The more things change…

This is just funny.

While in NY for talks at a few acting programs, I stayed with Aarne Lofgren, a friend form class at The Neighborhood Playhouse 22 years ago. Aarne was the old man of the class, a career Broadway stage hand and a dedicated artist. I was stuck for a place to stay, the other class mate that was putting me up forgot to mention that he was moving the day of my arrival. I was still invited to stay but it might be among the boxes and such. So I decided that rather than add more pressure to his move that I would find somewhere else, and called Aarne after not speaking to him for literally 20 years. He answered and said "I have a couch and a set of keys, come and go as you like."

20 years!

Aarne lives on the same block I did when I left NYC, so I'd be in my old neighborhood. The cab from the airport dropped me at the curb at 11pm. I stepped right into that NYC after hours feeling as I stood in the cool air. The same old neighborhood, the night sounds of the city, no eye contact made by the folks walking by. I had forgotten how the city changes faces from daylight to night time, from working stiffs fast-pacing the streets to locals ending their days. Aarne and I went for a walk to the diner to indulge in the NYC tradition of the late night chat at the all night diner that seems to sit on every corner of that city. I looked around trying to remember what stores had been on the block when I lived there 18 years ago. Names change, but what was a restaurant is still a restaurant just by a different name now. Then I walked by the doorway where I lived and saw this…

My name is still on the buzzer! I thought of how the new tenants, for the last 17 years, have had to tell everyone visiting; "Buzz 3B, it says Flanagan on the buzzer." I about fell over. That city…for all it's claims to be the fastest moving place in the world is just like anywhere else. It moves at the pace of the people within.

Aarne and I had our catch up session that night and every night I stayed with him. It seems there was a lot more going on during our school days than I knew about. Many eye opening tales. I asked him why he was so quick to put me up at his place after such a long drought of communication, he said this;  "You're a Playhouse brother. That's for life man. What we went through there? We're bonded for life brother." 

You do end up knowing your classmates intimately. It's acting training but in the end you end up knowing who you can call after 20 years when you need a place that night. Aarne also came to my talk at the alma mater and filmed it for me. We text or chat every week, updates and such. He has one of the best actor trying to get discovered stories ever. It'll be in the nightmares section when I update the book.

Great trip. Great time, and my name still hangs on a buzzer on the upper east side, like I never left. How wild is that?

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