On Monday I did not want to wake up. I was filled with dread. Only the worst could come out of this day, I just knew it.
I buried my head in my pillow, and wondered why I thought shutting my eyes to the world was going to solve any of my problems.
Eventually, when it was almost to late to do anything, I got up, showered and braved the icy cold of the early day.
I walked South to Economy Candy and stood in wonder for a moment as I gazed at their wall-to-wall shop fall of delightful cavity inducing wonders.
I wanted to try everything and nothing all at the same time. Candy is good, but sometimes it just leaves you feeling like a cheap date; empty and a little bit worthless.
I called my colleague and asked her how many Candied Stars we wanted for tonight's dreaded event. She told me 5 pounds for each. I told the lady. And moments later I was hailing a cab with a large shopping bag filled with blue and white candied stars...and a ready-made Smore (do you add the 'S' for singular use?) for me. I needed some kind nutrition for breakfast.
On the way to the office I was told I would not have to go to meeting at 11am and my mood lightened a great deal. I dropped the Candied Stars off to the Marketing Lady, tasted one: bad, and then proceeded to watch 'My Super Sweet 16' in the reception office with the awesome receptionist and my extremely messy Smore. 30 seconds really is too much.
Once I had wiped all the chocolate off my face, I then thought that I might need new shoes for the event and went to the horribly organized shoe store on the corner of 14th Street and Broadway. I walked away with nothing but a request for my phone number from a man from the Caribbean who liked Cricket.
I told him I was taken. I had enough Cricket in my life to last me forever.
I had to run to the Salon to get my hair done for the event at 6:30pm. I was nervous because I felt like I was running out of time. That my life was, again, just an hourglass ("...so are the days of our lives"). I felt like I was completely out of control, that time was just steering me to my impending doom.
I then encountered one of those, "New York Hates Me" moments when there is not a cab available anywhere. I was going to be late. So late. Half an hour late. I walked all the way up to 19th Street before I saw one glowing its golden light just for me.
The Salon experience, was long but pleasant. I always find it interesting to be asked, "What would you like to drink" and then to never receive it. It had happened twice at the Salon already (my hair was a mess) and I had decided to just decline whenever it was asked.
Then tea came, and I bit my lip and drank.
I am now very happy with my hair. It's finally similar to my natural shade, but with a little bit more of a dark edge, and it was painless and quick and the man blow drying my hair, did so with such love that I kept patting my hair, as if to make sure it was truly connected to my messy head.
Because I had arrived at 1:30pm and it was now close to 5, it was suggested that I just get my makeup done at the Salon. I agreed because, 1: if I was going to be slaughtered, I might as well look good doing it and 2: It was not exactly my money, so...wait, hold on...uh, it was for the good of the company. Yeah. That's it.
The lady did an amazing job, and when I looked in the mirror I flashed back to when I was 14 and getting my Head Shots done for my new interest in pursuing an acting career (resulting mainly from winning 'The Adjudicators Award' (and getting the Head Shot course for free as a result) from the Australian Acting Academy. I had just been airbrushed and I turned around to the mirror and I couldn't find myself. All I could see was this strangely shaped blonde girl moving exactly the way I did. I quickly looked into the mirror and for the first time realized the wonders of makeup. I became something...well, beautiful (in magazine standards). And as a 14 year old, already full of hormones and that irritating air of desperately wanting to be an Adult, I was quite excited.
The photos were never used. The prints were a waste of money. Though pretty to look at, yes, casting directors don't want to look at airbrushed people because airbrushed people can never be ever-airbrushed (unless your Christina Aguilera). So that was silly.
I wasn't airbrushed, but she had done something to my eyelids that made my eyes pop...and then, suddenly I was rushing from the second floor of the shiny Plaza Hotel, past the portrait of Eloise, through the gorgeously decorated lobby that always makes me feel like someone special, and into a taxi.
