Gotta Have It
going bankrupt 2 years ago was his most shining moment
I am, after all, an
actor myself (well, Ive been taking classes on and off for 10 years),
and I started comparing my life to his. I realised that somewhere along
the line, Id missed a few boats, whereas he had obviously hopped
on quite a few (albeit not so many in the last few years, but hey, hes
married to Goldie Hawn, and thats nothing to sneeze at). I thought
about the excuses Id made that led me to this point, such as not
going out and auditioning till Id gained more confidence through
classes and not studying my scenes enough because I was too busy socialising.
I couldnt escape the obvious conclusion: Ive been procrastinating.
other night I was glumly standing at the hostess stand in the restaurant
Im regretfully employed at. I was massaging my jaw from the
fake smiles Id been plastering on all night and wondering,
not for the first time, how at 30, I managed to arrive at a career
choice about as challenging as folding laundry. I was looking at
my watch for the tenth time that minute, when who should walk in
but Kurt Russell. I managed to squeeze out Hi, and his
For one, and then I was suddenly struck by how troubled
and almost half embarrassed he seemed. I silently sat him down,
not trusting my voice to conceal my star-struck panic, and rushed
to the back of the restaurant to squeal at my co-workers in hushed
tones I just sat Kurt Russell, I just sat Kurt Russell!
It added a bit of spark to the otherwise wrist slashing monotony,
but it also got me questioning my reaction of such awe and my position
Throughout my turbulent 20s I had always looked at the distant beacon
of 30 and imagined that when I reached that ripe old age things would
all click into place. Well Im still standing at my hostess stand
and though it doesnt excuse my lack of achievements, partying and
procrastination some degree or another seems to be part of everyones
journey to 30.
Three of my friends have bravely shared some horror stories and given
their perspective on how their priorities have changed.
George, a 31 year
old actor with a beetnick wardrobe, recounts the summer of 42 women (he
was 18). He knows it was 42 because he made a list. He insists he has
long outgrown that phase and is now a one girl kinda guy.
His theatre school tuition fund quickly became the drinking
fund and summer was spent working to get through summer, not to save for
the school year ahead.
He has now settled into a supervisory role at a 5 star hotel and with
a salary of less than $2000 a month, he is regretfully still paying off
his student loan. However, he says I feel optimistic about the future
even though I may be 70 by the time I can afford a home. He sometimes
thinks Oh god, Im going to be a lonely old man living in a
box, but those moments of panic are usually fleeting.
He thinks Kits is the best part of town to live in, and he frequents more
grown up places now like
The Living Room where you can have intimate chats with groups of
friends. He says that his financial world affects happiness, because being
broke limits social possibilities. It still, even in this modern
age, looks bad if a guy doesnt pay for the first few dates with
Bob, 33, an award
winning WWII model airplane maker wonders whether punching someone in
the face at Earls on New Years or going bankrupt 2 years ago
was his most shining moment. Money has always burned a hole in his pocket
and he says Bankruptsy was a wake-up call. It was shit, I hated
it and itll never happen again.
His attitude towards jobs in his early 20s was If it gets
boring, just move on. Jobs included working as an electronics technician,
bartending, delivering newspapers at 3:00 am and now duct cleaning for
His view on the club circuit is When youre 20 you feel like
a loser if you dont go out and party all the time, but when youre
30 you look more like a loser if you do. I dont want to be the 40
year old guy sitting in a bar wearing the Kiss T-shirt and baseball
cap because I never grew up.
Hes a Woodys, Walmart, Jays Wok kind of guy. For
girls, shopping is an event. For me its a means to an end.
Julie, 29, an ethereal,
catlike beauty with an abandoned artistic talent, tells a colourful story
of her daily drug use at 15, of dropping out of high school twice, being
kicked out of home by her mother and working part time as a receptionist
at an undercover prostitute ring. During this time she lost a few good
friends. I was self destructive, despondent and withdrawn.
She eventually straightened out and with the help of an older boyfriend,
graduated when she was 19.
She thinks anyone who dabbles in drugs could end up on Hastings. Some
of her old party pals are now junkies on the street and she is glad her
experience was a passing teenage phase. She is generally happy now and
things are going well though she cant predict how things will be
A bookkeeper at computer firm with responsibility, she says Too
many people allow themselves to be empowered or disempowered by their
She and her partner have bought a condo in Kits area, but says Julie,
I would never have been able to do it with my income alone, and
dont know any women who could either. It has changed my life completely.
There is so much responsibility and extra costs. I racked up the credit
cards with the excitement of buying pots and pans, then realised I dont
have an expendable income. Kits area is a great part of town, there is
still a sense of community.
She set a goal to start saving for retirement when she turned 30 and has
already started saving a small amount.
Favourite places: The Living Room (cozy, good wine), Bukowskis
and the convenience of Safeway shopping. Clothing store favourites: Gap,
Jacob, and boutiques on 4th.
I know I will be returning to that dreaded world of plastic perkiness
and humiliating menu wiping soon, but Ive decided that being a student
of acting all these years has to count for something. Id like to
think that just as soon as I get my demo tape and headshots together,
Ill be armed with all the bravery I need to nail any audition, or
at the very least, not be discouraged by rejection. Ill just switch
on my well rehearsed smile and say Have a nice day!
© Jenny Brown - actress,dancer,hostess, Kurt Russel greeter and intern
for Hacks this Fall.
Brown takes a walk in Vancouver's 'secret garden'
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