Phebe, Olivia and Buster will be in my care until their owners return on Tuesday. They’re very nice cats, no doubt about it, but they withdraw when the couple who raised them goes away. They sit in the master bedroom like next of kin at a funeral home. Cat-astrophe. I wish I could make them understand that everything will be back to normal shortly, but the best I can do is keep their food and water dishes full and pet them when they come within petting distance.
Is there a parallel to this needless suffering in the human realm?
A friend is down on his luck. Financially and otherwise. He’s not overly employable right now either, so he’s asked me to help him liquidate his not small collection of tchotchkes on ebay.
It’s been slow going.
We’ve posted nearly thirty auctions to date which, after Paypal fees, ebay fees and postage, have netted him at most $20.
Today I handed my friend two $5 restaurant gift cards that I’d been given by a client. I did this trying to make the gesture seem like something other than bald-faced charity, but he said, “Oh, good! I’ll put these together with a $15 gift card I already have from the same restaurant and give them all to (a relative) for her birthday.”
Implying that he had no immediate need of food assistance, or at least that his need was less immediate than his relative’s need of a $25 birthday present. Whatever.
Here’s the thing, though: I’d spent hours helping him raise pocket change, not much minding the inefficiency of our efforts, focusing on the shared activity of it, but when I gave him $10 outright, he tossed the money aside.
Dignity? Irresponsibility? WTF?
Maybe nothing more than one generous act making possible another.
Admittedly, I wish he’d live his life in the way that I’d live it if I were in his position. Which is ridiculous. Ridiculous and presumptuous, I know. Still …
My best course of action, I’ve decided, is to try to give when I give without expectation of anything at all. Give and walk away until it’s time to give again. Isn’t that the way?
This weekend, I showed my friend Peter some of the videos (“Evolve,” “Delivery” and “Dining Out“) that I’ve produced or helped to produce recently and he was favorably impressed. Peter is a retired Union actor who’s worked off-Broadway and on network television, so I take his opinion seriously. He’s also an unfailingly supportive and diplomatic person, so I take his praise with a grain of salt.
Footnote: As conference time approaches, the Applied Theatre Center (ATC) asked for a video focusing on mask maker Doug Berky. Here ’tis. If nothing else, it’s an interesting example of non-steadicam hand-held camera work.