Everyday we have Robert Frost moments. Moments where two paths diverge in our woods and we choose the one less travelled and all the difference it makes.
Soon after I started Second City, I had a ticket for a concert. I felt very awkward at this band’s concert. I was always the most conservatively dressed while the rest of the crowd looked like Anime characters. I had a rough day at work. One of the managers probably drained me. People on the phone or people in person not understanding, not caring, but wanting their way. After a day of that, I drove into Chicago.
I exited onto North Ave and stopped at the stoplight. I painfully had to go to the bathroom. It was at least another hour before the doors to the show opened. I knew where the bathroom was at Second City. I could turn left and head into Bucktown for the concert or turn right and head for Second City. I turned right.
I parked in the garage instead of hunting for a parking spot. After going to the bathroom, I asked myself, “Now what?” Do I pay for parking only to pay for parking again a couple of minutes later. I’d never seen a Second City show. I saw the travelling company in DeKalb. That’s how I ended up training at Second City. I went to the Mainstage box office.
The show was sold out but I could be on a waiting list. Another path diverged. Should I stay or should I go? I’d be out $5 for the concert and miss being immersed in a sea of immaturity at Subterranean. If I didn’t get into Second City I could still make the concert. So I said I’d wait.
Doors opened. People poured into the theatre. The box office waved me up. There had been a no-show. There was going to be one at Subterranean.
I sat with a family from Boston. the woman’s husband had been here last the one night John and Jim Belushi were on stage together.
And the show started. I was filled with a light and energy. I felt like a little kid seeing theatre for the first time. I wanted to do that (which was good because I was in training to do it).
At the end of the show Boston wished me luck on my comedy endeavors.
I made the right choice that night. Not only did the show inspire some sketches and show me what was possible onstage, the police had been called to the concert shortly after it started. The drummer and lead guitar had been thrown out of the club. It turned out to be the guitarist’s last show with the band, but I don’t regret missing the show. I had a much more memorable encounter with them later.