I met a couple on the plane that bought me drinks and it reminded me of my first ever flight to Vegas; same seat, different couple. Instead of wine coolers, we had Stella and I remembered that when I was 19 I lied about my age and made up who I was. I pretended to be the person I wanted to be, but at 29 I was that person and told them the truth. When I was coming down the elevator I saw a man dancing on the street, and I felt as free as I did at 19 in sin city for the first time, free.
I thought I had a ride with a comic friend but he was nowhere to be found. I called Aaron, the old roommate I had grown close with. I offered to get an Uber to him for a drink but he said he’d come to get me. It feels good when friends get you from the airport. We started solid and laughing but the conversation turned. Aaron told me I bring nothing to the table, and maybe he’s right for his table. He never asked me to bring a dish even if I tried, it feels like he’s always been waiting for me to trip and spill my own meals. I surprised myself by leaving and it made me feel like I shed some skin. There was an ironic backdrop while I was taking shit from a friend of messages from strangers asking me what I was doing.
I woke up on the floor in the bedroom I usually rent in North Las Vegas, it’s in a bad neighborhood with a good friend. There’s a futon with a cat on it but it’s broken and feels like a torture device if you sleep on it. There are leather couch pillows from a couch I’ve never seen but it was so hot the floor must have felt better last night. I keep an air mattress in my car but she’s back in Baltimore. I was up with no complaints, rushed to yoga so I could be clean and clear for the show I flew into town for.
Kris Shaw picked me up outside my trashed apartment building, with a face full of makeup and two palms full of sweat. I told Kris I couldn’t smoke before the show and he look relieved I was taking it seriously because he put his neck out to get me there. I wanted to make him feel like I always come through. The show itself went great, everyone in the audience wanted to meet me and other comics congratulated me, but no one producing said anything, not one word. Now they’re just an Instagram account that watches my Instagram stories in the first ten minutes but won’t acknowledge my existence when I reach out. I have no idea what to make of that.
While I was inside the theater trying to make sense of what was happening, Adam Dominguez was running a carnival game downstairs in downtown Las Vegas, the one where you try to hang out a pull-up bar they grease or something. At one point he asked a homeless guy to run it so he could come up and say hi. I loved the comic community at that moment, we felt like a sitcom with close cast members.
I woke up on the floor again, rushed an Uber to the airport in the morning. I never enjoy leaving Vegas as much as I do coming, I am sure a lot of people feel that way. I landed in Baltimore to another horrible breakup with Michael that ended with me driving to friends to get high before driving for four hours to my parent’s house. Instead, the friend and I ingested hallucinations and had a night that could only be described as a movie montage of us dancing, twitching on the floor, stretching, painting, and shooting bb guns; all with a unicorn onesie on. At one point he let me shoot at him with a bb gun while he looked like ET wrapped in a blanket running across his yard, I somehow hit him in the ear. In the “morning” (four PM) I went to Michaels’s house to say fuck it, I don’t know if I’m in a toxic relationship or in love with someone with mental health problems. But I loved him and at that moment it felt like that was all that mattered.
I left for Florida the next day. I only needed to drive about 13 hours but Mike Faverman insisted part of my job was to drive six extra hours to pick him up. I slept at hour 12 in the parking lot of a Marriott hotel, I made a comfortable tent in my back seat perfectly. I put the dashboard sun reflector over the back seat and dropped one of the seats so I could put my legs through to the trunk. It was relaxing and I felt like sleeping in y car was more doable, which itself is a relief.
The first night the show went okay, I did 30 pretty good minutes but it didn’t feel like much. The crowd was small and they were so far apart it was hard to keep the audience together. The next night was packed and somehow I was more disconnected than the first. It felt bad like I came all the way to just make an ass out of myself. Mike said it sounded good but I could tell, I could feel it. The booker from that show spread the word of my failure and got me off the next two shows. It was hard, but I had no one to blame but myself. I lost focus, concentrated on things that were far away. It all came down to a shit opening joke that I didn’t have time to dig myself out from. I could’ve just said “thank you for inviting me to your strip mall” and let it kill like it usually does. Instead, I set a tone that no one could take seriously enough to hear me out.
The bad night of comedy coincided with Michael and I suffering another horrific breakup, his new problem was that I’m not taking life seriously. He’s not wrong, I just wanna make art and live outside of society as much as possible. But it’s not like he said this to help me out, so I am f*cking out. I could blame that show on me feeling terrible, but I’ve gotten on stage still crying and killed, there’s no outside excuse; I did that, it’s just me up there, you know?
I was low that weekend in Florida. It was sticky from the humidity and I was overwhelmed by feelings I had no outlet for. I kept a smile on for Mike Faverman so he’d keep letting me open for him but he could tell I was wearing it as a formality and told me to focus and leave anything else on the stage. There was no stage for me that weekend in Miami anymore, so I walked around by myself and sad drank Friday instead of attending the show I had lost. When Saturday showed up I didn’t leave the room at night, only made it down the steps when someone stopped to ask me if I was at Miller’s ale house last night. I said yes and he tried to talk to me about meeting me last night so I said “nice to see you again,” and kept walking to 711. When in line the guy next to me says “sup, Trish.” I looked perplexed enough for him to explain we met the night before and it all came back to me. 711 had a drastically different light than the dive bar where we apparently met. It just felt surreal and it’s not like these people know I’m alone most of the time and how much it messes with me when someone nonchalantly says my name.
