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Mar 22, 2019
@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Oh Baby, It’s All About The Moon
“No, the moon ain’t romantic, it’s intimidating as hell.”
— Tom Waits
It wasn’t a particularly long day, though it wasn’t a particularly good one either, by my standards or yours. A regular shift. The same checklist. Things will change. Maybe for better, maybe for worse. But if there’s one thing that’s always in my control, it’s that things will change.
It’s almost an hour commute home, to Queens. Where I’ll use the bathroom, brush my teeth, wash my hands, and get in the car, another hour or so to get to the gig.
It’s a routine at this point. And I haven’t changed it because I like it. I don’t like the traffic, but I like the company when I arrive. I like getting on stage. I like (some) of the new jokes scribbled in my notebook. It’s all I’ve looked forward to all day.
From Queens to the comedy club on Long Island, I’ll be stuck in it: rush hour traffic. There’s no need to get angry about it, or anxious: I’ve done it enough to know I’ll make it there on time. Road rage management is not something I was born with, but something I had to teach myself. Music will get you there. No point getting upset about traffic. Out of your control.
But then something happens. And even though it’s happened before, it takes me by surprise every time.
It takes a second for my brain to register that it is the moon. Looming just over the trees, huge and pumpkin orange. One of those full harvest moons, you know.
“Holy fucking shit,” I say out loud to no one, “look at that moon!”
It’s so beautiful, I nearly want to call people and tell them to go outside: go outside right now and look at the moon.
It brings me such a level rapture, whatever was getting me down that day or that week, suspended, in the moonlight. Perfection in the sky. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said to someone, my voice a little higher than normal with excitement, “did you see the moon?!” To which my audience would say, nonchalantly, “yeah. It’s the moon.”
I’m a nerd, yes, but it makes me a little me a little sad when someone can’t step back from their lives or themselves and go, “wow, look at that! That’s worth my entire existence!”
Recently I’ve finished Neil DeGrasse Tyons, “Astrophysics For People in a Hurry.” Never have I felt dumber. Every paragraph I read twice, and at the end of the chapter, I’d go, “that makes a lot of sense,” only to start the next chapter and think, “what the fuck is going on in the universe?” To really grasp the math and chemistry of astrophysics you have to be a genius. And I know I’m a pretty intelligent person, but I don’t even come close to wrapping my head around understanding the cosmos.
Science should be all of our religions. Push aside your Bibles, Quran, Sutras, Vedas, Crystals & Essential Oils, it’s poppycock. It doesn’t impress me. But the moon… now the moon impresses me. It should impress you too. And it should make you wonder.
Fact: The Earth’s Moon is about 1/400th the diameter of the Sun, but it is also 1/400th as far from us, making the Sun and the Moon the same size on the sky— a coincidence not shared by any other planet-moon combination in the solar system, allowing for uniquely photogenic total solar eclipses.*
If math was the only subject you could never get an A in like me, you might have had to look up what “diameter” meant again. And then thought on it, day after day. What incredible odds. The odds of those distances/sizes lining up in a massive and random universe for the sun and the moon to appear the same size. Oh yeah, science is fucking amazing. That’s amazing. The moon is amazing. Science makes me question coincidences.
As far as surfers go, we’re as much moon worshipers as lovers of Mother Ocean. Ocean tides are created by combing the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun, combined with the rotation of the Earth (which is why tides occur twice a day). A changing tide can make or ruin a surf break. Many times I’ve waiting for tides to drop or rise for conditions to be ideal. Many times I’ve missed the window of when the tides would be right and therefore missed the swells too.
That’s a lot of science jargon for a girl’s blog who usually writes about comedy/depression/drug use/family/relatively boring stories written in a relatively crafty and clever way… but anyway…
On that drive to my gig, the sight of moon had me floored. As the night went on, it would rise, looking further away, the yellow glow turning into your more traditional moon, but still fantastic none the less.
When I went into the green room, with familiar faces and friends, I said, “hey did you guys see the moon?!” One or two comics were as stoked as I was. The rest gave a shrug and a “yeah, it was cool.”
For me it was more than just cool. A both literal and metaphorical light in the dark. A moment of something pure. Take that however you want.
The crowd was hot, and it was a stellar show. After my set, Keith Anthony, one of the veterans of the scene and a really funny comic said, “none of this depressed girl stuff anymore… that crowd loved you.” I failed to see how one was connected to the other. I’m not pretending to be depressed when I am. I don’t pretend to be happy when I’m not.
Then again, I was missing his point. I was missing his point that it was connected. There are invisible forces that do exist.
Another comic gets off stage and immediately starts telling us a tragic story. And without missing a beat, one of my favorite under appreciated comics, Matt Burke goes, “can you enjoy your set for just a second?”
That made me laugh so hard. It was just perfect. So goddamn funny, that Matt Burke is.
We’re doomed. All the Matt Burke’s, Lori Palminteri’s, Nick Griffin’s of our worlds. Because it is all connected: the depression, anxiety, the sense of humor, the stage, the crowds, the industry, our peers, the opening of a notebook to write jokes, and the closing of a notebook to go to sleep instead. They all pull at each other at all times. Some for better, some for worse.
And it makes me think of this quote, by Nairy Fstukh, “The love affair between the moon and the ocean has never been a beautiful one. For fucks sake. The water is constantly being pulled by something it can never touch.”
Still, I hope I’m never not blown away by the moon.
*Astrophysics For People In A Hurry