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A Million Things We Should Be Doing

On 11/14/2016, the 14/48 Projects staged an almost-impromptu event called 14/48: Catharsis, intended to give the local theatre scene an outlet to deal with grief, shock, anger and disappointment over the 2016 election results. Writers were invited to submit 2-5 minute scripts on the theme of "Catharsis" with the caveats that no play could have more than four actors; no sets, props, or costumes would be provided; and actors would almost certainly be on book given limited time to rehearse. My contribution to the evening is this play. On a night when I expected many people to contribute plays about or involving actual catharsis, I wanted to at least touch on those (like me) whose customary outlets for similar catharsis were no longer available.

LISA and MEG chat long distance with each other on their phones, standing on opposite sides of the stage.

LISA: We threw this election night party, and it was totally optimistic at first. Everyone was having a really good time at first, obviously. But then, you know, the night started to slip away from us, and it got grimmer and grimmer, and people just started to get drunk.

MEG: Oh no.

LISA: Seriously. I mean, you and I have had our benders or whatever back in the day, but this was some epic drunken behavior. I mean, sloppy. People were just totally, staggering drunk by the end of the night.

MEG: For the concession speech?

LISA: Oh fuck no, most people had passed out before that ever happened. Someone puked all over every bean bag chair. Get this - someone took a shit in the bathtub and smeared it all over the walls. Who the fuck does that?

MEG: That is unusual behavior.

LISA: It was just me and Emily by the time the concession speech came on, and like, as soon as it was over, we were both just shaking, like we were in shock, like early onset PTSD was setting in.

MEG: I suspect that feeling’s going to last for a while.

LISA: How about you? What’d you get up to?

MEG: Stayed home.

LISA: By yourself?

MEG: Yeah, just little old me.

LISA: You watch TV?

MEG: Fuck no. I experienced the entire election via Twitter.

LISA: Oh please.

MEG: No it was cool. Like, I tried watching TV but the people just seemed animatronic, and for some reason, all the funny people I follow on Twitter… all the comedians and artists and rabble-rousers were all just… a much better filter for getting bad news. But as the night wore on, I got more and more aggravated, and felt more and more… empty, like I just couldn’t cope. And then I saw a post that was practically targeted to me.

LISA: What did it say?

MEG: It said - “You may feel like getting hammered tonight is the only rational response to what just happened and I hear you, but look - if you’re in recovery, you need to remember that this shit is not worth throwing away your sobriety for. Just hang in there. Just keep taking it one day at a time.”

LISA: Oh Meg, I wasn’t even thinking about that.

MEG: That’s all I was thinking about, because my housemate had left a bottle of bourbon on the kitchen counter before she went out, and every time I went in there to get a cup of coffee, I had bourbon staring at me.

LISA: She should fucking know better.

MEG: No, the point is, it’s cool, she doesn’t have to hide her booze from me, I’ve been sober for over a year and I can go into any bar in town and chill without a hassle. But that night - that night I had a serious fucking craving to just get obliterated.

LISA: What did you do?

MEG: I kept reading Twitter. I kept drinking coffee. I cried a lot. I went to bed, and about an hour later, I woke up to the sound of my housemate coming home from somewhere, she was in the living room, sobbing at the top of her lungs. And I knew she was drunk, I could tell because she was sobbing so uncontrollably, you know? Completely uninhibited grief. And then she passed out. I found her on the floor the next morning.

LISA: I wish I could have been with you, drinking coffee all night. I could have kept you better company than Twitter.

MEG: I’ll remind you in four years.

LISA: I read an article the next morning that said, “Do what you have to do to get through this - get totally shitfaced drunk if you have to - but then get up on your feet and get to work.” And I’m like - I’ve never felt so useless before. Isn’t it too late? What could I possibly do now that could help?

MEG: I don’t know.

LISA: I’m sure there are a million things we should be doing. Things we should have been doing all along.

MEG: That’s true.

LISA: What are you going to do?

MEG: I don’t know yet. I’m going to take it one day at a time.

LISA: And here I thought you might try to start a revolution.

MEG: Going to need more coffee for that.

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