One of my part-time jobs is working at the local community theatre, where my title of “managing director” sounds impressive but only means I have fewer mouse traps in my office than everybody else. I handle publicity and marketing and am having a blast learning more about the the-ah-ter (said with dramatic flourishes). And theatre people are so … well, interesting? Theatrical? Creative? Also: Actors. Take this conversation I overheard the other day from my office, which faces the main thoroughfare folks use to wander in and out.
Person No. 1, who had just walked in the lobby — It smells good in here, like strawberries.
Person No. 2, who had been there all day — There was a teenage girl in here earlier.
PN1 — Yeah, I saw the Facebook status about young people coming in and wanting to get involved with the theatre. That’s great.
PN2 — I know! We’ve had several folks get in touch with us this week. It’s great to see such enthusiasm. We really can use all the new faces and the youthful energy. She was chewing gum.
PN1 — Who was chewing gum?
PN2 — The girl who was in here earlier.
PN1, not quite sure what he’s supposed to say about the gum-chewing teenager — Well. Chewing gum, huh. How about that.
PN2 — And it was strawberry.
PN1 — What was strawberry?
PN2 — The gum she was chewing.
PN1, dazed and confused by now and obviously wondering if Person No. 2 thinks chewing strawberry gum is an indicator of theatrical skill and ambition — Huh. Well. Is that, like, a thing now? Chewing strawberry gum?
(Conversation temporarily halted by muffled laughter coming from my office)
PN2, not quite sure where she lost control of the conversation, to PN1 — What? What are you talking about?
PN1 — What are YOU talking about?
PN2 — I’m talking about the fact that it smells like strawberries because a girl was in here a few minutes ago chewing strawberry gum.
PN1 — Can we start over?
Have I told y’all that I’ve got a new job? Well, I use the term “job” loosely because it’s really just fun that I get paid for. And I’m using the phrase “get paid for” loosely, too. I’m the new marketing director for a local arts association that oversees an art museum and a renovated historic theatre. It’s part-time — only a few hours a week — and of course it’s non-profit, so you can see that this is not the path to great personal wealth and riches. Of the money kind, at least. Because in terms of great personal satisfaction, this job rocks. The staff offices are in the museum, so we’re surrounded by creativity, talent and general wonderfulness every day. And the folks on the staff are exactly the type of people you want to work with: Dedicated, enthusiastic, generous and fun. Plus, I get to do what I love doing: Write. My prime responsibility is writing press releases and public service announcements and getting the word out about our exhibits, theatrical productions, concerts, workshops, tours, openings, etc. I’ve been building a media-contact list, talking to artists and newspaper and magazine folks and generally learning my way around the art world — which, by the way, is a fascinating place. Fascinating. One thing I’ve been thrilled to discover is that my work clothes from two years ago when I “retired” from fulltime newspaper-newsroom room still fit — but only because all those low-waisted skirts I borrowed from my daughters now sort of hang out around my waist since there seems to be some sort of impediment in my middle zone. But it’s OK, since I now have some spare cash I can put toward a new wardrobe the electric bill. (Oh, hi, Dear Husband! I didn’t see you reading here.) Read more about tackling a new job in my latest newspaper column. And Younger Daughter sent me off to my new job in style the other morning with broiled fresh peaches served with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. Oh, yum.