So, after the joys of college and moving back home with my parents temporarily, it was finally time to spread my wings...and drive 1,800 miles to New Jersey to start a new chapter in adulthood.
Living Away From Home Year 5
Moving Across the Country
(Dreams, Meet Reality)
I had my friend Tommy and Not-Yet-Boyfriend for moral support, I had a dream, and I had ambition-the kind that comes with youthful stupidity and optimism. The day or two after I got myself and my ferrets all settled and mostly unpacked, I drove 5 miles to Hoboken, NJ (lovingly referred to by Jersey-ites as "The 'Boken" or "The 6th Borough") parked my car, fed the meter, and started hoofing it up and down Washington Street with a folder full of resumes looking for a job. Any job. I honestly don't remember how many restaurants, bars, and shops I set foot in that day. A lot of them gave the glassy-eyed "oh I'll have the manager call you" response, and I did literally get laughed out of a couple of bars because I didn't know what their strange colloquialisms for certain drinks were (bartending school means jack diddly here) and to this day, I still don't know what the hell is in a "Red-Headed Slut" shot. Eventually, I meandered into a cafe called The Frozen Monkey where they all but hired me on the spot.
Once I got back to my house, I felt a burst of self-confidence and perused the trade papers for auditions. I came across an agency looking for actors for background work and gave them a call to set up an audition. I drove 45 minutes to their office the next day (45 minutes away from NYC should have been a red flag) and sat down with their fast-talking "agent" (fast-talking, pushy, more red flags) I signed a contract and made a "down payment" on my membership with them (GINORMOUS RED FLAG!!! Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!!!) To any would-be actors/entertainers out there, if you take anything away from my blog other than some schadenfreude, let it be this: Never Never NEVER pay an agency to get you work. Legit agents get paid only when YOU get paid and not in any other way. Long story short, this particular agency was super shady and had I been smart I would have skipped that appointment with them, but c'est la vie. You live and you learn. I did get my very first paid gig on a network pilot through them, so it wasn't the biggest mistake I ever made, but they made way more money off of me than I ever made thanks to them. Lesson learned. Unfortunately, this experience made me extremely leery of casting agencies almost to the point of paranoia which certainly didn't help me get any acting work especially during the infamous Writer's Guild strike, stagehand strike, the threatened SAG strike, and the recession that overshadowed much of my first 18 months on the East Coast. Looking back, the shady agency seemed to be the tip of the ice burg of life lessons telling me I may have been in a little bit over my head.
|You get my money! And YOU get my money! Everybody gets my money! (Except me.)|
|This place sadly no longer exists. Funny enough, though neither does the restaurant I worked after this...nor the retail store I worked after that...nor the restaurant I worked after that. |
Be ye warned, retailers: I am the harbinger of bankruptcy!
|But who could resist this view?|
Copyright Jessica Ayers
|I love old houses except for the fact that they're old and broken.|
Apparently his idea of "taken care of" and our idea of it were two very different things. He decided to make the roof guys working stop what they were doing and come inside to clean up the mess they made. The geniuses then decided the best course of action was to get their shop vac and suck up all the soot and then blow it back up the chimney (dear god, I wish I was joking.) So, when we all returned home from our respective jobs, our once white kitchen had a nasty layer of grey filth on everything. Fun fact: did you know that when you vacuum up soot, particles still get into the air around you? Also, when you suck it up and then blow it out of a shop vac, it goes EVERYWHERE! So, not only was our kitchen covered in a weird grey dusty grime, so was literally everything else in the house. Every.Thing. Needless to say we threw a hissy fit and demanded better action from Landlord Alex. The next day while we were at work he sent a professional cleaning crew to do a thorough cleaning of the house. But, by "professional cleaning crew" I'm pretty sure he meant Merry Maids.
|What we expected vs. what we got.|
To Be Continued...