I couldn’t have been gladder that I’d been there for the set-up. I’d always spent a great amount of time with my teacher, her team, and her family. And I’d already seen every piece of work in the center. So, I was there really just to mingle.
I saw some people I hadn’t seen in far too long, which was really nice. It was amazing to me how there were people I hadn’t seen in 5 or so years, and we ran up and hugged each other like we would’ve back in school.
While we all may have changed a little, it was so funny to see some of the exact same mannerisms and facial expressions that I remember from my friends.
One thing that’s kind of nice about being around the people who knew you in high school is that they know you. It doesn’t feel “L.A.” You don’t have to be worried about putting your absolute best foot forward and phrasing things in all the right ways, and trying to be sort of the shiny image of you complete with the sheen on top.
These people know you with all of your faults and embarrassing stories. They know you didn’t just turn 18 years old (no matter how much you try to get away with that in California). (Do not laugh. I could totally pass for 18… Maybe.)
You’re just you. And that’s maybe a little scary. But also kind of fabulous and freeing.
A couple of my friends actually commented on how great the place looked and how whoever set it up did an awesome job. I was totally not quiet, modest, and cool. I’d be all, “Funny you should say that; I totally helped! And thanks, by the way, thank you very much.”
I also got to meet some people who were in the program before me (some of whom I’d heard about before). It was lovely to hear so many people say they’d flown in that morning or afternoon and were leaving the very next day. They set aside less than a 24-hour period of their lives to come out to the midwest (and spent hundreds in airfare), just to turn around and go right back home.
And not a single person acted like it was a sacrifice or a rough thing. Everyone’s feeling was, “I would do absolutely anything for B. I didn’t think twice. Nothing could keep me from her celebration, and I literally could not imagine not being here.”
She is just so loved, and I knew that of course. But it was lovely to see that love. (The love was there for her husband as well, of course. I know I focus on her, ’cause I spent about 15x the amount of time with her than with him, but of course the whole team is very well loved.)
A number of people had flown in from California and New York (and Chicago), and it was pretty nice (and not surprising) to see how many of us (and we were only the group that could make it – there are many more) went on to work in the performing arts. I felt bonded with these people I’d never met because we went through the same program, and that equipped us for our lives.
I just thought it was funny to imagine this big group of people from the coasts descending onto the midwest, and to see in my head the drove heading back out the next day.
I also met the very capable and lovely theater president for the upcoming year. She was working her butt off all night, changing food trays, greeting people, and all that kind of stuff.
I met the new teacher. He seemed nice and very reverential toward the program.
(Side story: In case any of you snickered when I said yesterday that I could pass for 18, he first introduced himself as Mr. [new teacher] instead of [first name], because he said he thought I was a student! I know that’s nothing I should be proud of, ’cause youth, argh, gross – all those feelings I’m always talking about on here about society’s insane obsession with youth. However, it does mean I may be able to survive in Los Angeles for another year yet!)
As we talked, he asked me what I liked best about the program. It’s almost impossible to pick one thing, but this is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.