Surviving a Hurricane

We had a spot of rain yesterday, as my fellow East Coast-ers may have noticed. Hurricane Sandy decided to take a little jaunt down this side of the continent, and boy, did she leave her mark.

While I certainly was less at-risk than many people I know- I do not live by any bodies of water; I live on the fourteenth floor of a building, so no flooding for me; and while I’m an internet addict, nothing imperative would be missed if I didn’t have internet or power- I was still a little nervous. Because while, yes, I do not live by any bodies of water, I do work on a cruise ship, and my last shift before the hurricane arrived ended by storm-proofing the ship. The marine crew are literally sleeping on the ship to keep it safe, but Sandy is stronger than those men and women if she really wants to do something, and I was kind of worried that I wouldn’t have a workplace, and therefore no job, if she decided to take the ship with her. I actually heard that there was a ship from that harbor on one of the streets, taken there by high tide and hurricane water, but since I’ve received two cheery e-mails from my manager today, I’m guessing that it was not us, thank God.

Also, though living on the fourteenth floor means that we won’t be flooded, I was a little worried about the wind. As I write this, and pretty much twenty-four hours of every day, I can hear something creaking on the roof above me. I think it might be ginormous satellite dishes for people’s cable, but that’s just a guess. Whatever it is, though, it creaks day and night, and I suspected that high-powered winds would, if not rip the creaky things off the roof, at least make the noise worse. Weirdly, the creaky things were completely silent during the many hours of the storm, but now they’re making themselves known again. The mystery will never cease.

What we also have in our building are two very, VERY loud alarms. Around 4 this morning, there was a power surge that set off both of them. One, apparently, is inside the apartment while the second is in the hallway. When the first one started, my sleep-soaked brain wondered why the boys were playing video games so loudly. As the other joined in and no amount of pillows and blankets over my head and fingers in my ears could drown out the sound, I decided that they sounded like the TARDIS. Instead of running outside like you’re supposed to when an alarm goes off, we just huddled in our beds and tried to block out the sound. It took way too long for the alarm the shut off.

We were also lucky in that, despite most of the areas around us, we did not lose power. It was flickering for hours, but never went out. This morning, I drove to the post office and most of the traffic lights were still out. There were lots of branches and leaves on the roads and some signs were destroyed, and on the street where I used to live, trees and power lines were down. But when I see pictures of New York and places by the ocean, I feel very lucky. As it is, my roommates have off until Friday, making it the first fall break any of us have ever seen at the university.

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AT LAST

Six months, to the day, since my last show closed.

94 audition request e-mails sent out.

39 auditions for film, television, and theatre.

5 callbacks.

And finally, finally, FINALLY… I have been cast! (I know that technically I have the staged reading, but I don’t count that, since I didn’t audition for it.)

Last night after work, I headed to my first reading rehearsal. It is exactly as I expected it to be: not that great. The lines feel awkward in my mouth, the director is so awkward that he makes me feel awkward, and it’s a bit disorganized. However, it’s acting, and I felt so much better after we read through it just because I was acting, even if the script from which I am acting isn’t awesome. And, as I’ve been told before, I need to calm down about my approach to readings. I see them as productions with a visible script, but most people see them as informal presentations.

This staged reading falls in the middle of the spectrum as far as the readings I’ve been involved in go. The first staged reading I ever did was at a professional theatre (though the reading itself was not one of their official presentations) and it was terrible. The play was super long, super terrible, and it wasn’t even a play, it was a musical, and after having the script for (I am not kidding) half an hour, we were supposed to know all of the songs by heart… except that the director wouldn’t let us touch the piano. The whole reading was a joke and people walked out of it. I did a different reading last summer in Philadelphia which was very informal but really fun. I got the part by default; my friend Kara was originally cast but then got a bigger and better part and suggested that the director cast me in her stead. The director, as well as the other three actors, were all graduates of my university, I knew all but one of them, and it was a great time.

