My high school boyfriend is in town to perform his one-man show “Back to Babylon” as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It consists of hilarious and touching portrayals of several characters from the 70s based on people from my hometown of Babylon, Long Island.
We spoke on the phone a week ago Tuesday during the Lakers’ final game with the Celtics. When he asked if I were watching the game, I said “no,” that I didn’t have a TV, which made him laugh.
I got rid of it last year when, after I’d made a vow to start writing again, I found myself wasting hours watching reality TV instead. “Top Chef” had redeemable qualities but when I couldn’t peel my eyes away from “Real Housewives of New York” I knew something had to change.
Was I working on a screenplay?
“No.” I hesitated before adding, “I’m writing a blog about my dog.”
He laughed again and said he wished he had time for a dog.
Gregg has a lovely wife and two kids. I have a wild pit bull and two cats.
“Back to Babylon” is a surreal trip down memory lane for me, let me tell you. I saw it twice this week with friends. Afterwards, they had many questions about that time in my life.
I rarely think about my 17-year-old self but this week I've been making inevitable comparisons between the life I imagined I would have when it was still stretched out before me and the life I’m living now.
But, I've never had much of a plan. I’ve never been one to map out my future. I have a tendency to go with the flow and react to what’s put in front of me. This can work against me as I sometimes find myself wondering where the time has gone; why I don’t have the things in life I thought I wanted; why I haven’t achieved the goals I’d vaguely set for myself.
It can also lead to interesting detours, as when, after finally dragging myself to Brooklyn Bagel Bakery one Sunday morning in January 2008 because I’d heard they had the best bagels in L.A., I passed a pit bull running in the opposite direction down Beverly Blvd and I did a u-turn to meet up with him in the parking lot of Tommy’s hamburger place.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Sometimes I get blue. When the main character in “Back to Babylon” veers toward complaining about his life, he snaps out of it with his signature line, which he states in between gulps from his bottle of Budweiser: “It’s not that bad though.”
And it really isn’t.
There are two more opportunities to see “Back to Babylon.” Go check it out and marvel at Gregg's inspiring performance. You won't be disappointed.