My days are mostly predictable. Starting with the first light of dawn, I make my first decision: whether or not to reach over the edge of the bed and put on my sleep mask. Do I start the day ignoring the light through my clenched lids, or do I snake out my hand for a chilly grope on the floor?
Some would wear it through the night, but when I try that, it wrestles around my head for eight hours and tangles in my hair. Some would use the weighted blinders, but I’m one who rotates through the night like a Cuisinart, and they’d go flying.
I didn’t always have this problem. It was only in my sixties that my German peasant genes kicked in at dawn to yell, “Go milk the cow!” This despite never having had a cow, and it’s proved futile to argue that it’s the wife’s turn to milk the cow.
I hate making choices. But of course my linked professions as director/writer/actor/designer demand it. Less so as actor: you make decisions, of course, but you’re always in the present moment, and the present moment has a way of shoving you into the next. With the others, you make changes up to a point, but eventually it’s balls-to-the-wall.
At a certain age it dawns on you that, on the level of human history, your choices simply don’t matter. You can cut this sentence or leave it in, you can paint your puppet with burnt umber or raw sienna, you can have another shot of vodka, and the world will little note nor long remember. And yet if you set your own standards, they can be as compelling as the Ten Commandments, or more so.
It all works out eventually. You put on your sleep mask and snooze, or you don’t. The alarm burps at last, and you stumble to the can. For a brief moment, then, at the start of the day, you share comradeship with the vast majority of humanity, regardless of race, creed, gender, or who they voted for or would like to kill. The bladder links us in a way the heart never can. And then we go on with the day.