This one will most definitely not be as torturous or terrible as that first one, but the second one was so nice that I don’t think this one will measure up. The director’s a bit nervous, but while one of the other actresses is very derisive about it (when we stood up to start rehearsing, she whispered in my ear, “If you’re used to real acting, you’ll be disappointed with this.”) but, while I find it uncomfortable, I’ve been the nervous playwright. I’m still the nervous playwright. I get it. Plus, even if the play were worse than it is and if the director were so nervous as to be incapable of speech, he’s self-producing something of his, which takes guts. So while I might not like his script, I’m going to treat him with respect because that’s what professionals do, and I consider myself a professional.

The script’s pretty short, so we were dismissed earlier than we planned. I drove right to my audition for a student film at one of the center city universities here. The director let me in and took me to the audition room, where four other people waited with a camera and a computer. I hadn’t been sent any sides, so when they handed me the script, it was the first time I’d seen the words. They gave me a second to look them over and then I read with the script supervisor. The first scene was a voice-over part, the second a dialogue with my character’s best friend. I got some nice reactions from the people in the room, and the supervisor gave me some direction and we did the dialogue again. We moved onto the third scene next, in which my prospective character had no lines. A weird thing happened during this scene- they gave me the direction and I understood what they were asking, but the conscious part of my mind was out to lunch. But there’s this unconscious part of my mind that has saved me innumerable times- remembering lines I’ve otherwise forgotten onstage, delivering song lyrics I’m desperately reaching for to my mouth during college auditions- kicked in again. All of a sudden the scene was over and I knew I’d done what they wanted, when they wanted it, but my conscious mind was going, ‘Wait, did the scene start? When was I supposed to give the camera that look? What just happened?’ After I did the voice-over part again (no direction), I was done.¬†As the director walked me out, we were chatting about how much we liked Old City and living in Philadelphia and then the director said the cruel words, “Your audition was really great. You’re definitely in my top two.”

While these words are, of course, very nice and complimentary on the surface, after nearly forty auditions, most of which have gone very well, I’ve started wishing that casting directors/directors wouldn’t tell me how good I am at their audition. I can’t count the number of auditions I’ve been on in the past six months where I’ve been told in one way or another that I’m great or perfect for the part or that they’ll definitely be contacting me, all of these words accompanied by a “You’re the one” smile, and while it’s always nice to hear those things, it makes the rejection even worse. Your hopes go up that much higher, and when you never get that call or your name’s not on that cast list, the dejected thoughts are even worse than they would have been ordinarily. Because if I’m great and perfect for the part and you want to call me… what did someone else do that made you choose them over me? I’ve been an actor long enough to know that it could have very little to do with talent, but no matter the reason, I’m still not cast.

But even with all of this, when I was told that I was in the director’s top two, it made me happy and hopeful. He said I’d know whether I had the part within 24 hours. At 10:28, my phone was lying on the floor, charging, and, unbeknownst to me, silently ringing. The caller left a voicemail, but Hurricane Sandy wouldn’t let the connection go through. I actually thought the call was from another director at the same university about another audition, so when Andrew, the director of last night’s audition, answered, I was shocked. He said that they loved my audition and they’d love to have me. I squealed a lot and said I was very excited, and right before he hung up, he said, “You’re a really great actress.” It’s really, really nice to hear that sometimes, especially because, to be honest, I don’t think I’m a great film actor. I like film acting, but not as much as theatre. Theatre is where my heart and skills lie… but I do love a spot of film work when I can get it!

The film’s not very long- only eight pages- and it will take two days to shoot. Because I have the lead (eeee!), I will be on set for the whole shooting time. I’ve worked with this school before, and it was a really great experience, so I can’t wait to work with them again.

