100daysoff

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

Day 86

with 6 comments


The city has been angry lately.  Must be because of pilot season, but I have gotten into two confrontations with fellow citizens in the past three days.  My first one was the other day when I was at the supermarket using the self-serve scanners.  I like to use them because it makes me feel like I work at the supermarket, but at the cost of taking about 35 minutes to check out my 12 items or less.  I had parked my cart next to the scanner adjacent to mine and a sour-looking woman went to use the scanner and aggressively pushed my cart out of the way.  I did what you would have done, I said, “Excuse me, you just pushed my cart away.”  She immediately became aggressive and said, “Why don’t you try not putting your cart wherever the hell you want to!”  She drew first blood, not knowing that I was a writer, until I came back with, “Why don’t you try being kind?”  She muttered to herself, “Oh, don’t even start…” and continued to angrily bag her groceries, but I could tell she was hurt and I’m not kidding.  There’s a sadness that certain people possess– I’ve dated these people– and when you exercise verbal jujitsu on them– using their own actions to cut them down– it stings.  I felt bad for her, but not enough to apologize.  I just bagged my final three groceries and ten minutes later was out the door.

The second, more aggressive confrontation came today.  What made today worse was that it happened with a man– and men for the most part are scarier– and it happened with my kids in the car.  I was taking them to school and I had literally just finished giving them a life-lesson on taking short cuts and how it has been my experience that they never, ever, get you where you’re going faster.  I then proceeded to give the kids a lesson on irony as I attempted to make a left turn in an on-coming turning lane to avoid waiting on the carpool line.  I was face to face with an angry, red-faced bald man with a mustache (there is no reason to be an older man with a mustache if you’re not a cop or a gay hustler, and he seemed to be neither).  He mouthed angrily, “Get out of my lane!”  I pointed that I was trying to turn.  He screamed, “MOVE!”  I gestured that I would move as soon as I could turn.  He then gave me the finger, repeatedly and animatedly.  I told him, “I have kids in the car”, and he mouthed, “I don’t care!” and kept giving me the finger.  Why I would try to reason with a guy who unapologetically sported a mustache was beyond me.  I then pulled up next to him and rolled down my window and said, “Hey!  I have kids in the car.  How about trying to be a human being!”  He responded, “Get over yourself!” and I said, “Be a human” and drove off.   The kids asked me why I yelled at that man and I explained that I didn’t.  They responded, “yes you did”– they will be writers some day, too– so I said, “he was saying bad things to me so I had to let him know he was wrong.”  “But why did you have to yell at them?”  I told them that the Bible says so.  Was it the best use of the “Bible” card?  Maybe not, but the conversation ended.  By the way, this wasn’t the first time I ran into road rage with my kids in the car.  The first time was when I tried to cut around someone making a left turn in a pickup truck and he got out of his car and approached my window and called me an “A–hole”.  I told him to relax and get back in his vehicle– I thought by saying “vehicle” he would think I was a cop.  He repeated that I was an “A–hole”.  I told him I had kids in the car.  He then looked in the back seat and said, “Kids, your father’s an A–hole”.  I think they knew, but it didn’t feel good to have it confirmed.

After shaking off my latest bout with a non-kind human, I went to another meeting.  This meeting was for another show about how men need to take back their masculinity.  As I waited for my meeting to begin, I ran into a buddy of mine who happens to be a partner in the company that produces the show.  As I was talking about how weird it is that there are a lot of shows that are about men trying to find their masculinity, he was blinded by the glare off of my nails.  “Is that a manicure?”  “Of course.  I get one every Friday.  Anyway, is that a real thing now about how men are drifting away from their masculinity…?”  The show was good– probably the best one I’ve seen so far– and the meeting was good, too.  It was with people I’ve met or heard of or who have worked with my sister before.  They were all people I was pre-disposed to like, and I think vice-versa.  I was very comfortable, as I usually am, but by the time the meeting was over I realized that I had hardly mentioned their show and how I would contribute to it.  Instead, I did a 20 minute set about working with William Shatner and flying for 17 hours with my family.  I never have a strategy going into a meeting, I always hope that by just being myself, and knowing that I’ve been doing this for so long and am good at what I do, that it will win me any job.  The real danger, of course, is that the guy with the pick-up truck was right.  What if I’m an A–hole?

The rest of my day was uninspired– more anxiety over hiring season– including a call from my former and maybe future boss to whom I confirmed that I was meeting on other shows.  Again, it’s a weird business– I may have a job, but I’m going to look for another job just in case I don’t.  And I can tell my current employer that I’m doing that because in this business it’s understandable.  I often imagine if this is how dating worked: I love you, but I’m going to date other people and try to sleep with them until you decide if we’re going to be a couple.  And you’re cool with it.  It’s actually not so far-fetched a notion, since my Horrible Ex-, the one I dated before my Crazy Ex– and I used to live together when she decided that we should see other people.  I said okay not realizing that she was already seeing someone who rang the bell at that particular moment.  That was a long night waiting up for her.  She was not kind, nor a human being.

So that’s, that.  More meeting, more waiting.  You talk to friends but there’s a palpable tension not knowing if they’re going to get the job you want.  I come home exhausted and battered, thinking of every possible scenario from getting my dream job to not working to having to choose between two jobs to having to take a job I don’t like.  I come home with this weight on my shoulders, entering the house I still owe almost as much as when I bought in ten years ago and am greeted by my wife who’s smiling.  I tell her I had a good meeting.  She smiles.  I tell her there are a lot of people who want this job.  She smiles again.  I tell her I’m anxious not knowing what I’ll be doing next year.  She still smiles.  Is she leaving me?  Why is she so happy?  She’s smiling because she’s not worried.   “It always works out for us.” “But what if it doesn’t?”  “Even if it doesn’t, it means it’s not supposed to, which means it really has worked out.”  Is that supposed to make me feel better?   Because somehow it does.

Tomorrow I have more meetings set up– more scripts to read, more pilots to watch, more anxious conversations with friends and snarky emails to my agent.  This process will take me every bit of the next two weeks and I know that the unexpected will happen at the last minute.  And I also know that whatever happens is what’s meant to happen.  But most of all, I know there are no shortcuts.  No good ones, anyway.

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Written by 100daysoff

May 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. I love you and your blog.

    Adam Chase

    May 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm

  2. I am so enjoying the “Jeff Astrof show”. It’s my little bit of California every morning.

    Marc Rosenberg

    May 10, 2011 at 3:45 am

  3. I love the mustache thoughts! So funny and sadly true…the molester mustache is the term my sons use.

    Judy Parazoo Buoy

    May 10, 2011 at 5:44 am

  4. Jeff Astrof: The mustached Isreali farmer and gun toting defender of the defenseless. Just don’t ask him to put together a shelf.

    Michael

    May 10, 2011 at 9:25 am

  5. Nice…very nice! You have a gift of taking the mundane activities and challenges of daily life and not only seeing the humor in it, but expressing the “teachable moment” as well.

    Steve Schultz

    May 10, 2011 at 11:59 am


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