My First Week in the O.C.: Against the Odds

Continuation from Part 1: A Rocky Start

I spent the afternoon Thursday, after returning from TN, unpacking and unboxing my essentials for the next few days. I’d gotten a call that morning from my movers, saying they’d be delivering my furniture on Sunday. This was sooner than I’d anticipated, but I liked the idea of being able to sleep in my bed before starting my job. My exhaustion from travelling confined me to my apartment and yielded a dinner consisting solely of left over snacks from the road trip to California.

Friday morning, I went to the grocery store and picked up the ingredients needed to make a couple crockpot recipes. The gas in my apartment wasn’t going to be turned on for a few more days, so my meals needed an alternative cooking source. I also went to Target to pick up some things I’d either forgotten in Houston or hadn’t needed there but do here (i.e. a trash bin). I spent the rest of the day unpacking and cooking.

Saturday morning, things went a little off track. I’d planned to use that day for cooking, cleaning my apartment before my furniture arrived, and maybe driving around the area a bit to get to know my neighborhood. By sheer fortune and happenstance, I was able to get a ticket on Saturday morning for a musical in LA that night.

I needed something to fill my time in the first few weeks after leaving my grad school program. There’s only so much resume-writing and online job applications a person can take in a day. During one of my many Youtube rabbit holes, I came across a “Best of” video of musicals produced by Starkid, a production company started 10 years ago by some Theater students at the University of Michigan.

Being both a musical nerd and a nerd nerd, I had seen their first show, A Very Potter Musical, many years ago. I knew that a couple of their cast members had found fair success in musical theater since then, but had not been following their work.

In the span of a few days, I had watched (and re-watched) most of the 9 original, independent musicals they’d put on over the past decade (all freely available for consumption/enjoyment on Youtube). I particularly connected with two of their musicals, Twisted (2013) and The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals (2018), and highly recommend them both.

In learning more about their canon and the people involved in their productions, I learned that they’d be putting on a new musical, their 10th production from the end of October through the first week in December. This show, called Black Friday, was rumored to be a follow-up to The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals, but had been sold out since June.

Even with the chances being slim, I knew that if I got a job in Southern California, I was going to do everything I could (within the bounds of the law) to get a ticket to their show. The morning of each show, a couple “Rush” tickets become available at a reduced price. I’d been trying for a ticket each morning of their show days and each time, I hadn’t been quick enough. Saturday was no different. I was too late for a “Rush” ticket, but I noticed that, somehow, there was a regular price ticket available. I purchased one as quickly as I could and made plans to head to LA that afternoon for the show.

Seating for these shows is first come, first serve, so I got to the theater about an hour before show time, though about two thirds of attendees were already in line. I had no idea what to expect but I was very excited to be there, and trying to play it cool. I was also probably about 5 years older than the average attendee/fan, so I felt like I stood out a bit. The show was FANTASTIC, despite a few opening weekend hiccups, and I’ve watched it a few times since with one of their digital tickets.

I’m trying to get another ticket to go see it again, but I accept that is unlikely. I loved the show and the experience of seeing it live, and consider myself very fortunate to have even done that. I waited at the door after the show, along with half the attendees, to see the performers upon their exit.

I am not an autographs or pictures person, so I stood back and observed the unbridled enthusiasm of those who had literally flown from around the U.S. and even some from abroad, to see the show. The performers were tired (it had been a very long week for them too), but those who came out made every effort to meet, talk with, and take pictures with every person there.

Back home, the movers took about 3 hours delivering my furniture the next day, but by the end, it looked far more like a home than it had before. The apartment feels so much more like my space now, with my artwork, photos, and knick knacks, it’s much more comfortable than it had been when I moved in a week prior.

Three days of my first 7 in Orange County were spent in another state, but by the end, I felt much more established here now. I am excited for my new job and my new life here. It’s going to be good.

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