My mother called me as the taxi whisked it's way to the East Side, and I panicked to her about how it was 5:30. By the time, I get home it will be 10 to 6, and the car is meant to be picking me up at 6. And I still was not exactly sure on what I was to wear. I told her how I was nervous because I still hadn't made any notes for the speech I was meant to give. I knew what I wanted to say, but I knew notes were good to keep the mind on one track and that I was facing the risk of having a 'blank' and forgetting what I wanted to say. She calmed me down and wished me luck.
I didn't have my keys, so Sarah came down and let me in and I ran upstairs and started to get ready. I threw on the dress I wore to the Oscars Viewing Party that I bought especially for the event, and the sparkly shoes I bought next door, also especially for the event, and added tights and a scarf. Tights because it was cold and the scarf because I don't have the right bra for the dress and would be, hanging loose. As loose as a small B cup can get.
The driver, that was organized to take me to the event, called a few times. First letting me know he was here, and secondly asking me if I was coming. I'm used to drivers simply waiting. And he was early anyway. Jake said he was told to be there at 6.15.
I shouldn't have been so surprised when I called him (after it had taken me 3 tries to actually leave the apartment without forgetting anything) that he had left because, "I couldn't wait that long." I was 3 minutes early. "Call the car company, get another car."
I called out an expletive as I hung up the phone and walked to the corner. As I was walking the car company called me, "Only 21 dollar". I hung up the phone. I didn't have the time to wait for a driver to arrive to take me to an event that a Yellow Cab could get me to in less than 10 mins and for about 6 dollars.
Unfortunately, something as silly as a driver not being there waiting for me (who really needs a personal driver, anyway?) got to me, as the melodramatic, princess version of Caitlin started to take over. The side of Caitlin wanted the car. She didn't want to be standing in the East Village made up far too preciously for the neighbourhood, and in the freezing night.
The normal Caitlin, the one typing this, just wanted to text Fox Lampert. I missed him terribly and wanted him to be with me as I faced the scary event. I read his supportive, proud texts in the taxi as reggae music blasted around me, and could barely see his lovely words through my bleary eyes. I leaned my head back and blinked furiously, I didn't want to look like I had been crying, but two long slow tears escaped from both eyes and trickled down. That was all that was needed to come out. After that, I sucked it up and prepared for business.
I got out of the cab and walked around Gramercy Park to where the event would be taking place that night, the National Arts Club, which resides in a beautiful old house that has hosted many a true artists and real celebrities party and also had a great history of being the first club to allow women as members.
As I stepped through the doors into the warmer marble entry hall, the man asked me, "Are you here for Caitlin Hill?" I smiled and nodded and he showed me the coat room.
Yes, I was here for Caitlin Hill. That's right. That's me. I still felt like a fool, but my confidence was coming back. This was an honor, treat it like so, imagine how you'll feel when it's over, be grateful, stand up straight.
When I came back to the hall, the man asked me, "Are you tonight's Honoree? Caitlin Hill?" I nodded gratefully and he said, "I thought so," and pointed me up the stairs.
I shook hands with the man organizing the event and thanked him for his hard work.
David and Jake were already there, and I felt an enormous wave of relief wash over me as I walked to stand next to them. They felt like my rocks. If I stood next to them, and just talked about whatever, everything would be fine. They both looked great in their suits, and they were nice about my "costume" too. We stood close to the doorway, that leads towards the sitting rooms and the bar, for a while, greeting people as they entered and talking about nothing in particular.
After I had greeted a few people, I realized that the anxiety had made my mouth very dry, so I ordered a coke. "You're here for Caitlin Hill, right?" I smiled and nodded again. I liked the anonymity, and watched him as he signed off some sort of check list that would measure the budget of the party.
It was great talking with Cousin Brucie, who would be speaking later. I had realized I knew a legend a few months ago after I heard his voice on Across The Universe.
There were a great deal of wonderful people there, Walter, Catherine, the investors, Billy, Grace, Reese Schonfeld (another hero in media; the creator (with Ted Turner) of CNN and founder the Food Network) a whole bunch of other people that deserved more of my whole attention and fascination, and the wonderful man that is Aldon James, president of the club. He is possibly one of the most delightful people I have ever met. He is all at once, wise, honest and extremely funny and I have a great deal of respect for him. I told him I would help him learn how to use a computer.
