With my husband’s line of duty injury, the past couple of months have been a flurry of activity interspersed with stretches of sheer, crushing boredom. Evidently, I have several different coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, and each of them has their purpose.
1. Doodle. I got a kindle fire a few months ago and found several sketchpad apps, so I ventured into electronic doodling. As a lifelong pencil-and-inker, it has been interesting to work in a new medium. Sometimes I draw what is in front of me. Sometimes it’s more abstract. Usually it’s nothing worth sharing, though there are a few notable exceptions. TIP: Doodling is best for situations where electronic devices are socially acceptable but there is no internet access.
2. Knit. I learned to knit last fall thinking it would be a good skill to have for those times when I was sick and couldn’t exercise, or had downtime backstage. I didn’t anticipate how quickly I’d pick it up, or what a good portable distraction it would be. I worked on this sweater while I was in Texas, and finished it while in rehearsals for Annie Get Your Gun. TIP: Knitting is best for situations where one needs to be able to watch and listen but will likely be sitting for long periods of time.
3. Act (or more specifically, get cast in an awesome role in a funny show with good people). I can’t overstate how much this helped maintain my sanity this summer. I got to play a shrill, angry, annoying harpy and go yell at people on days when the army bureaucracy had me at my wits end. Plus, as luck would have it, I like my castmates and have made a lot of new friends. And as an unexpected bonus, I even get to wear gorgeous costumes. TIP: Acting in a show is best for situations where one’s husband is safe but stuck in a distant city, and there’s nothing one can do but wait and try not to claw someone’s eyes out.