I Want To Be A Part Of It

“Are you okay?… I’m okay! We’re okay! Thank God, thank God, we’re okay, is the deli open?… On Crescent? The deli on Crescent?… Nah, I’ve got coffee, do you need coffee? I’m not walking to Crescent!.. I know, but that’s three more blocks than I want! HAHA! I know, I know! But who walks three blocks to a deli, am I right?… HAHAHAHAHA! No, I’ve got coffee, I’VE GOT COFFEE! Come here!… No, come here, come here, I’ve got coffee, don’t go to the deli…”

Everyone, the night-of, the next morning, everyone I know yelling, “We’ve got power, come charge your cellphone!” or “The internet’s down, but we’ve got hot water if you need a shower!” or “We don’t have power or internet, but our oven’s gas so we’re making muffins! Come have muffins!”

I’m sure it’s the same everywhere. I believe that people are basically good and good to each other. I know, there are people trying to run scams, there’s looting, there are bound to be some shitty people making headlines, but the way the people around me rally, the way everyone started, from the second the waters started to rise, they all said, “if I’m spared, I’m coming back for you.” And the people they said it to said, “all right, and if it gets you and passes me by, I’ll come and grab you.”

Because People are the same everywhere, but New York is special. We have to live on top of each other every day, our walls are attached to our neighbors homes, our morning coffee depends on a guy getting on a subway in a neighboring town to come open the deli and a different guy in a different town on a different subway coming in to make it. Our meetings are at restaurants where our competitors are three tables away but they still can’t hear us. And every night we climb into underground trains and stand nose-to-nose with people we will never see again, but that we know are brothers because they are HERE.

We’re all here. We all made a choice to be here, and we all made a choice to stay. And we have to make the choice every single day, because every single day gives us two things – it gives us a chance to understand that everywhere else in America is a little bit easier and has the possibility of a one degree shift towards sustained happiness… *but*,  it also gives us that one moment, every day, where the sum total of the best of humanity reveals itself to us – when an old woman can’t faint without a stranger catching her and a cab giving her a ride home for free, where a guy in a deli talks to another guy because one’s wearing a UCLA hat and the other’s wearing a USC hat, where a woman who doesn’t speak English at Union Square gets train instructions from four people who think LOUD English will help her understand… Every day offers us the chance to leave and every day seduces us to stay.

The morning after the storm, the emails started, the phone calls started. Who needs help? Can we host a fundraiser? Which theaters are underwater, which lost power? Which companies had to cancel their openings, who had to move strike, who lost their set, who lost their rehearsals? HOW DO WE MAKE UP FOR IT, those of us who were spared? And as much as I tried to do, as quickly as I tried to act, everyone was doing more and was ahead of me and most people who needed help didn’t ask because they were so busy helping those who needed MORE help.

I make theater, and I raise children. In the grand machinations of history, I live a small life. And that life is rushed, the kids don’t get the hours they need, the shows don’t get the hours they need, every achievement is quickly replaced with a new goal. And the moments become minutes, the minutes hours, and the hours quickly turn into *years* and at the end of that time I will have to look back on the time I spent on this globe and ask myself the same questions every person asks themselves at the end of their lifetime, was the time well spent, did I invest in people and ideas that were worthwhile, was I selfish and did I love enough or give enough to deserve the things I got?

I don’t know what the answers to any of that will be, but I know there’s one question that I will *never* have any doubt about. Was I in the right place? For me, for my children, for all of us who are here now, I can say I will answer “Yes”. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes…