Yesterday was my third trip to NYC in as many weeks for summer Young Artist Program auditions. Last weekend I spent the whole weekend down there, staying with old friends from Nativity, watching the ACC Championship game at a crowded BC bar on the lower east side, and somehow ending up in Hoboken on Saturday night playing Rock Band.
I have been so busy that I didn’t want to spend much time away from Boston this weekend, so I decided to go down and back in one day. I have been riding Bolt Bus, the new discount Greyhound line that has wireless and outlets for computers. By the time I had my schedule figured out many of the buses were sold out for yesterday, so I got stuck with a 7am bus down and a 7:30pm bus back. Luckily for me my lovely brother agreed to come into midtown and goof off with me between my noon-time arrival and 3:30, when I had to be at the audition site.
Our bus got in a little early, and my brother wasn’t off the train yet. I left him a message and decided to head over to Penn Station to use a bathroom after the long ride. The only thing standing between Penn and me? A parade of hundreds of Santa Clauses.
I love Boston because it is an active city but it’s manageable. When I am there, I always feel like I am in control. There is nothing to make you feel like you are out of control like swimming upstream on 8th Avenue through a crowd of Santas while having to use the bathroom.
I made it into the station and into the line for the ladies’ room. It’s always disheartening to have to wait in line for a bathroom you know will be disgusting. It’s like waiting in line for a portable john. As I was in line my brother called as we went through the normal “Where are you? Where are you?” “I’m in line for the bathroom at Penn Station!” I said. My brother’s reply “I’m stuck in the middle of a Santa Claus parade!”
The rest of the goofing off went relatively well. Manhattan was ridiculously crowded, even more than usual, because of the various holiday festivities. We swung by Rockefeller Center because we had heard rumors of a tuba festival, and we were still seeing wandering Santas hours after the parade began on the steps of the post office. I spent an hour warming up, sang well, changed back into my sneakers and hauled to the bus stop, hoping to get on an earlier bus. I was successful, getting an open seat on a 5:30 bus and walking back into my apartment at 10:10.
So I did it. I had colleagues in grad school who would go down for NYC auditions and I just wasn’t ready for that. Making demos and sending them to these programs that only audition in New York was just too much for me (and in retrospect, I wasn’t even close to ready vocally). It took me until I was 25 to start doing summer programs, which many singers start doing around 19 – first I did one in Boston, then one in California, and finally one abroad, where half of my fellow singers were 6 or 7 years younger than I am.
I’m finally ready for a challenge as small as going down to New York to audition. Another thing I thought I could never do, that would be way too much for me and my routines and anxiety and neuroticism, I just got on the bus and did. I was lamenting to my mother a few weeks ago how far ‘behind’ I felt in that I am just now doing the things that many of my friends have been doing for years, and she simply said to me “you’re not done yet”. So I’ll keep plugging away at my own pace.
Congrats to all friends and readers who have completed their December auditions as well. You all inspire me.