Saturday night I was in the green room of the Miami Laugh Factory on my phone, one of my friends posted a picture of themselves meeting Doug Stanhope, then someone in the Greenroom asked me to look up from my phone to show me a video of Doug rubbing his balls on the stuff of another comic in a video from 1999. The world seems so small.
Sunday night we drove into key west, Mike gave me a pep talk on how I needed to get it back or start over. I got the sense the booker talked to Miami because the Key West booker fought me for how much time I was allowed on stage. I asked if I could send him a video, I was upset I drove all this way for a short time slot. He said, “We hired Mike, not you.”
After the show, he thanked me profusely for coming by, helped me set up my merch stand, and even bought some. Needless to say, I crushed it. Even Mike said it was one of my best and asked if it made me feel good. I shrugged and said I can’t shake Florida. We went out that night and saw an old friend, she was exactly the same amount of crazy as when I met her almost ten years ago. Mike said he was either going to sleep with her or eat all her food. On the drive back to Miami he described her kitchen pantry in detail. We laughed about it saying this means he is old now, he agreed and kept describing the sandwich he made with her random cabinet ingredients.
We got back to Miami on November 22nd, It was the 11th anniversary of the death of my first boyfriend, Jaime Solivan. Each year I write some long post about it but I haven’t said anything in a while, for no other reason but I don’t have the time to sit and write, which I guess is a good thing. I don’t think it’s because my feelings have changed, I remember laying on the floor after his funeral explaining to someone that told me “time heals” that they just don’t understand, in ten years, twenty years, I am still just going to miss him. I was right. I know I was young when he left but he pioneered who I am, why I am. Here is an essay I wrote for him that I think captures that:
In a temperature-controlled room, I am sweating, the floor is shaking to the bass and I can’t see anything through the fog or the smoke or whatever it is. Laser beams come through the clouds and I remember thinking that none of this makes any sense.
Just when I’m ready to abandon it I see you, making a circular motion with your hips that is neither dancing nor stretching. I can feel the happiness radiating off of you and I ease back into the chaos willingly.
When the sun starts to come up I lay down, you spoon feed me taco mix when there are no food vendors around. I don’t question it while I make a motion for you to hand me the water. When I plead with you to take me home, you laugh and ask me if home is the beach. I could try to get out of it, but who could argue with your “birthday month”?
I finally get up and you throw me over your shoulder, take two steps, and admit you can’t do it so we laugh all the way to the car. Driving two hours with no hotel keys, no money, and no worries; you’re just fist pumping like the sun never came up. At no time have I questioned where I got a sense that everywhere is home.
I miss the crowded warehouses in Baltimore. I miss the carelessness in the eyes of everyone around me. I miss thinking “if life doesn’t make sense why should we.” But I don’t miss anything quite like I miss you.
Back in Miami, Mike Faverman took me to a show I all but begged not to go to, to his defense I did not tell him about Jaime or the anniversary. The only thing worse than spending Jaime’s anniversary alone was going to a show no one wanted me at. I anxiously walked around and begged myself not to drink. But In the end, I ended up having a conversation with a potential investor for some future thing I hope to tell y’all about. But let’s just say our ideas collided and this could be perfect. So I guess the moral of the story is that even when you are losing your mind just keep going and act like it’s not happening… Right?
I spent all day driving after I dropped Mike Faverman off to make it to Tampa for another flight. I visited my cousin and an old friend in town from Bangkok. I wanted my flight to get canceled or not work out, I was again taking standbys through my pilot friend. I made plans when I was living in Las Vegas to open up for Mike Faverman in New Mexico, and now that I was in Florida on Thanksgiving I was regretting this plan. But here’s the thing, I don’t ever flake on commitments, and when I say I am going to do something I do it. This is why I try so hard not to make plans because it leads me to ten hours of flying, spending Thanksgiving in Pahrump NV, doing a large show in New Mexico (or was it Arizona?), driving back to Vegas, and then flying to DC to make other shows.
After all that I am dropped off at my first show in DC, it’s the one I produce on a heated rooftop in Dupont Circle. Some friends showed up and even though it was a smaller show than usual, it was a fun one. Micheal showed up at the last second and brought a few friends to make up for fighting with me, I don’t know if it did but I can’t tell you how warm it is to be held by him after handing out flyers in the cold. The next night I did a show in Virginia and brought him so we could spend a little time together. We were having a fun night but at some point on the drive home he snapped and we broke up for good. I would like to spare you the details as he is more afraid of how I will portray him to other people than how I actually feel, and this was our worst fight yet. I don’t write this to hurt anyone, I write this to show how I feel; and I feel betrayed, as I am sure he does too.
November has been a hard month to write about, and looking back it’s never been an easy month for me. I am sure the start of the holidays is hard for most people, but there’s something about the cold that creeps into me, even when running away to Florida.