Worm Holes and the Infinite Universe

Posted: February 19, 2013 in Acting, Life, Mom, Russ
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve thought for years that the rift between Mom and myself started when I was a teenager – now I see it was actually quite a bit earlier. Right around the time Tim and I started to bond and create our own little world, we started taking her threats and hysteria a bit less seriously. I don’t remember what happened, exactly, but Tim and I were talking in the car – I think about alternate universes and whether or not they existed (we determined that they probably did, in some form) and Mom decided to go off about something. I think she felt I had done badly at an audition.

Mom: Show me what you did in the audition again.

I knew this was foolishness – it’s very difficult to replicate exactly what you did, especially for me. With music, acting, or anything else, each time I do it is slightly different – it’s kind of a one time shot. Still, I tried my best to approximate.

Mom: NO! That was terrible. You just bombed that audition.

I reflected back to the audition itself – I didn’t think I did such a bad job.

Me: Well, the casting person seemed to think I did okay.

Mom: This was a big one. This was the one that was going to make you. And you flushed it down the toilet!

I looked at her mildly. I had gotten so used to these outbursts I was barely responding anymore. I sighed, turned, and resumed my conversation with Tim.

Me: So, bro…when people time travel, do you think they end up creating alternate universes?

We tuned out Mom ranting and raving with our discussion. I glanced over, and saw that her eyes were literally bugging out of her head. She was clenching the steering while with a white knuckled fervor. I had a suspicions an unscheduled stop at Russ’s was in the offing. No doubt she would apologize to him about how badly I did on the audition, and ask for a second chance (aside from the fact that he had exactly zero to do with my acting career, this all seemed rather silly. Still, I bit my tongue).

Tim got fed up with her ranting, and with a shrug and a glance that said Sorry, bro he popped on his Walkman and disappeared. I grabbed a book and instantly buried myself in it. The problem with reading a book – especially when Mom was hyped up – was that I did not quite have as good a cloaking mechanism as Tim. He could ignore her with near impunity, considering his headphones were blasting. I could only attempt to be so absorbed and distracted with what I was reading that she didn’t even bother to disturb me. It didn’t always work. I got to hear about how awful I did, how I didn’t prepare well enough for the audition (even though I did), how I was going to be a failure and blow my chances. It was up to her to fix everything now and I better pray really hard that Russ would be understanding.

When I say that I was able to let her explosions roll of my back a bit more, that doesn’t mean I was unaffected. It’s just that her explosions stopped making me outwardly cry or yell – I did my best to keep a relatively calm demeanor. Inside, though, I alternated between worrying that everything she said was was true and trying to calm myself. Usually it was too much to deal with and I did my best not to think about it much. Still, I was usually inwardly roiling.

Looking back, I think that a lot of what she did was basically wage psychological warfare on her kids – Tim agrees. The thing is, I’m not sure she was even aware of any of this. Even if she was, she had (in her mind, anyway) a “good reason”. Like I said before, she’s basically a good person…just mentally sick.

Once home, Tim and I would hop on the Nintendo to play Super Mario or whatever. This was actually a really good method for drowning out the chaos, because there was a visual element as well as an audible element. Grandma didn’t understand it – she was suspicious of video games to begin with – and she didn’t like how engrossed we became. She could throw fits too – even more epic fits than Mom – but hers usually had a reason behind them. She was a little old Italian lady, so she was prone to fits of high drama and loud speeches. Either she had taken a sleeping pill and we woke her up by being too loud, or we didn’t come to dinner right away, or we didn’t clean our rooms, or whatever. We were so sensitive to outbursts that we shut off anything even remotely resembling them – and sometimes, that included Grandma.

Grandma: You kids aren’t even listening to me! It’s That Damn Nitenda.

Tim: NinTENDO, Grandma.

Grandma: Nitenda. Whatever.

For as long as she lived, it was not a Nintendo – it was That Damn Nitenda. All video games systems – and games themselves – were “Nitenda”. Tim and I laughed our asses off thinking about her trying to buy stuff from our Christmas list. We could just imagine her walking into Toys R Us or whatever and asking for a “Nitenda” (meaning a game, not the system), and the worker being horribly confused. Somehow, she managed to get it right most of the time – probably because we wrote stuff down for her.

I got a callback for that audition, by the way. I felt extremely validated – I knew, after all, that I had done a good job. I had prepared well, and gave a great read on the script. Mom had just been bugging out. She looked over at me with a very calm, almost beatific smile on her face.

Mom: You better call Russ and thank him for getting you that callback.




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