It’s amazing how a part in a two-day shoot for a student film can reestablish your sense of self-worth ūüôā

NYC Trip Day 2: I Read Banned Books

On Thursday, day two of my EPIC NYC TRIP, I was awoken from a blissful slumber by a lovely text message. It was my friend Paul, asking when and where we were going to meet up. I met Paul at my very first audition, when I was thirteen and he was twenty-one. As soon as my mom and I got there and sat behind him, he turned around to talk to me. I thought he was the coolest person I’d ever met, with his actor-y look and his awesome ear piercing that I thought of getting for many years afterward but was also to chicken to actually do. I was also too chicken to stay at the audition. At one point, I got so nervous that I stood to leave, and Paul stopped me and told me to stay, that’d I’d be fine. We ended up being cast in the same ten-minute play a few days later. Almost nine years later, we’re still friends and he now lives in New York. We decided to meet at a Starbucks in Chelsea at eleven. Once we managed to find two seats in the place (no small feat in a New York City Starbucks; there is one one every corner, but they’re always full. New Yorkers like their caffeine; it’s why they walk so fast), we got down to our socializing. It was really, really nice. We haven’t seen each other in person for over two years, but we picked right up where we left off, talking acting and playwriting and New York living and many other things. Like Molly, Paul asked when I was moving to NYC, and I have to say, both of them made me want to pack my bags that minute.

Around 12:30, Paul had to head to work, and I was near enough to Libba Bray’s booksigning location that I decided to stay in the area until it began at six. Molly had told me about an awesome bookstore four blocks away from the Starbucks, so I headed in that direction… and got lost for about forty-five minutes. Though I have a terrible sense of direction, it wasn’t completely my fault; that part of the city is… rounder than the parts in which I usually spend my time. But finally I found it, and it was just as amazing as she had promised- four stories of books, new and used, and other beautiful items like postcards and bags and t-shirts, the latter of which I bought- a cool one that says “I Read Banned Books” with the flames made up of “scandalous” authors and book titles.

After I grabbed a very late lunch and walked around a bit more, I went to Books of Wonder where Libba Bray’s signing was, to hang out and read for a bit before it started. Then it was six and the AUTHORS ARRIVED! In addition to Libba, ¬†there were six other YA authors who have new books. I had never heard of five of them, but they were all so funny and great to listen to. I was one of about five people that got to ask a question, and I asked Libba about how she handled the giant cast of characters in her books. Her short answer: “Not well.” She expanded and quoted Ray Bradbury and was, in general, completely amazing. Then came the signing, and I was first in line. I had planned all these things I wanted to say to her, but as she sat there signing my book, as well as my friend Kaitlin’s, I could only blurt, “I LOVE THE DIVINERS!” She thanked me, said she liked my red tights, and asked if she’d answered my question. I assured her she had and told her that I was a longtime fan and that Kaitlin has cast herself as Evie in the movie version of The Diviners, and then Libba talked to me about writing the screenplay for the movie. “It’s like math!” she exclaimed. Then she asked me where I went to college and was so so awesome. I love her so much.

I left the signing right after I got Libba’s inscription and headed for my bus location. I had bought a ticket for the 10:30 bus, but was hoping to get a standby seat on an earlier bus, which meant that I could call off Beth from pick-up duty. But when I got there, the standby line was huge, and the last bus before my scheduled ride was full. The girl behind me, with whom I had been conversing, was very distressed and went to get some food. When she came back, I was sitting on the sidewalk, reading and she came over to me. “There’s a Megabus leaving in fifteen minutes five blocks away. Want to come?” I said yes, and we hurried over to the other bus stop. The bus was pretty empty, and they only charged us $15 for a seat, which was less than I had planned to give Beth, some for gas but also some for gratitude. So my new friend and I hopped on the bus. I considered sitting alone, as is my custom, but I thought it would be rude to ditch my adventure buddy, and she was very happy I sat next to her because I let her charge her phone with my computer.

