Life, alas, is not a sweeping romantic drama.
It isn't filled with tall dark strangers on horses whisking us off our feet, or beautiful, yet feisty, heroines with dark secrets that need to be overcome. It's not even a well structured rom com with a few embarrassing incidents on the path to true love and mutual respect. While I admit (often to my detriment) that I'm a hopeless romantic, even I know that it just doesn't happen like that. I've accepted that I won't be marrying Mr Darcy. Neither of them, Austin's nor Fielding's.
Similarly, you will never have families and friendships as perfect as those in American sitcoms. They won't always be there for you. Life doesn't work like that. We're busy. Sometimes you'll have to deal with it by yourself. All people are a bit annoying sometimes. They make silly noises when they eat or talk during films or forget apostrophes in text messages......or are petty enough to care about apostrophes in text messages....
But enough of the dark, stark stuff. I'm no existentialist.
In fact I'm certain that we are loved. Every single one of us. By lots of people. In lots of ways. And cared about. And thought of in a positive light. There's a whole scale of positivity towards us from a myriad of friends and strangers. And all these people are constantly letting us know this.
The important moments in life never seem to be so big at the time. Tiny gestures show that someone actually cares. That they can be bothered to think about you rather than all the other exciting things in the world. (I mean there's Netflix and museums filled with dinosaurs and they sell cupcakes on every high street now!) That they love you romantically or platonically . Fleeting moments of connection reassure us, quite rightly, that we have a positive affect on the world and we matter. In short that we're not just a static speck of dust in an ever expanding universe.
That's a bit deep.....bring on the pictures!
I got to thinking about the little things people have done for me. Little thinks like.....
(Z is the coolest letter in the alphabet)
And last, but certainly not least. The fact that these 4 people were willing to dress up like this, and go out to be chased around a maze by scary clowns.......Because that's what I wanted to do for my birthday. You should note that these aren't extroverted theatre people who get off on this shit...oh no...this was a sacrifice.
The simplest is the cheery wave or nod as you pass someone running in the opposite direction. Slow, fast, elite club or casual plodder, it doesn't matter. We've all made it off the sofa and out into the world. The raise of the hand says "Hi fellow runner, you're like me and that's brilliant" And who doesn't like being in a special club? Or being brilliant?
(Obviously not everyone cares for us runners. Via my limited observations I have noted who waves to/moves for runners different locations.
- Fife: Exercisers: Other runners, hikers, dog walkers and cyclists.
- Central London: No one: Absolutely no one.
- Chichester: Everyone: Including people in cars!
Then there are the supporters, the ones who aren't even getting the endorphins, but still turn up.
- The friends and family who'll hold your bag or make a banner, standing around waiting to see you and cheer you on for 10 breathless sweaty seconds.
- The scouts/women's institute handing out water and yelling your race number, for hours. For free. Early in the morning. Probably on a Sunday when they could be in bed!
- The kids with jelly babies to fuel you/super soakers to cool you down/high 5's to keep you going.....even when you miss aim and hit them in the face......Yeah, I've totally done that....
People are great. They are willing to support you because you worked hard/did something difficult and as far as I can tell, watching you makes them happy.
Which, helpfully, takes me back to the wonderful world of theatre. Where we aim to make people happy by watching what we've created (or make them think/want to change the world/remember)
- In the technical rehearsal we work 12 hour days. Everyone is trying to get things done at superhero speed and basically getting in each other's way. The technical team are told to fix broken things instantly, the stage managers are asked to perfect every tiny detail, the actors are expected to instantly pause and restart their performances, under hot lights, like human DVD players and the creative team are trying to pull everything together to make a show that an audience will want to see. And we manage this every time, without shouting....much! We have our moments and not everyone fits the mold. But in general we bond, we help each other, we understand. We become friends when we are tired and stressed and it's 10.30pm and really we should be running screaming away from each other. Instead we go for a drink to remind ourselves that we're a bunch of humans. Great, creative humans.
- Strangers will lend me things. For free. Or a pair of tickets. Just because I ask and name my theatre. They will let the cast simulate sex or fighting or a messy dinner party 8 times a week on their precious Georgian dining table. Because they trust that I will look after it and want to support the arts in their city. Heartwarming. (And they LOVE seeing their table on stage.)
- The audience take a chance on us. It's not like the movies where you can read dozens of reviews from all around the world, before deciding if it's for you. Or wait until it's downloadable and pay a few pounds for a whole group to watch. Our audiences bite the bullet and shell out a decent amount of money to see a show based on a poster, a few reviews, a bit of publicity and, hopefully, their previous experiences with us. Hundreds of people come every night because they think we're worth it. And I think they're right. And my people work hard to achieve that.
I should but a sub clause in here to even the score.
Sometimes people let their dog chase me, or deliberately push their bikes into my path, or get bored of my chatter about running. Occasionally a director or actor will lose their cool and shout at me because "THE PROP WASN'T THERE". More often I'll snap at someone because I'm busy and "CAN I JUST HAVE A MINUTE" And sometimes little gestures or gifts that should mean something are just weird...or crap. Or I just don't notice the intention.
But mostly I get it. And people get me. And you.
And basically, what I'm trying to say is...
You are loved.