Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 39

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There’s a guy who works at either a taco stand or a gas station around 2 miles from my house whose job it is to dress like Statue of Liberty and walk across the street either away from his job at the taco stand towards the gas station and then back, or vice versa, while dancing to whatever’s playing on his iPod.  It’s not clear where he works because he’s not carrying a sign, and neither the taco stand nor the gas station has anything to do with “Liberty” or “Statues” or “Crazy Guy Dancing”.  You know what?  He may even just be a volunteer or a guy with a weird obsession.  In any case, even that guy would have been bored by my day.

Coming off of a day where Hollywood “messed with the wrong guy”, the potential was all there for me to have an extremely productive day.  I went to bed last night fired up to start the outline of the script I told my agent I’d be done with two weeks ago, but for some reason I got no traction.  The problem was, I woke up too early and never caught up.  I realized I was done for when on the way to meet some friends for coffee the song, “I Hope You Dance” came on the radio (that’s right, that’s the kind of song that is likely to come up on one of my preset stations which are: The Greatest Hits on Earth; Classic Rock; Soft Rock; Adult Contemporary; Today’s best hit music; and Commercial modern rock).  Now, if that song came up on your radio station, you’d probably either change the station, shut off the radio, or maybe sell your car.   Not only did I not immediately change the station, I turned it up.  Not only did I turn it up, I hit the button to see if it was Lee Ann Rimes or the other one who sang it (it was the other one).  Not only did I find out who sang it, I started weeping softly and said, “it’s true!”  At that point I should have gone home and taken a nap, or driven straight into a lamp post, but I didn’t.  I kept going with that mournful syrup providing the soundtrack to my day.  (I guarantee that song is not on the ipod of Statue of Liberty gas station/taco cart guy).

As errands continued to eat up my day I continued to hold out hope that I would start writing my “vengeance pilot”, all the while fighting the urge to “still stand small while I stood beside the ocean”.  But for some reason, I was hell-bent on drowsily killing my day.  I took my daily trip to Whole Foods, where I ran into a fellow sitcom writer and engaged in the banter that only sitcom writers can pull off in real life: “Hey!” “Hey!” “So–?” “You know.” “Any word?” “Not yet.  You?” “Still waiting.”  “Hey, you should write a movie.” “Maybe”. “Cool”.  (Could you imagine that witty repartee in a movie?)  I then decided it was essential that I had a fold-away keyboard so I could use my iPad to write my journal when I go away in three weeks.  I went to my favorite place on earth: The Apple Store.  The Apple Store is so hell-bent on inventing stuff that even when they don’t have new products they come up with stuff.  Today’s invention was an umbrella condom machine.  I’m not kidding.  Since it was raining, they had this machine at the entrance of the store where you stuck your umbrella in and pulled it out with a little plastic sheath on it.  You should have heard the witty dialogue I had with the umbrella condom concierge: “So it’s like an umbrella condom.” “I guess.”  I then went upstairs, my umbrella fully protected, and proceeded to tell one of the Apple Asperger Geniuses that I wanted a fold-up keyboard for my iPad.  He told me Apple didn’t carry them.  I asked who did.  He said he didn’t know.  But I knew he knew.  You should have heard the clever way I got the information out of him: “Come on, dude.” “Try Best Buy”.  So I did.  Whenever one door closes I hope one door opens…

Now, way past my nap time, I went into Best Buy and asked Giant Earring Earhole Guy for a fold up keyboard and he looked at me as if I were the one who had two giant corks in each earlobe.  He said they didn’t carry them (Curse you, Apple Asperger Genius!) but he offered me the same one that was at the Apple Store but for $10 more.  I couldn’t go back to the Apple Store so I paid the premium for a new Apple keyboard, only to come home and discover that it is the exact keyboard that I’m typing on right now.  You see how my day is going?

At the end of the day, after my son put me to sleep by reading, “Is it Springtime, Mamma?” I woke up, determined to get something done.  I also wanted it to be writing, realizing that the days have slipped by with me only writing in this journal– which is fun, but is not furthering my career.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t summon up the necessary creativity/resentment necessary to start writing a pilot, so I wrote the other piece that I had due: a letter to be added to my will documenting how my wife and I would like our children to be raised in the awful event that we perish simultaneously.  We haven’t updated our will since our son was born, and our lifestyle has changed, so I thought I would use this time to take care of this uncomfortable business.  It turns out that writing such a letter is more difficult than writing a pilot (my first draft of the letter had painfully few jokes).  The truth is, I should have written: “I don’t know, you try it and see how hard it is.”  But I wanted to include broad strokes on directions that we’d like to see our kids grow in, all the while trying to strip out any emotion, because if I had to picture for a second my kids living without me and my wife it would tear my heart out.

After writing as generic draft as possible– mostly containing numbers of other people they should ask to help out– I showed it to my wife who basically reacted as if I had given her a phone tree.  I told her it was too hard for me: despite our (my) shortcomings, my wife and I are the perfect parents to our kids and the only way that they’ll reach their full potential is by being raised by us.  I told my wife to agree that we wouldn’t die.  She did.  She always comes through with a calm confidence, whether telling me that I’m going to get a job, or that I’m not going to die, that settles my nerves.  And then I asked her again.  She said we’re not going to die.  Again, her soothing tones calmed my anxious soul.  Thank God for Shawni.  Then I asked her again.  She snapped, “Will you stop!  You’re making me nervous!”

Anyway, that letter and this entry are the only things I wrote today.  I hope my kids will never have to read either.  And I hope that they’ll give faith a fighting chance.  And if they get the choice to sit it out or dance….

I hope they dance.


Written by 100daysoff

March 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. At the end of this installment I am provided the following: “Possibly related posts (automatically generated): Taco Station Now Open Near PCC” But nothing about a guy in a statue of liberty costume.


    March 24, 2011 at 8:47 pm

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