@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
AC (Part II)
Dear Blog Readers,
You came back! Was it because the first part of this road journal was so well written and interesting that you were waiting for part II or are you just currently really bored/on the toilet? Don’t answer that. I’m glad you’re here no matter what! The road diary continues…
In the morning, I went to the fitness center which is the most impressive thing in the casino. It’s huge with a ton of equipment and there’s hardly anyone there. Unlike most, it would appear I came to Atlantic City to lose weight and build muscle.
I was pleased with myself because of how the show went the night before. Because you know who is always dubious as to whether or not I’m funny before I go on stage? Comics. All the time. This used to make me terribly insecure, but now I think it’s funny. It’s funny to defy people’s expectations. At this point, that’s part of my stage presence as a performer to the audience: All American looking girl with dark jokes. I love taking audiences by surprise. But it’s even better when comics are doubtful of you. And I know this because they’ve told me. Multiple comics have told me that before they saw me do stand-up they assumed I wouldn’t be very funny or I’d have a certain type of act, and then they were impressed at my joke writing ability. This is equal parts infuriating and flattering. “You have really clever jokes,” they’ll say. Surprise, motherfucker!
Anyway, by the time I got back to my room, my brother (who had stayed over the night before) had already taken off back to New York. We’re both like that. Here one moment, gone the next. Goodbyes not necessary. See you later.
It was time to go to the beach, so I threw on a beach cover up and headed to my car. I started get paranoid people were looking at me all the time. What’s with these people? Aggression fueled by paranoia made me edgy. It didn’t occur to me until a little later when a voice in my head said, “hey, dumbass, (the voices in my head are mean) people are staring at you because you’re a tanned hippie looking girl who stands out because you do not look like you belong here and on the AC hotness scale, you’re a 10.” (This is true— your hotness level goes up by two points in Atlantic City. If you look human, you’re an automatic 5.)
Luckily for me, the forecast called for sunshine all week. Also luckily for me, I got this gig in summertime where beach going was an option. If I were stuck in the casino all day I would be literally clawing the walls.
There was no rideable swell so my life partner (surfboard) stayed in the car where I feared she would spend this whole week. It’s been so long since she’s been in the water. Strategically, I picked a spot near a mother and her young son. I planned to run down the beach to see if there were any better spots for surfing, so my hope was that I could leave my stuff near them and no one would steal it. Just because the tiny swell wasn’t ridable now doesn’t mean I can’t read the water to see where it could break nicely if waves came in.
My car keys and money went in my arm band with my iPhone. What I left behind were my sandals, a towel, a notebook, and Chrissie Hynde’s book, “Reckless: My Life As A Pretender.”* If anyone stole my sandals or towel they’d be doing me a favor… they are both well past their prime. If someone stole my notebook, I’d be pissed, but why would someone do that? Unless they read it and thought it belonged to serial killer and gave it to a cop? I was also pretty sure no one would steal my book. No one buys books, so I figured no one would steal one.
*I grew up a Pretenders fan, hero worshiping Chrissie Hynde from a young age. Her book makes me admire her even more, a rock star to the core, and loving (and relating to) her “one of the guys” demeanor. Her drug use makes me look like a girl scout. From her book, “the good thing about working with guys was they they rarely talked about emotional things. I liked that.” Amen, Chrissie.
On the beach I ran a couple miles on sand, checking out the little bumps crashing near the jetty’s. There were some spots I was sure would be good if swell rolled in. It was almost a sure bet that the blond haired life guards were also surfers, so I just decided to ask them where the best spots were.
“Right here,” the one guy said, pointing straight ahead to nothing.
“Yeah, I checked magic sea weed and the forecast didn’t look promising, but I brought a board just in case,” I told them. Revealing that I use magic sea weed I hoped proved that I wasn’t just some kook.
“There’s usually something to ride if you have a long board early in the morning.”
“I brought a fish.”
“Ah, that might not be doable. How long are you here for?”
“Till Friday,” I said. I almost wanted to add that I was here for work, not vacation. I’m being paid to be here. I would not vacation here. Long Island beaches are superior to these beaches. Our sand is finer, cleaner, and beautiful (Long Island beaches are sorely underrated… trust me on this, I’ve been to a lot beaches). But I withheld my identity. If I told them I was a comic, I’d open the door to numerous questions that I never want to answer. Better they think I’m here with my parents or something. But my parents never took us on a vacation to a casino because we’re not complete white trash.
Side Rant! There are a lot of families here. I feel so bad for the kids. The kids aren’t even annoying! The kids are my favorite people here. Look, I know Disney World is expensive, but at least take them to Six Flags and that water park. Instead, you’re exposing them to saddest people on the planet and you will try to win money but you will lose money. God, the damage you’re doing to your kids that can’t be undone! I was in an elevator with an Asian mom and her two little super cute kids. They were both talking to me in a language I didn’t understand, and then when I went to get off at my floor, they tried to follow me out. Kids are trying to get me to kidnap them. That’s how much they don’t like casinos.
