Field Trip!

Box Office Betty: Post 3

                Earlier this month, I got together with a bunch of Box Office staffers for an after work field trip: we went to the FAU Living Room theater to see Mike Birbiglia’s new movie: Sleepwalk With Me. He’s coming to our theater with his one-man show My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend this January, so we figured we’d treat his movie as a sneak preview! Also the trailer made the movie look great, and we like when we can call fun activities “work.”

Sleepwalk With Me was a one-man show (like My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend) before Mike adapted it into a film, and it’s based on real events from his life. He developed REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a condition that causes people to act out their dreams. Mike wasn’t ready to admit the gravity of the situation until he threw himself out of a closed window while sleeping in a second story hotel room. Mike includes this pivotal moment in the movie, and somehow manages to make it hilarious. The scene where he walks back into the hotel lobby (post jump) and the subsequent hospital scene were my two favorites – I was still laughing about them hours later.

That’s what I love about Mike Birbiglia’s style of comedy – he makes light of his misfortunes. His comedic style is basically my life coping mechanism. I have truly terrible luck; ridiculous things happen to me all the time. (Just wait till I start telling you stories from my years of traveling.) But whenever things go wrong in my life, I ask myself “How would a sitcom audience view this situation?” The answer is almost always that they would laugh, and so I laugh too.

A recent example: I hate mold. Hate’s not even a strong enough word for it. I loathe it, despise it, abhor it. It’s borderline phobic. Now this summer I bought a car, a used 2008 Yaris. If you think you don’t know what type of car that is, picture the Truly Nolen pest control vehicle:

(I have never understood this company. Why make it look like a mouse? Aren’t they supposed to be killing mice, not letting them scamper around the world? I mean, I actually quite like mice, but they’re not supposed to.) ANYWAYS, that’s my car. Minus the tail and ears, of course. Also mine is a pretty silver color, not obnoxious yellow.

                Now three weeks after I bought the car, I started hearing a strange noise every time I turned. It sounded just like a rain stick.

Naturally I assumed I was hallucinating, because that’s everyone’s first thought, right? It wasn’t until I took my boyfriend, Adam, for a drive that I realized something was wrong. He has this way of announcing disasters in a calm dead-pan:

                “Betty,” Adam said. “My feet are getting wet.”

                Every time I turned the car, water poured down onto the carpet of the passenger seat (or the feet of the passenger, in this case). People keep telling me they’ve never heard of that happening before, so I guess it’s uncommon? That doesn’t surprise me, really. You know, bad luck and all. But it wasn’t really the mechanical issue that bothered me (although it did cost $500 to fix); it was the ensuing war against mold. The mechanic told me to get my car detailed in an attempt to prevent molding. So I took it to a car cleaner. They sucked out the water and then shampooed the carpets, telling me to leave the windows open so that everything would dry out.

                Of course, it rained on and off for the next four days, and that’s when it got funny. Every time the sun came out I would open my car windows, but every time it started to rain, I would have to run out to close them. At work, my fellow Box Office staffers would alert me: “Betty, it’s raining again!” I would dash out to the car and come back into the office soaking wet. Then, before I knew it, I’d hear, “Betty, it’s sunny again!” and I’d go running back out.

 It would have made a perfect sitcom montage – all that running back and forth – but I was bound and determined to avoid a mold infestation. Eventually Adam pointed out that I could just take the carpets out, set them on my kitchen floor, and point a fan at them, but not until after I had made a spectacle of myself.

I’m not telling you all this to complain. Like Mike Birbiglia, when I tell people my problems, it’s mostly for one purpose: to make them laugh. Now obviously, I don’t think mold in my car is as serious as a near-fatal sleepwalking accident. I’m just saying that I appreciate Mike’s life philosophy. So go see his movie if you have a chance. If you’re still skeptical, check out what the people we interviewed had to say about the movie:


                Now don’t forget to leave me comments! For those of you who saw Sleepwalk With Me, what’d you think? And has anyone ever had a similar thing happen to their car or even heard of it happening?