Friday, September 30, 2011

This Is Not A Dress Rehearsal

It's been a weird week. Forgive me if this post is more sentimental than most. A year ago, I moved into this wacky artist's community along with a whole hoard of eclectic strangers. Now, leases are ending and people are moving.

Ten. Ten people are moving from my floor. It feels as though the rapture came and left me behind.

The Poet is left behind too, along with The Fonz and The Dancer. Also, The Mad Scientist is still in his laboratory becoming the next Edgar Allen Poe. But the mass exodus of neighbors was dramatic and a bit depressing.

This week seems like a series of scenes from a film:

The Chef making dinner for us one last time and announcing that life is not a dress rehearsal.

A party/impromptu recital in the basement, where bottles of wine were passed around in circles and a boy played the piano while The Chef yelled "THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL."

Sticking my head out the window and waving farewell to a hipster gnome who is moving to New York City. My next door neighbor stuck her head out the window too and I felt like we needed to start singing about how we weren't going to pay last year's rent.

Eating donuts with The Chef and The Poet outside on the picnic table late at night, listening as The Chef told us we needed to get out of town, make art that represented our personal truths, and live our lives as if we might die tomorrow.

Finding a six-page typed manifesto under my door (courtesy of one of my writer friends), recapping the year and encouraging everyone in their various artistic endeavors.

Going out to a bar with a big mess of people and laughing about all the things we've experienced together over the past year.

Waking up early to give The Chef a big hug before he bumbled off to Finland. This was the cherry on top of a very bittersweet week and the catalyst for the inevitable water works display that was destined to happen at some point. He even left a note addressed to the community, saying that he was leaving behind his beloved "sound sculpture" (yes, that would be the air mattress with train whistles and pan flutes shoved in it...) as a gift to the community.

Raiding the workshop after The Chef left and rescuing some of the paintings he left behind:

It's strange how The Chef hasn't even been gone for twelve hours and the place already seems strange and lifeless.  His room is empty and all that's left behind is an obnoxious air mattress and some bad paintings of Elvis.  A lot of cool people left this week, but I'm going to miss The Chef the most.  He was a great encouragement to me from the very beginning, not to mention my daily comic relief for an entire year.  I know he's the sort of person that can't stand to live in the same place/city/state/country for more than a year, but it's still sad seeing him disappear into the sunset like that.

"Peace and love," he said as he turned to walk down the hall for the last time.  "Good luck, rock on, love you guys, peace out."  I stood there next to The Poet and tried not to cry.  

I felt like the season finale of this sitcom had come to an end and the credits were rolling somewhere on some cosmic screen.  I guess all I can do is take all my memories and move on to next season's episodes.

This is not a dress rehearsal.  


  1. Awe - it's strange how a group of misfits can become a bizarre and dysfunctional family. But I don't doubt that there will be a new cast of characters coming your way. Hopefully they don't disappoint and the show gets cancelled.

  2. It's so true - there's definitely a core group of people here that I think of as my dysfunctional artist family, so watching people leave is really strange. But new people move in this week...we'll see what happens. The new people we've gotten so far are pretty lame in comparison to The Chef & Company (there's a lady who's art form is making dog cookies...) but there will surely be somebody interesting.

  3. This was a great post. Kind of made me envy your living situation. =) I don't know why I don't come over to your blog more.

    I wandered over today to tell you thank you for your comment on my last post. I really like the ideas that you put forth and feel silly for not having thought of them myself.

    Also...your blog is pure magic.

  4. :) Thanks! Your sweet comment made my day.

  5. Man, I am so far behind on your life. Stupid life getting in the way.

    I remember at the end of camp each year, when I was still there as full-time staff, feeling very much the same way as the summer staff departed.

    It's very bittersweet. I hope The Chef at least provided you with a way to keep in touch. It would be a shame to find out that he is gone forever, never to be heard from on the series again.


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