Life-in-a-box (planning for the tour)
So… there’s this little play that I’m doing this summer and fall. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Phone Whore. Really. It’s little. It’s just got me in it. I have a director and a tech director and a set builder, but on stage it’s just me in my pajamas. The set pieces can all fit in my 1991 Toyota Corolla, plus two suitcases, a duffle bag, an office-in-a-box, and a pantry-in-a-box.
(Oooh, an office-in-a-box? Sounds snazzy! What is it? Ummm… office and merch supplies thrown in a box. Same thing for pantry-in-a-box: rice, granola, sofrito, tuna fish, peanuts, and a good chef’s knife. In a box. As simple as dick in a box, but easier to explain to customs.)
A lot of my life is wrapped up in getting this show on the road, getting it booked into places, getting homestay, making a fantastic poster, and, well, packing my life in a box for five months and putting it on wheels. That in itself is fairly traumatic. But add on top of it, I’m basically committing to saying the same vulnerable, sexy, scary things (one audience member at the Boston opening weekend called it “intense”) for 50 or 60 shows over the next five months.
How can I tell that I’m scared? I find myself second-guessing my decisions, even with the positive feedback, even with the plans in place, even with the Montreal postcards done and sent to print, the first of thousands of cards I’ll be handing out to people this year with my face on them (layered over a fierce pegging narrative, a very readable wall of smut in 20% grayscale).
I keep bugging my director. It’s not too much? I ask. NO, she says, shut up.
I look at posts like this, about how coming out and sharing one’s story as a sex worker is a privilege, and I think, god, what I’m doing is so fucking self-centered and privileged.
And then I feel the weight of the responsibility, because I know that people are going to take me and my play as some kind of representation of the whole, and it’s not, it really isn’t, but that doesn’t matter, because in the larger scheme of things, that’s just the way it’s going to be interpreted. And then I try to sort out unnecessary guilt from necessary good intent, and that’s a bitch, let me tell you.
And then I think, what if people really like it and come out to it? I’m going to have to file taxes in Canada next year, jeezus, I still owe $7000 in back taxes here in my own goddamn country! Or what if people start stalking me because of it? And then I start to get an anxiety attack.
And then inevitably the phone rings. (Warm pork chops or an anxiety attack, the calls always interrupt something good.) (And actually another call came in just now, a 15-minute hand-job. Five bucks for me, yay!) But you know what? As busy as I am, making lists or trying to reach kinksters in Calgary or nailing down a venue in DC–even while on tour, because I’m sticking as close to my required shifts as possible–I need the calls to keep coming in.
For starters I need to keep making money. I don’t know how the tour is going to do. But beyond that, doing the calls calms me right the fuck down. It reminds me where the hell this all comes from, this play, my comedy stuff, the tour. A fifteen-minute titty fuck grounds me in the straightforward (which is not always to say simple) act of getting a stranger off. Audiences and reviewers and the public and, hell, community standards can be prickly little bastards, fickle and treacherous. But my callers only want one thing, and by god, I know beyond doubt that I am good at giving it.