I returned to Philadelphia and my adventure buddy wished me safe travels and I caught the train back to my car. The whole way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how relaxed and happy- like, incandescently happy- I felt and how I loved everything and everyone. These last few weeks have been really hard, emotionally, and I didn’t realize how unhappy I was until I felt as good as I did on Thursday night. For a few weeks now, I’ve had the ridiculous notion that I have no friends, which I know and knew was not true, but nothing could convince me otherwise. But between meeting up with Molly and Paul and both of them being so great, and Beth being able to pick me up, and Stuart calling just to say hi Thursday afternoon, I was feeling very loved. And while I decided while traveling in Europe that ¬†it’s much better to travel with someone (seeing awesome stuff has much less thrill when you have no one to share it with), and it would have been fun to share the concert or the signing with a friend, I’m actually glad I went by myself. I think I needed two days to do things on my own time- meeting up with friends I haven’t seen in a long time, going to bookshops and listening to music… I think it was just what I needed to recover from my terrible few weeks.

Unfortunately, I’ve started to slip back into how I felt pre-NYC, which before I didn’t count as unhappiness, but compared to how I felt Thursday night, it’s not happiness. I don’t know what is missing from my life that is making me feel this way, but I wish I could figure it out.

NYC Trip Day 1: Potentially Lovely, Perpetually Human

Wow… I can hardly put into words how amazing this trip to NYC was (she says before writing two separate, lengthy blog posts.)

In early September, I found out that Regina Spektor was going on tour. Actually, she was already mid-tour, but I’m also slow on the uptake about these things. It happened that her show in New York City, on October 24th, was the one that was easiest for me to get to. I bought tickets- with my own money! Because I had no idea when the show would end, I knew I’d have to stay overnight- my first night alone in NYC, ever. I booked a hotel- with my own money! (Many people have pointed out that New York, like most cities around the world, has hostels. A little tip from me to you: some hotels, like the one I stayed in last night, are actually cheaper than the hostels and unlike the hostels, you don’t have to share a bathroom.) Then I found out that my favorite author, Libba Bray, was also on tour for her new book The Diviners and was doing a signing the day after the concert. So I nixed my plans to leave the city in the afternoon, extending my stay until 10:30 that night.

As epic as being there for the signing was most definitely going to be, it did make things slightly more complicated, since there are no parking garages that allow you to keep you car in the same spot for 48 hours, and the last train to where I could park my car (about half an hour outside of the city) left five minutes after the bus I booked arrived at the train station… and these buses often arrive late. So I sent out a plea disguised as a Facebook message, begging a few of my friends to consider driving into the city at 12:30 in the morning to pick me up and drive me to my car. One friend said she could do it, but on Tuesday, thought better of it because she was in rehearsal until eleven. So I texted my friend Beth (yes, the same one who tested me for the tour guiding job) asking her if she could do it, and she blessedly said yes. So I was set.

Then I added a little more awesome to the trip, as if seeing one of my favorite performers and my favorite author weren’t making the visit almost unbearably awesome: I asked two of my friends to meet up with me, on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. You must understand what a huge deal it was for me to do this. As an introvert that has an intense fear of rejection, I rarely invite anyone to do anything, in case they say no. But I really wanted to see both of my friends, so I mustered up the courage and asked. Both of them said yes.

So off I went Wednesday morning for NYC. It’s only the second time in about four or five years that I haven’t gotten up at five a.m., at the latest, to get there, and it was very nice to sleep in. I got to New York around 1:30 and went to my hotel, hoping they would allow me to check in an hour and a half early. They did. I will say here that my hotel room was not pretty. It was plain and sparse and outside my window was a roof containing a lot of garbage and a pair of sneakers, but it was clean, and there was the added glow of it having been paid for from my own pocket. ¬†At 4:15, I left to go meet my friend Molly for dinner. We were meeting at 5:30, but I’m glad I left so early, as I had to figure out the subway system and walk a bit, and I got very lost.

