“Wobbly out in this weather when I know I will fall over? I’m very dedicated to my art, ok? Now offer me a seat on this train before it’s you I fall onto…”
Amtrak preemptively canceled some Acela routes and other regional commuter routes in advance of the snow this weekend. City transit authorities are posting their standard “expect delays on above-ground routes.” In addition to keeping us abreast of their plans to keep us safe – albeit possibly not on time – during the winter weather, both agencies also seem to be touting themselves as the solution to all the city’s partying needs lately.
On the way to Improv today, I saw ads introducing several bus and train operators who “skip the party, so you don’t have to.” I’m guessing several other class members also noticed the recent uptick in public transit emphasis on how their employees ensure we can have a good time by working while everyone else is playing. “Partying” was a prominent theme in our montages today.
There’s nothing more thematically appropriate for that inevitable first time I sublux something on stage and fall over than during a scene in which the administration of a “party school” with a name one letter off of the Ivy League discuss how to improve their image. This was a class, not a live show, so people stopped scene work and asked about me. I almost wished it had been a public show, though, as I doubt I will ever again get such a gift of a scene to play off a sublux and associated fall as “intentional” than during that one.
With a class, it’s…well…as awkward to bring up EDS in advance as it is to sublux something on stage. I’m in the dual position of both performing in indie shows with a troupe, but also simultaneously being a student. I have to actually graduate from the theater’s comedy school if I ever want to audition for anything solo, and graduating to each next level requires not just an instructor thinking I am ready in my performance capabilities, but also having missed no more than two classes out of any session. The Crisis of 2018 ensured that I wasn’t in the position to even contemplate that kind of attendance commitment for the past two sessions, so I never even bothered to register. I also fainted just before the first class of this current session and thus missed its very first class. So, no guarantees I will make the attendance requirement this time around either. My indie troupe – who are all now graduates – didn’t drop me when I got behind last year. I could conceivably have had my first onstage sublux happen during a real performance, with a team who have been warned in advance to just keep going and use the exquisite thematic timing to heighten, heighten, heighten.
But, as with last week’s hair appointment, I don’t typically get that lucky when introducing my diagnoses to new people. Explaining how I occasionally fall over – and to just give me a minute to see if I can reorient my own joints before treating it like a big deal – is still just…awkward. I never know how to respond to the sort of excessive solicitousness that people offer immediately after they first see me faint or pop a joint.
I, even more, don’t know how to respond to their concerns about how visibly unsteady I am walking to the train station in the “wintery mix” that had left the sidewalks wet and icy by the time class ended. My cane is very useful for mobility, but trying to navigate icy ground even with it is guaranteed to make me as unsteady on my feet as those partiers that the ads remind us diligent mass transit employees are happy to ferry home each Saturday night.
It seems, though, that I really should have insisted my classmates lean into the opportunities my “stage fall” afforded during the drunken party school scene. For, it seems that it isn’t just mass transit officials who have noted the market potential of catering to the drunks of an urban city with viable mass transit. The makers of Pedialyte – well known to zebras with dysautonomia as a relatively cheap and lower-sugar hydration drink option – have also gotten in on the action. If it wasn’t ironic enough to be reminded about how many partiers are unsteady on their feet on the transit lines on Saturday night on the way to class, it was a perfect capstone to head home just before the typical “Saturday night” crowd set out and discover that Pedialyte has also expanded their target audience beyond the dysautonomic set.
I snapped a less-than-perfect picture of the ad. If you can’t read it, it advertises Pedialyte as the solution to a “wild night.” I’m not sure whether to be more amused that their choice to expand beyond their core medical market likely ensures us “party poppers” with dysautonomia will soon be able to find hydration drinks for our most symptomatic days everywhere we need it – possibly including my theater, which does sell drinks during performances – or to roll my eyes at the idea that now when I walk down the street unsteady on my feet carrying a bottle of hydration drink, I can avoid awkward questions just by “yes, anding” the perception I had a great evening…
Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out the Glossary of Terms.