I love my art class. Its not really a class per se. There’s no teacher and I’m not learning anything…not officially anyways. Its just something that has become a big part of my life the last four year and its a lot like having a job. I go. I do things. I talk to people. I have relationships. I go to board meetings. I do a newsletter. And all this from going to a single drawing class one night four years ago.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, its really the only life I have. I don’t do much else. I’m on disability. But in a way, the art class has all of the same elements as work…meetings, budgets, deadlines, people taking sides on issues, people not always liking each other. Did I mention low level anger bordering on volcanic rage? I’m not naming any names though.
And then there’s stress. Not something I am fond of. Stress is one of the reasons I’m on disability. Bipolar + stress= Ahhhh-hide-your-knives-hhh!!!!!
I had never really felt that stress until this year. Not sure why. I’ve been co-hosting with Charlemagne for well over a year, but its just been in the last 6 months that the stress has really started bothering me.
But this isn’t about Charlemagne. Its about what seems to be an unending if not esculating chaos of my art group. Like Wednesday night for instance. JS was hosting, which meant I was a paying customer. I mean, if he needs to step away from the money box for a moment, I’ll help out, but generally he’s the Master of his Domain. Although I’ve been thinkin’ lately, Charlemagne may soon just finally push that very dangerous secret button and JS will simply take out an ornate pearl-handled pistol and deliver a single shot to his heart. That’s just how efficient and precise JS is.
Anyhoo, so I got there about ten minutes to seven and he had on his usual yet somewhat unsettling Cheshire cat smile. He always does. That’s what worries me. Don’t funeral parlor owners smile alot? The model for the night hadn’t shown up yet and we had a pretty good crowd. Usually by now, Charlemagne would be out in the hallway, saying Fuck about 1000 times, but calling potential replacement models. But not JS. He was just standing around, smiling and welcoming people. Unfortunately I was starting to get stressed out and I wasn’t even co-hosting. I think it was because he kept asking me what time it was about every 3 minutes….
…And he was not even doing anything about the missing model. Finally at 7 — the time when we’re supposed to start — he turns to me and calmly says, “Would you like to get on stage and do our gesture poses, witty, while I call Fearless Art Leader about the model situation?”
This is me…
Needless to say, I think you know what the answer was.
Now I know that JS doesn’t like Charlemagne, but I also know that Charlemagne could have fixed this problem almost instantaneously, since he has all the model’s phone numbers in his cell phone, so I told JS we should call him. JS sort of winced, but finally handed me some quarters and I went outside and called Charlemagne on a pay phone. He said to call back in five minutes, but not before admonishing me for not borrowing someone’s cell phone and not knowing what was going on upstairs as in…
“Is JS modeling?” I almost died laughing on that one. He’s a nice guy, but he’s probably second only to Dick Cheney in people most likely not to model live in front of a group of artists. So I yelled at Charlemagne to just make the damn calls. I decided to wait indoors since a drug dealer stopped by and wanted to use the pay phone, and drug dealers always get first dibs.
I finally called him back and he yelled into the phone “I’m coming down! I’m coming down!!! I called six people and nobody could come. I better get paid! I’m coming down!” (slam!)
I stood there dazed. omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg. I’m just minutes away from seeing Charlemagne’s schmeckle for the first time. omg.
Plus I also knew that I had to give JS the news and even though he’d still be smiling like a game show host, a nuclear bomb of anger would slowly be ticking down inside of him. omg.
So I went upstairs and he had one of our young artists up on stage doing the gesture poses. WTF? I guess he had to do something. So I told him the news.
Charlemagne. Naked. 15 minutes.
The Cheshire cat grin sorta iced over for a second. “Did he call “L” the Hippy Chick?” Me: I have no idea. Him: (more ice.)
I felt so bad about the bad news that I offered to model for the 10 minute pose. At least I didn’t have to do all those melodramatic Madonna Vogue poses. And I had enjoyed my modeling gig back in May at our conference. And fortunately this time we didn’t have a wheely office chair that twirled around, because evidently I twirled around a little too much last time (anxiety? Ya think?) according to someone and they had trouble drawing me.
Oh dear. My careeeeer is ovah!!!!! (me sobbing)
So I got onstage still holding my glasses and a charcoal pencil and for some reason JS introduced me as a Librarian.
He could have at least added “Marian the Librarian” or the updated version “Martine…the Sexy Substitute Librarian, who will (cough) punch your library card if you meet her in the stacks”
But alas, it was just witty, in her black shorts and her red tank top. Woo! Is it hot in here or is it just that fully clothed, slightly plump 49 year old woman?
About 3/4 of the way through the pose I heard the tell-tale clomp-clomp-clomp of Charlemagne racing up the stairs at full tilt. He yelled, “Who’s the model?” Smart ass. I just continued to drink in the attention of having 20 wonderful people staring at me, which is pretty heady, considering its usually just Guardcat, and that’s when she’s not hunting down mice. (She just got her latest yesterday).
Finally it was over and Charlemagne came out in a red plaid robe. He helped me down, but only after I stood there with my hand stretched out for a good 40 seconds. Sheesh!
I pretty much knew he was going to face away from me. You know, him and his schmeckle. And he did. He took his robe off, facing away from me. Its just a penis fercrissakes. I’m going to see it anyways….even-tu-ally. So I fooled him the next time. The next pose he got into position and then after it started I moved all my stuff to the other side of the room and got the Full Monty. Hee! My bad! 🙂
It was nice, Charlemagne. Truly. No reason to turn away. And then during the break he wouldn’t talk to me. And then at the end of the night, when we usually chat for quite a while, he just left. Was he embarrassed? Probably. For someone with so much blustery machismo, I was a little perplexed.
JS also acted like he was perturbed for the rest of the evening. He always draws when he hosts. ALWAYS. Well, he didn’t draw at all. He just did little stupid stuff, like paperwork and fritzing around with stereo wires. He wouldn’t even look at Charlemagne.
Did I get any good drawings? No. I just felt all angsty and uncomfortable and stressed out. I also felt sad that Charlemagne didn’t talk to me. And “L” the Hippy Chick didn’t show up until almost the end of the evening, so I didn’t even get to chat with her!
So as you can see, my art class and your work place may be a lot alike. People not showing up. The boss struggling to cover for them. People not liking each other. Your boss asking you to do things you don’t want to do. I suppose the only difference is, I get to see my co-workers naked here. But then again, I don’t know where you work.