By Nicholas W McClellan
I’m writing a blog for the Van Wert Civic Theatre about the importance of living in the moment. It’s a major theme of the current production “Avenue Q” which has only four more performances left, January 23, 24, 25, 26. For the life of me, I can’t think of any personal anecdotes which speak to this theme. It seems counterintuitive to write a blog using stories from my past to make a poignant remark about living in the present.
“Stop and breathe,” I tell myself. While focusing on my breathing, all I can hear in my head is “It’s 3:30pm on Monday, January 20th and the roughly 600-word blog entry is due to the Time-Bulletin around 6:00 this evening.”
Lady, a rescue-calico-kitty with respiratory problems that cause her to make fart-noises every time she inhales and exhales, brushes past my leg as she squeezes in a “meow” amongst the flatulating breaths.
“Hello, Lady,” I say while staring into the computer monitor. My cellphone begins to vibrate, light-up, and beep simultaneously; it’s my Mom. She writes, “Did you finish the blog, yet?” I grumble as I type, “Nope! But only about 400 more words to go!” I lay the phone down and look up to the open tabs on my internet browser. The facebook tab is showing a “(2).” Excitedly, my mouse hovers over the facebook tab and I click to reveal two notifications, one each from Merry Thomas and Steve Lane.
Merry “liked” the Van Wert Civic Theatre’s recent post about the Lincolnview Drama program performing their high school production, “You Can’t Take it With You!” on April 11th and 12th on the VWCT stage. Steve “liked” VWCT’s audition notice for our next production, “Don’t Drink the Water” by Woody Allen being performed March 13th through the 23rd.
I still can’t think of what to write about as the second-hand ceaselessly ticks. It’s now 4:09pm with just under two hours before the blog has to be emailed to Ed Gebert at the Times-Bulletin. Lady creeps back into the room, “flar-garggle-flarp”ing (that’s the noise she makes) as she saunters by, en route to the cat box to make a “deposit”.
My phone is ringing; it’s Myron. I wish I could just have thirty minutes of no distractions. “Niiiiick! I want to reheat my leftovers from Mi Ranchito. Is it okay to leave it in the container and heat it up in the oven?” Dumbfounded, I respond, “No, Myron. That box is made of styrofoam. It will most assuredly melt.” Myron, though he is a brilliant retired psychologist and religiously watches the Food Network, is utterly lacking in any culinary insight.
It’s 5:04pm. Perhaps some music will inspire me. I pop in my CD from the soundtrack to “Avenue Q” and play the track entitled, “Only For Now”. Princeton (Jerry Zimmerman) sings, “Each time you smile, it’ll only last a while.”
My mind wanders to visions of the cast singing and dancing on stage only to be interrupted by Lady’s “deposit” wafting past my nose. “Life may be scary, but it’s only temporary,” sings Kate Monster (Jamie Allen). It’s true; we could all benefit from a little more mindfulness. Personally, I am often so trapped in my thoughts of the future or the past, that I forget to experience, let alone enjoy, what’s happening right now. What do I see, hear, smell? It doesn’t matter how it feels – pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad – I roll with it because it’s what’s present; I’m not judging it.
I think, maybe some food will get the creative writing juices flowing. I’m eating my dinner consisting of a turkey sandwich with two large Vlasic pickles on the side while writing the VWCT blog.
It’s now 5:50pm. As I begin to eat, all the other options in my fridge began to dance in my mind, like a salad topped with chicken and smothered in ranch dressing. Instead of just appreciating my own food and its flavor nuances, I get caught up on what I could have prepared. Once I start using my senses to appreciate what I have at this moment – seeing the folds of overlapping turkey, feeling the spongy rye bread, smelling the sweetness of the honey dijon spread, and tasting the thick-cut American cheese – I start living in the moment and savoring it while it lasts.
“Avenue Q”, Van Wert Civic Theatre’s third show of the season, has only four more performances left (January 23, 24, 25, 26), Call (419) 238-9689 between 2pm and 6pm, Monday through Saturday to make your reservations. As with all of our productions, they are only for now. A dedicated troupe of locally grown actors, directors, and techies have all come together to experience the creation of an experience – for you. As the song, “Only for Now” nears the end of the track the cast softly sings, “Except for death and paying taxes, everything in life… is only for now!”
It’s 6:06pm as the music from my speakers slowly fades to nothing.