Something you have to understand about me meeting up with Molly is that, to me, it’s almost the same as meeting up with, well… Libba Bray. Yes, Molly is my friend. But she’s also a writer I admire greatly, and because I knew her first as a writer of whom I was a fan, I sometimes forget that she is a regular person who, like, breathes and does things other than write amazing plays. It also doesn’t help that I haven’t seen her in person in over ten months, though we’ve e-mailed back and forth a good number of times since then and talked on the phone a time or two. So I was pathetically nervous as I waited for her outside the restaurant. But then she arrived and was somehow more normal and still way cooler than me. Eventually, though, I relaxed enough to talk to her friend to friend and we talked of many things, including writing and Annie and post-graduate life. She also asked me if I was planning on moving to New York, and gave me a few tips on how to do so. All in all, the dinner was awesome and the restaurant, a Mediterranean wine and cheese place, was cool and I was able to find something to eat on the menu, which was very good. ¬†When our phones struck 7:30, we paid and left so that I could get to the concert on time. Of course, it turned out that I had the wrong address for the theatre; thankfully, Molly had the right one and I made it to the theatre on time.

The concert was… magical. That’s the only word for it. I’d never been to a concert before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t think Regina Spektor fans are mosh pit-ers, but I thought they might be people who sing along, which is equally annoying. (My sister and I debate this point all the time; she says that singing along at concerts is acceptable and expected. I say that I didn’t pay to hear you or myself sing.) But everyone stayed in their seats (well, mostly. The people in my row kept getting up to get drinks which then made them have to pee. I swear they missed half the concert) and no one sang along. The band Only Son, with whom Regina Spektor has collaborated on a song, opened and I enjoyed their music, particularly the song It’s a Boy.

After the intermission, during which I bought a t-shirt, it was finally time for the guest of honor. And holy crap, she was AMAZING. I didn’t cry because I was in her presence or anything, but I understood the impulse- it’s incredible to be in the same room with someone so talented. Her songwriting and vocal skills are a marvel, and I never wanted the concert to end. Since I’m a new fan, I thought she might play some of her earlier stuff that I’d never heard and I’d be a little lost, but I knew all of the songs she played. It seems strange to call a thirty-something woman “adorable,” but that’s really the perfect adjective, besides, of course, talented. She’s not very tall (5’2″, according to Google), with hair that makes me want to let mine go natural more often, and a very youthful speaking voice, though her singing voice is very mature. And she was so nice and humble- the first thing she said when she got onstage was “I feel extra at home and extra nervous.” She was very gracious to both her band and Only Son, saying before she performed with the latter, “I seriously head-banged through [your] whole set. With clips in my hair, which is why my hair probably looks funny right now. But it was worth it. Because fuck hair.” One thing that surprised me about the concert as a whole was how casual it was- both bands talked to the audience a lot and Regina (’cause, you know, we’re on a first name basis) started Dance Anthem of the 80s over again. Before she started Ballad of a Politician, Regina said, “I’m so pissed off that sanity is becoming a lost cause. It’s pretty obvious who wants to support women and artists and basically everyone ¬†who is fucking cool.” (She swore a lot.) After she finished and said goodbye and we all gave her a standing ovation for so long that she came out and did four more songs, ending with Samson, which is one of my favorites. It was just an amazing, amazing show.

After the concert, I walked the thirty or so blocks back to my hotel; it was a nice night and I was jazzed from the concert. I was pretty exhausted, so I went to bed almost right after I got back. On Sunday, I will report on my second day (I work from tonight until forever :p)

“My Life Will Be Moving.”

sometimes, the weirdness of the life I’ve chosen strikes me. Because I live with three college students (and because seventeen years of academia has brainwashed me into thinking the calendar year starts in August/September), I very aware that the fall semester is about half over, which means the school year is almost a ¬†quarter of the way over (MATH! Sometimes I do it.)

This is significant to me for a few reasons. First, there’s the realization that the holidays won’t be the same anymore. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I’ve never gotten over my love of seeing my (parents’) house decorated for Christmas for a month. Even being at college, it was a huge adjustment all four years to not be home for more than a few days before the turkey stupor struck or only seeing Christmas at the house starting December 7th (or, at it was for three out of four of my college years, December 18th or 20th.) But this year will be even more different. There’s a very real possibility that I will be working both of those significant holidays, as well as many other that mean much less to me. Having a mother who works in health care, I’ve experienced the odd Christmas that was celebrated a day early or late so that my mom could be at work and not miss the festivities, but this is different. My mom is, obviously, the mother- of course we would change around the Christmas festivities. It’s expected, because what’s Christmas without everyone there? But I feel like it’s different in the case of children. After all, aren’t I supposed to be striking out on my own, building my own life and, yes, eventually, family, with whom I will inevitably spend more Christmases? What’s the cut-off date for grown-up, chronically single children going home for the holidays? How many days am I allowed? And is there a limit to how many leftovers I’m allowed to bring back to my apartment with me so I can avoid cooking that much longer?