Okay, so I’m still at the beach, back from my run, sweating and dehydrated. After my original workout, I hadn’t probably hydrated and I had coffee with lunch, so I was basically dying. I jumped in the water which had a fair amount of sea weed, though that doesn’t bother me so much. The tide was low, so I walked out to the end of the jetty where there were waves I was actually able to body surf.
Until I heard a whistle.
And a life guard was waving me in.
What the shit? Fucking life guards. Surfers and life guards have a strained relationship, like minorities and cops (c’mon, if this offends you, I hate you). Life guards are always blowing their whistles at us to get out of swimming designated areas. Go save someone else’s life! I’m already drowning metaphorically speaking!
Coming back in, I was pissed. The life guard was much younger than me, but it’s possible he thought I was younger than him.
“Look,” he said, in a laid back bro demeanor, “I can tell you’re a good swimmer, but we’re not supposed to let people swim over there. Because if you’re out there, some kid will swim out there, it’s a thing. I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright,” I said, my hatred for him now dissipated, “you’re just doing your job. I get it.”
“What are the good surf spots if swell comes in?”
If it weren’t for severe dehydration, I might’ve stayed longer, but I had forgotten my water bottle and I desperately needed water. When I found a water fountain on the board walk, I drank the lukewarm water with bird poop on the side of the fountain and thought, “this is the greatest moment of my life in the last four years.” Dehydration makes you legitimately insane.
Back in the room, I write to pass time before the show.
John, the veteran comic on the show, kindly said after my performance last night, “you’re going to do very well in this business. There’s no possible way you won’t.”
It was very kind of him to say this, but I think he’s lying. To be clear, I’m not calling him a liar; I believe he believes what he says, I just don’t believe what he says is true. So, you’re saying he’s not a liar at all, that I just have deeply seeded trust issues and insecurities? I’m going to change my point. What was my point? I don’t know. What day is it? I keep forgetting. How long have I been here? John is a nice man. That’s my point now.
My friend Katrina texted me that she wanted to get out the house and decided to drive to AC. A friend to mock people with! Rejoice! It’s a shame how many funny things I say to myself that are lost on myself. “BRING TITOS VODKA,” was my only request. We wouldn’t do any gambling, just walking around, getting messed up and giggling at sick shit. I think at some point I was pitching a euthanasia room where patrons could do heroin copped from the boardwalk and go painlessly and happily into the Big Sleep. This is proof that I’m actually rather compassionate.
The show was another success. The crowd was fun, and all three of us comedians did well and laughed in the green room. Shows so far were two for two.
My buddy Katrina was out the door at 6am to go to work, so she was long gone by the time I got up to go to the fitness center. This is a usual road routine for me if I’m not driving to and from a gig. After the show, I’ll drink a lot, and then I’ll wake up and hit the gym to sweat out my toxins (which is terrible at first, but once you get through the first mile of running while feeling like you’re going to vomit, you feel great!), and then I’ll write and do the show again, drink, sleep, gym in the AM… you get it.
After the gym, I returned to the beach. Even if the beach isn’t that nice, it’s still better to be at a beach than almost anywhere else. The water was filled with sea weed and rather murky, which is why I was so surprised and happy that I saw a sea skate, about a foot long. I must have scared it and it surfaced to swim away. In my childish wonderment, I almost told these two girls in the water about the sea creature sighting, but they probably didn’t even know what a sea skate was. Then, I’d try to explain, “it’s like sting ray, but they’re actually in the shark family.” And then the beaches get evacuated because I said a skate is a shark. This is why I don’t talk to people.
A comic in town performing at another casino was at the beach with his young son. So, I got to bullshit with him and swim with them. His son loved being in the water even more than I did. No fear of running into a breaking wave. I told him he had to start boogie boarding… then graduate to surfing. Not being afraid of the water is the first step.
Back at the casino, I was having a hard time adjusting to people recognizing me and complimenting me. It’s something that I can’t seem to get used to and I never feel comfortable while it’s happening. Katrina was witness to this the night before and couldn’t stop laughing at how awkward I get around people who say nice things to me. She gets me though.
“Hey, we saw your show last night! You were great!”
I thank them without making eye contact and then walk away mumbling to myself.
Tuesday night would be our third show and we were three for three. All good crowds. At this show, something beeping went off during my set but I stayed course because I was in the middle of a good joke. When I hit the punch line and it got only a mediocre response, I said, “that would have gotten a better response if it weren’t for that beeping. That’s a great joke.” And then the audience applauded me, but I then scolded them for their pity claps.
After the show, us comics (John, Matthew, myself), went to the buffet to eat food where we talked shop, exchanged stories, and laughed. There was a lot of, “of you should say that on stage.” This is always a good way to end a night.