11 September 2005


Sometimes I amaze myself at how seriously I take my fantasies.

Take, for instance, the long-held fantasy I've had about winning the lottery and buying the old McCook Mansion on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. It had formerly been an apartment building -- host mostly to Carnegie Mellon music and drama students; Albert Brooks lived in the building when he attended CMU -- but was severely damaged by a fire in February 2004. On every trip back to Pittsburgh since that fire, I've dreamed of coming up with the two million dollars required to buy the house and the adjacent house and restore it to it's ridiculously opulent and wasteful single-family state, and share it with my friends and family. Mostly I thought about sharing it with the Lagemæ and Mr. Ken.

A nice daydream, I always thought.

Until I got word that the mansion had been sold, and that the dream was never going to come true. And I have to tell you, it's a wee bit unsettling how that news affected me. I was really sad about it! I was taken aback by how sad that made me; maybe sad isn't the right word. But that it had any sort of gloomy effect on me at all is a little unsettling to me.

What's most unsettling, though, is that this isn't a particularly unusual occurrence with me. Worse, I do it with people -- I let the fantasies of what I'd like our relationships to be -- impossible idylls that others can never live up to -- rule my thoughts about others (particularly men in whom I start to develop an interest), and invariably end up disappointed when those people don't either (a) live up to my expectations or (b) show the temerity to have their own take on the way things should go.

I'm mostly reminded of this because of a couple episodes recently in which I've thought the world of a guy, been really attracted to him and interested in pursuing it further, only to discover that he doesn't feel the same way. My heart breaks a little each time it happens.

Hell, it breaks a lot.

The thing is, I'm doing my best to keep myself from following this pattern each time I meet someone interesting. And I'm doing my best to not those thousand little heartbreaks make me hard-hearted for all the wrong reasons.

Sometimes, though, in the face of the ugly old world, it's hard to maintain one's natural optimism. The good and bad thing about day-dreamers is that they're alsoresilientt (read: fickle); I've already found a new house (albeit not a mansion) over which I can obsess.

So if you happen to be sitting by your radio at 7 pm on September 12, I've been drafted by Pittsburgh Irish & Classical's Artistic Director, Andrew Paul to join him as a guest on WQED's Monday evening broadcast live from Pittsburgh's Cultural District.

I was surprised he asked me, but he did remind me that I've appeared in half the shows this season, and it's not like we weren't just joking in the dressing room about this season being "Schulzfest '05." So if he was going to ask an actor along to talk about the company, I guess I'm as good a choice as any.

You can get more information here -- and even, I suspect, if you're nowhere near Pittsburgh, listen live on the web. That's 7 pm Eastern time, for you folks in the US, or Greenwich Mean -5:00 for the rest of the world. 'Cuz, you know, I have so many loyal readers in Australia.

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