Second, though the end of a semester doesn’t affect me for most of the reasons it affects my roommates, there is one significant thing that will happen come May: my roommates will graduate, and they will move on. While I’ve already started that phase of my life, this May is going to bring a sort of revisiting to that time, because my roommates will scatter and I will have to move out because I live in a penthouse and no way can I afford it on my own. So yet again, I will be looking for a place to live. I’ve already had the proposition of moving to NYC with my friend and junior year roommate Kara, but there are a lot of considerations in that decision, one being whether I can afford it and two being if, come May, the offer’s still on the table. I’m also unsure if I want to move to NYC now, but that’s a topic for another entry.

Before I moved out of my parents’ house, I had a conversation with my dad that involved me saying, “I’ll always be moving my stuff. My life will be moving.” I knew it was true then, but now that I’m looking at all of these factors, I’m seeing how right I really was.

Good News!

Last night, I had my memorization test for my tour guiding job. At first, it was supposed to be with Jane, but she was totally swamped with work, so I got an e-mail informing me that I would be doing my test with another girl… in Chicago… over Skype. I know that business over Skype isn’t that uncommon these days, but it’s my first experience with it, and I was a little intimidated. Thankfully, the girl was really nice even when I stumbled over the beginning of the script. At the end, she declared that I passed. HOORAY! It was a huge relief to get over that hurdle.

I still had one more to go, though- the dress rehearsal. I didn’t know this until it started, but I could have failed the dress rehearsal and had to go back to square one, so that was pretty scary. Thankfully, Beth was feeling well enough to do it, which made it much better. I was still very nervous and really messed up the beginning (again), but after she forced me to take a few deep breaths and I got rolling, I was fine. I got all the way through the tour only messing up a few times and passed that as well- yay! So tomorrow, I am leading my first tour! As frustrating as getting to this point has been (Beth reminded me that I need to make sure I don’t take a tone with my boss on the phone, because I kind of did yesterday), I’m still really excited about the job itself

Also, I just got a part! In the middle of all of the tour stuff, I was scouring the local casting site, as I do every free minute of my life, and I found a staged reading that needed high school-looking people. They weren’t auditioning people, just looking for people in general. I almost didn’t call; besides it being a community theatre, I “worked” for them two years ago and had a terrible experience. I very much enjoyed working with the director and the cast members that were my age and younger, but a few of the adults were unprofessional and snobby and I hated working with them. But, I figured, it’s a much smaller show with people around my age, and it’s a staged reading, so people not knowing their lines can’t be an issue. I’m not thrilled that my first show out of college is a casting by default (though the director did recognize my name from shows, which was cool), but I really really need a show, of any kind, right now. When I told my mom, she asked if it paid. I, too, want a paying acting job, but as I told her, having any kind of show right now is paying me in sanity and self-worth. They say you’re only as good as your last show, and while my last one was very good, it also closed only a little under half a year ago and I’ve been feeling pretty bad about myself for going without a show for this long.

The show is part of a new short play festival, which is exciting; I love doing new stuff. There’s always the chance that the script could be terrible, but it’s also possible that it will be great. Either way, we only go up once, on November 2nd, so the time commitment is very small and hopefully finally acting in a show again will get my spirits up, especially since I keep seeing news that parts in plays I’ve been seen and called back for are going to everyone but me. It’s times like this that remind me how hard the career and the life I’ve chosen for myself are, but a conversation with a friend also reminded me that while this life isn’t for everyone, it is for me.

