Gals get sung a different tune. Their rules are set out for them on some different tables, and it took me years to integrate this blatant fact. I was slow to understand how visceral gender bias is, how deeply it mattered to all kinds of people, including many in my own small worlds.
My perception of life as theater couldn't magically transform the experience into a neat but complicated well-made play in three acts, in great measure because it's not so much a well-made play as it is an ongoing improv exercise with constantly shifting players and audiences. With lots of scenery, lots of props.
So you're better off staying on good terms at all times with the stagehands: their roles are essential if you want the play to go on, especially when it is earning bread and butter for all of you.
The encounter I'm referring to was a specific event that turned the trick knife - the knife that folds up in the magic show so the assistant doesn't get hurt - into the real thing, into a real blade that can bloody someone's knickers quite seriously. That can, in other words, lethally interfere with someone's breathing. The momentous encounter was this:
I was hitchhiking across the USA, alone, unprepared for menace or aggression. The enormity of my ignorance was beyond colossal.
"What were you thinking?" was not a common question in most circles I traveled in, back then. I'm not even sure I had ever heard it asked.
The screaming of the semi-trailer highway tractors broke through to me, and I was scared. Beyond scared. Terrified but rational enough to perceive how upside-down the whole thing was.
"Nobody gets away without dying, on this planet," was the ultimate message, and it started ringing a new era into my life. Ever the creature of cultural habit, I followed my impulse, found a payphone, phoned home to my mother to wail at her across the miles. "There's reason to be afraid of what's out here!" I told her. A truth so incontrovertible that she and I together hadn't managed to come to grips with it.
I had to call her collect, so long before cell phones was this moment. The operator's voice I don't recall but it was my mother's I wanted to hear, thank you, and hearing her voice did reassure me. I knew I'd be OK, that I just had to keep going, ready or not, and that I would do just that. I'd put: "One foot in front of the other," as she used to say, and carry on.
Looking back at it now, I'm a little amazed at my chutzpah. I was on the road without shelter, the deafening machinery around me wasn't under my control, I hadn't had a hand - not even so much as a finger - in its design or execution. Yet I was allowed to call myself to the attention of those great beasts, wave my thumb at them to flag them down on an Interstate Highway (built with military money as part of the USA's federal defense system), travel along in them - together with another human, of course - whom I didn't know and often was, as it turned out, eating amphetamines to keep awake.
The sweet kiss of death is not fresh cucumber. How I managed to avoid disaster for as long as I did, I dunno...
I liken it to encountering female god-energy - Tara in Buddhism, Shehkina in Judaism, Shiva, Kali in Hinduism - no lack of female god-energy, once you start looking...if you're lucky, which I always felt I was, although I've no doubt I've been as ignorant as I've been lucky. The luck, anyway. started with the advantage of my family, who treasured music and drama, valued education, loved to a fault. That motherlove and fatherlove would and did kick in to provide a reliable cushion for every fall I'd ever take, and when it didn't, the Hara-energy of it could take over to feed my will, stimulate my imagination. improve my desire to practice.
But anyway, that long-ago highway encounter was my Day 1 Green Energy Day in the world. Made a lifetime of difference. Reframed the world in factory-made, self-perpetuating human terrorism. fitting it into an always-moving, always-changing, picture-procession display of ridiculous players and plays.