I almost quit my job last week. I had been offered a job by another bank as well as was seriously considering a really exciting prospect at another firm (after what I thought to be a good interview last Monday.) I felt that I was being undervalued at my firm and was looking for a fresh start at a new one with a markedly different ethic. The situation — the ruthless competition, the insanity of top management — was most stressful these past few weeks (since it was, after all, the end of the fiscal year and, at this time of raises and bonuses, everything else gets to be heightened to a notch over crazy) that I felt convinced (if not pushed) enough to leave. But, in a bizaare twist of fate, I was offered a big promotion last Tuesday. This news came after I learned that I was outed last week to the Managing Director by this woman whom I was up against for the post. I was offended not by the fact that the MD knew (although that fact really was none of his business) but by the fact that this woman decided to volunteer this private info to him. It was a most inappropriate (if not vile) way to receive secondhand info given the context. (I felt like Lance Bass being outed by a third party. At least, Neil Patrick Harris was given the decency of outing himself.) As I look back now at this rollercoaster of a workweek, I know that I am happy with this reassuring news and am relieved given my renewed sense of self-worth from this recognition and yet, am still quite shocked about it. Of course, I know that I undoubtedly deserve it (more than that bitch did) but I am also quite aware of all the negatives stacked up on my card — gay and minority and not-a-kiss-ass — that I knew it was an uphill battle. I’m also quite perplexed now about my exit plan. (That firm never fails to mindfuck with me.) Should I leave now or should I stay? I realize that it has always been either sink or swim in any corporate environment and this department I’m in is just a sea of sheer suit-and-tie insanity.

But as much as I gripe about my firm, it is this company that allows me to pay for my many indulgences including netporn subscriptions and Broadway shows. (I’m still deciding whether a bf is a necessity or luxury.) Tim, my bf, and I saw John Doyle’s restaging of Stephen Sondheim’s Company last Thursday.

Company is the story of Bobby, a single male on the cusp of 35, struggling if not simply dealing with his bachelorhood in stark contrast to his friends, all married couples, as told against the backdrop of his surprise birthday party at a NY apartment. This conceptual Sondheim show fit quite seamlessly with Doyle’s directorial vision and Mary Mitchell Campbell’s refreshingly masterful musical orchestration. The former who ably directed Patti LuPone to play a tuba as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd last season excels in a similar feat with Company’s brilliant cast. (I thought getting all the actors to play all the instruments needed on stage, thus, dispensing with the need for a separate orchestra, was a stroke of genius. Besides, who else could get Barbara Walsh to make music out of a martini glass?!) Notably, Raul Esparza, as Bobby, captures the sensitivity of a bachelor torn between the burden of societal expectations of attachment/marriage and his own personal reflection on a genuine notion of companionship. (I have since had a crush on him after seeing him sooooo many years ago in tick tick Boom, Jonathan Larson’s other piece on the angst of 20something NYers. Now that he portrays a character in his mid30s, I find him even sexier.) Also, Barbara Walsh, as Joanne in the role immortalized by the one-and-only Elaine Stritch, is most riveting as the vodka-guzzling matron. Stritch is one tought act to follow but Walsh delivers her own stamp on the role with her portrayal of a woman oozing with worldly wisdom. She delivers a show-stopping effort with the song, The Ladies Who Lunch. I wish the director had allowed her pause after the song so the audience could grant her a much-deserved long applause (as was given Judy Pfitsh as Amy after her take on the runaway bride’s anthem, Getting Married Today.) Sondheim’s music carries one through the highs and lows of urban relationships but I believe it is the final song, Being Alive, that bears the crux of his message. Company, an integral part of one’s living, isn’t just needing to be with someone but is ultimately fulfilled when that someone, who is not just anyone, is desired.

Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living. George Furth, in his book for Company, essays that the unlived life is not worth examining. In hindsight, I realize that, suddenly, I am renewed in waking up to go to work. Smilingly, I know that I am growing in my relationship with Tim. What I need to do and who I need to be with are leveling with what I want to do and who I want to be with. Isn’t that the measure of happiness?

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