EDIT: I was just scouring Backstage, which never fails to run some article about the exact thing I’m stressing over. One columnist this week, Tim Intravia, is in the same post-show-depression/desperate for an acting job position that I am and wrote the following:

“Acting is about being vulnerable and so is this dispatch. It’s a hard life, acting, and I’m realizing that even more each day. But you know what? I love it. I love acting, writing, doing comedy, love it enough that I can and will deal with the lows. I’ll keep doing survival jobs I’m way overqualified for […] keep hitting EPAs and online submissions, and keep mailing those agents and casting directors. I probably won’t get rich doing this, but it’s what I do best and what I love.”

Amen, Tim.

The People At Rite Aid Made Fun of Me

After I survived my bone scan with no trouble whatsoever, and especially since the doctors were so nice, I was starting to rethink my negative opinions of medical personnel. But then I went to go get my flu shot today.

I’ve already talked about my dislike of needles, so I wasn’t looking forward to it from the start. But also, since I’m out of school, I couldn’t go to the health office and get it there. Instead, I had to choose between places like Target and Rite Aid. I actually would have gone to Target simply because I love it for everything it is (awesome), but the Target by my apartment doesn’t have a pharmacy, so I couldn’t. That left the Rite Aid, and I don’t know, I just find it unsettling to get a vaccination in a store where I can also pick up Band-Aids (Target has dresses and a cute dog in their commercials, so it’s different.) But I had already put it off for so many days that I knew if I didn’t do it today, I wouldn’t do it at all.

So I went to the Rite Aid and walked back to the pharmacy counter and told them I would like a flu shot, please. The nurses looked at me a little strangely, but then one finally asked if I had ever been to a Rite Aid before. I didn’t really understand the question- did she mean, like, in my life, to buy a notebook or some candy, or did she mean to get a shot? Since we were talking about the latter, I said no. The nurse’s eyebrows went up and all through my time there, she kept repeating to the other nurse, “…Because she’s never been to a Rite Aid.” ¬†Then she asked if I had insurance. I said yes and told them my (parents’) provider, and the nurses looked very disgruntled. I didn’t get this- isn’t having insurance supposed to be a good thing? Their annoyed reactions at my insurance didn’t end there, either- when the one nurse rang it up on the machine, she said all annoyed, “It’s zero. You don’t owe anything.”

Despite their being miffed at my having insurance, the nurse took my card anyway. “Do you have a prescription card?” she asked. “Um… Sorry, I don’t really know what that is. It’s my first time not getting a shot at school. I’ve never done this sort of thing on my own,” I told her… and she and the other nurse started laughing. I’m still kind of confused as to why this was so funny. Maybe they thought I meant I’d never gotten a shot on my own? If not that, I have no idea; I don’t think it’s illogical for me to have gotten a $10 flu shot provided in the health office at my school. And also, I still don’t know what a prescription card is; I was never told I needed one and they didn’t show or give me one.

I was given a form to fill out, which was no problem, but apparently it was Make Fun of Rachel Day at the Rite Aid: the same nurse came out and took my form to read it and asked why I had checked “yes” for food allergies. I told her I’m allergic to bananas… and she started laughing. Like, uproariously laughing. “How does that even happen?!” she asked. I should add that both of the nurses were in their fifties or so, so hearing this blatantly rude question was even more surprising from someone that age. ¬†I was bewildered. What did she expect me to say? “I was bored one day so I decided to get an allergy to bananas”? Don’t all allergies “happen” in the same way by developing inside your body? And also, bananas are not the weirdest thing I could be allergic to. I have no idea why I was so hilarious today.

The rest of the appointment was fairly unremarkable: the nurse pretended to have bedside manner for a minute and asked me what my major had been and seemed very interested until I told her where I went and then she suddenly lost interest. She also neglected to ask which was my dominant arm and so assumed that I’m right-handed (I’m not.) But the shot didn’t hurt, so that’s something. I will not be returning to the Rite Aid, though. And I’ll keep my banana allergy to myself next time.

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