Sarah came too, and it was so lovely of her to take the time out of her hectic schedule to support me. She is a lovely girl, and she looked gorgeous too.
I was quite excited to talk to Grace though, because she is training people, and I have reached a stage where if I don't start doing excercize, my thighs and hips are only going to continue to get bigger. I have lost most of the weight I gained from my first 6 months in America. I am feeling much better about myself now, but I believe Grace has what it takes to bring me back into an enthusiastic routine of excercizing.
Ricky Butler was also there. I was surprised to see him because I did not expect for him to come. But he is a new member now, so I guess it was fairly easy. Still, I was happy to see him as he's a good guy and we hadn't spoken in ages.
Suddenly a bell began to clang and after quickly exchanging introductions with an Australian reporter for a New York publication, we all rushed inside where a salad was already waiting for us.
I couldn't decide whether I was happy the food came out first or not. On one hand it pleased me because now I had more time to settle in and relax, and on the other time, it would have been nice to get 'The Scary' over with and enjoy the Lamb Chops I had requested be served as the main course for everyone.
I didn't eat very much, because I was on my best behaviour and mostly talked to Aldon about all kinds of things. He is a very busy man, balancing his evening between two receptions and searching for special things in the great big house while coming back to each course.
Eventually the lamb and dessert had been cleared away, and the Misters began to make their speeches all about little ol' me and what I have done.
I was extremely grateful for the kind words they showered on me. If I truly believed I had earned those words, I would have been very excited, but I couldn't help but feel pangs of guilt as I thought of all the people that have helped me and put up with my bad manners, lateness, laziness and depression.
Nalts made a terrific speech (when he sat down he said, "and now I can get hammered!" - I love him!), he was just brilliant, as was Reese, Allan Shaw, Cousin Brucie, Walter and Aldon, the nerves started to grow as I realized that maybe winging the speech wasn't such a great idea after all.
When Aldon presented me with the Medal of Honor for a Lifetime Acheivement in The Arts, I wobbled up to the podium, thanked him and stared at amazing at the round, gold medal, that, even though it was quite heavy, lifted my spirits and inspired me to do a little better...at everything.
I started my speech and it seemed to go over well. I felt like I might have breathed into the microphone too much, but I made the crowd laugh when I added my random lines and jokes and asides, and eventually reached the end and accepted the medal on behalf of ALL video creators online who want to acheive greater things.
People stood up and clapped, and it was the most lovely thing. I didn't know everyone in the room, but I am so glad that they were extremely supportive.
I did get very angry at myself for forgetting to mention one of my colleagues though, it plagued me for the whole night.
Once people had started parting for the night, Sarah and I watched Ricky and Nalts drink and be merry while filming on the Flip Sarah borrowed from Luke for the night, and be very funny with all their witty banter and true observations.
I thanked my boss for all that he had done and it felt good for everyone to be happy.
We were one of the last people to leave, there was this lovely woman there called Rose who was taking lots of pictures of everyone and was very sweet to me. She gave Sarah and I some good solid advice about boys and then we braved the cold that was even icier now, and accepted Nalts' invitation to drive us home.
When I got inside and sat on my bed, I shared a private, happy moment, where I simply smiled nad felt fulfilled. The night hadn't been such a disaster after all. Time was still urging me forward and I still didn't feel in control of this person that everyone was saying such lovely things about, but I accepted that it was just a moment, a wonderful moment and that I'm very lucky and that I should just be happy with this happy accident of a life that I'm leading.
After all, my Mum said I was a happy accident, so maybe that's what my whole life will be. One long series of rewarding accidents, a blonde whisp lacking in motivation, floating through the air of life.
Yeah, sounds alright. But I do want to steer my journey for a while. I'm not ready to. I will know when I will be, and all will be merry and there will be cake.
Thank you National Arts Club, this medal has inspired me to be the greater thing that you see in me.
The Standard Girl and The Michael Cera Bumper-Innerer.