Wednesday, April 17, 2002

There's a tradition in the theater of being superstitious about second nights...okay, in the theater we're superstitious about LOTS of things, but this one makes a more sense. Your second performance lacks the adrenaline and goodwill of a first time out, and so "second night blahs" are a legendary phenomenon.

We didn't get the blahs--we got the nightmares.

At two o'clock today, as I prepared to eat a salad and then run the show with Jean-Michele, I watched in slow motion as she got up from where she was sitting, and my Titanium G4 laptop slid off her lap and fell, 4 feet, onto tile flooring. I actually heard the snap as the right hinge supporting the screen gave way and broke, leaving the laptop unopenable and unusable for the performance this evening, as well as trapping all my data, book, show, correspondence and life inside of it.

Rarely have I panicked so hard, so fast. You see, I baby this laptop--it's my first one, and I gave it all the right clothes, good cases, nice care and constant attention, I fretted when it got a scratch on its perfect hide because it was the most expensive and useful tool I've ever owned. In a few seconds it became the most broken tool--totally wrecked, scratched and mauled.

We were at a restaurant, so JM and I hurried home, where I ran around in circles like a chicken with my head chopped off. Titanium Powerbooks don't look like other computers...that's why we use one. I could use JM's iBook for tonight, but it looks wrong AND we have that photo call the next day. I continued to run around in circles, trying to think.

The whole time we are trying to come up with a plan between 3:30 and the 5:00 tech call, we hear this incredibly high-pitched whining's all through the house, like a fire alarm. It is horrible, and it cuts through our heads as I try to see if Super Glue can hold a $3,000 laptop together. Verdict: no. I can be a world-class impulsive buffoon, but even I don't have the cajones to try that.

We decide to visit TekServe, after a frantic phone call filled with the words "broken," "need now," and, "have show Off-Broadway." A very nice man named Dennis took us in hand and told us to come down...maybe we could put the Powerbook in for repair, and get a rental.

We rush to TekServe, who are wonderful--they have this eclectic workplace filled with millions of Macs, all in differing states of repair, and you can buy $.10 Cokes from an old-fashioned vending machine while you wait. We don't need any Cokes because we are haunted...everywhere we go, the horrible whining persists! It was outside our apartment, then on the subway, now at TekServe. And as we wait for help, the employees are hearing it too and it is starting to drive them mad. They are digging through all the machines, looking for the faulty hard drive that must be making the horrible noise. We don't tell them that it is following us, because we're dealing with the fact that there are no Powerbook rentals--and we need a temporary Powerbook, right now, for tonight. It also needs to have all my data on it.

So we do the only thing possible--via the power of MasterCard, I buy a brand-new PowerBook, leave them the old PowerBook after they kindly swap the RAM, Airport card and hard drive, which mercifully didn't crash its heads in the drop. Between the repair and the sudden new computer, I have suddenly spent $3,000 I didn't expect in the mid-afternoon, and unlike buying designer clothes, I just feel seasick instead of sexy and cool.

On the upside, a lot of the TekServe guys had heard of the show, and they were really nice to me, including cutting corners so I could get out of there very quickly...I owe them all a big round of thanks.

On the downside, JM had to leave before I did as she had duties at the theater...and when she left, the horrible sound left too. Later we discovered that at the same time that the PowerBook died, her stage management timer got crushed, and for some reason it started emitting that awful tone. We were way too freaked out to identify it, and the sound then just haunted us all over the city from her bag.

With the drive transfered and quickly tested, I dashed across town just in time to get into costume and do the second night...and on the upside, we appear to have gotten our bad luck out of the way, because the show itself went off without a hitch.