that weekend. Really, the only information you need is that I passed Basic, but just barely.

(In case anyone is interested in the story of my improv classes, and the terrifying day when I passed by… I don’t know, a margin of something so small you can’t even see it – I’ll be working my way back to this story after catching up with running. (Yay!))

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?