So because I love nothing more than sitting out in the sun, baking myself to a dark copper color (please note dripping sarcasm), I have had to get an abnormal mole thing removed from my back. It’s not a melanoma, so yay for that, but today I am feeling, as the Aussies would say, pretty ordinary.
This is something that I have noticed since being here – when you talk to an Australian, the worst state of being is ‘ordinary’. You could have gone out, drank all night, been hit by a bus on the way home, and woken up broken in a sludge-filled gutter, and you would describe yourself as feeling ‘really ordinary.’ Similarly, I’ve found that any really bad news is ‘boring.’ The theater won’t have enough power to run the lights? That’s so boring. Someone broke into your house while you were lying in the gutter feeling ordinary? that’s boring too.
I love this. I love that somewhere in the Australian lexicon’s history, the words for ‘bad’ and ‘unremarkable’ got switched, as though the worst thing you could possibly be is bland or neutral, without something interesting to speak of. It says something great about them, doesn’t it? I was thinking about whether you can judge a culture by its adjectival slang, and it’s an interesting ponder, even if I’m not sure I’ve cracked any great cultural meanings yet. Think about it – in America, most of the words for those situations are vaguely sexual or scatological. If you were lying in the gutter next to the ordinary Australian, you’d probably feel pretty shitty. If someone stole your stuff while you were lying there, it wouldn’t be boring, it would suck or blow. It sort of suits that weirdly violent puritanical streak in America, doesn’t it? Why do we think that one of the worst insults we can give a situation or person is to say, abstractedly, that they’re giving a man oral sex? Isn’t that strange if you think about it? Doesn’t it put a lot of America’s problems with sex, sexism, and power dynamics into an interesting light?
Anyhoo, back to Cats. Now, at the end of the second week, the first act is almost done. There are some immensely talented people working on it (which really doesn’t help with the I’m-still-afraid-to-talk-to-the-actors-and-knowing-they’re-talented-makes-it-worse thing). The schedule for the next year is a bit in flux, so I’m not really sure what it’ll be for me – I may end up coming back stateside for a month or two in the spring, then setting off again for the other seasons of the tour. We’ll see. On the one hand, there is so much travelling to be done, and the opportunity would be great for doing it. On the other hand, there’s a lot of travelling with Cats still to be done, and travel burnout is a fearsome thing, and to see all you fine beloved folks, plus the new Les Mis and if I play my cards right Meggie in the Apple Tree and even the fine folks of the Jersey Boys tour is a wonderful thought. Well, a series of wonderful thoughts. And certainly not boring or ordinary.