Live Monkeys

Last month, bloggers far and wide posted entries about the jobs they’ve had. This was the first “Monkey” from blork and Martine.
This month’s monkey is a little more philosophical (read hard): “Talk about the times in your life when you felt really, really alive.”
Okay, here goes:

Homo Alone
Homo Alone was my first (and, it turns out, my last) directing experience. The play was amazing, the cast was awesome, and we kicked ass. The play was the top seller at the Montreal Fringe Festival that year. There’s nothing like sitting in a packed theatre, watching your beloved actors giving their all, and feeling the audience get it.
On a good day, that is. When I’m absolutely on the ball, teaching is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I get a physical rush from it. The down side is that I feel really, really low when it doesn’t all come together – whether it’s because the students aren’t participating, or my material is too thin, or I just can’t generate the enthusiasm I think the topic should inspire. But man, when it works, it rocks.
Not Quite the First Time
I remember very little about my first time (you know, “it”). There was a sunset and a beach, which sounds romantic, but it was cold and damp. Not particularly memorable. What I do remember is the first time I experienced, um, total satisfaction. Wow. Suffice it to say different guy, different place (although coincidentally, still outdoors).
Okay, yes, corny – but true. When Dr. T and I were engaged after only three months together, people thought we were nuts. But we knew. We knew after one week, and after those three months, we only knew more. This summer will be our tenth wedding anniversary. We knew.
There are two separate “moments” here – the first is the actual birth, which is messy and excruciating and exhausting and seemingly endless. Believe me when I say that for me, there was nothing else in those moments. The physical act of birth is something intense, and the rest of the world falls away.
I don’t get it when people say that you forget the experience. It’s true that I had forgotten just how intense the sensations were – with son number two, I actually went to the hospital with those annoying little Braxton-Hicks contractions, convinced I was in labour. But the experience of birth – well, every moment of it is etched in my memory. I remember the pattern on the curtains, the colour of the chairs, the position of the sun, the funny hat the anesthetist wore, the conversation I had with the first-year med students (and the way they were pressed up against the farthest wall of the room as if contractions were contagious), and the lovely whoosh along my spine as the epidural kicked in.
The second moment comes right after all that – that first moment you hold your newborn baby, and see his face for the first time. It’s indescribable.

10 Replies to “Live Monkeys”

  1. Fantastic – I like your monkeys! It’s funny, two of my friends said that they can’t remember the labour (and one says she can’t really remember being pregnant!). I would think something like that would be unforgettable, which is what you were saying.
    And thank you – after reading many books and articles about how traumatic and terrifying it is to give birth, it’s good to read that the experience was positive and exhilarating for you!

  2. I could go on and on – yes, it is terrifying, but when all is said and done, it’s only a few hours of terror. Like a sensurround marathon of slasher flicks, but with optional drugs.
    Being pregnant, at least the first time, was amazing!! Feeling this person growing and moving inside of you is one of those sensations that is impossible to compare to anything else. The second time around, the cons (like constant nausea and heartburn to the point of vomiting) slightly outweighed the pros…
    The absolute best long-term thing is breastfeeding. It’s incredible. It’s the one thing I really, really miss about my boys as babies (that and the extra-large boobs. I really miss those, too). My first son made this weird humming noise while breastfeeding. It was the most wonderful serenade ever.

  3. (Originally ofg): Geez, whatever happened to Matt? He was supposed to be the next big thing; he had the looks for it.
    And Jacques is always good.
    So, this means that you knew David Gobeil Taylor, right?

  4. Yes indeed, I knew David.
    Unfortunately, my life in theatre is no more, and I haven’t seen many of my former buds of late. I miss them terribly!
    Matt, as you say, looked like he was going places. I have seen him in a few commercials, and I think I caught a glimpse of him in a promo for the Eleventh Hour, as an extra.
    I take it from your comments that you, too, are or were a fringer and/or local theatre person. Did you know the Hechtman brothers?

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