i am not feeling good. i think i’m taken by surprise by the amount of pain i’m experiencing. i look terrible. i attempt to wear a hat, but it chafes my fore-head and the vaseline i’ve been told to slather on my face sticks to everything. i opt for a scarf loosely tossed over my head.
the doctor says it’s looking good, so this must be normal (and i do recall 2 rather scary-looking patients the night before). he puts some yellow powder around my eyes which he says will absorb some of the moisture. i look even scarier. halloween has come early and my gruesome burn victim mask takes first prize. as i pay my not-insubstantial bill, i start to feel a little light-headed (not just because of the feats required by my credit card) and have to go take a seat in the waiting room. CENSORED, the very sweet receptionist, gets me some powerade. dr. CENSORED asks if i want to lie down, but i opt to stay where i am (i’m sure i’m not being a very good advertisement right now for the other clients in the waiting room). they very kindly order me a sandwich as i think my wooziness might be as a result of skipping breakfast, combined with the flu and the stress on my system.
i can feel that all the blood has drained from my face. my body seems to be in shock. another client very kindly offers to drive me home, but i gratefully decline and slowly make my way back. i spend the rest of the day on the couch, my face simultaneously shiny and crusty, watching the opening of the olympics which is pretty awe-inspiring and provides at least a little bit of distraction, though i am in pain.
during the course of saturday morning, after i’ve washed off the crusty yellow powder with the (not inexpensive product i bought from the doctor), the pain and swelling begin to subside. i’m beginning to feel better.
however, i still have to prepare for the fire-gig i’ve agreed to. i spend the day getting my costume and tools together and choosing music for the performance. putting on make-up, though, is far more interesting than i’d like. i’m still very crusty and it’s hard to cover that. i also feel like my face is cracking under the make-up. i end up covering my eye area in a huge ring of black cream-based kryolan and end up looking like the corpse bride.
we get to the venue (which is breathtakingly beautiful – stone buildings nestled up against the koppies) and set up. i’ve been ignoring the fact that i have the flu, but by now i’m beginning to lose my voice, my lungs hurt and my face, now that i’ve got make-up on, feels like it’s splitting open. i get through the 2 sets, dismally it seems to me, for the level i’m used to performing at, but it goes over well. only problem is that i have to wear goggles for the fire set, just to protect my eyes, but instead it winds up chafing off the skin around my eyes. i wash off the make-up in the ladies room immediately after and have very interesting conversations with women coming in and out to use the facilities (especially the ones disappearing into the stalls in pairs – not necessarily to relieve themselves, though definitely to powder their noses).
it’s a strange experience. i get home feeling like i’m done being the entertainment. i used to love fire performing, but on this night, when i’ve performed mainly to honor my word, seeing that i have the flu and my face is on fire, it is interesting to see how my highly distinctive make-up and costume, make me invisible. to the people who don’t know me, i am the hired help, somehow beneath them. it is not a feeling i enjoy. it interesting to see the change in response when i take my make-up off and they actually talk to me and some realize that they’ve seen me on tv. the irony is that apparently there’s a lot of interest in booking me, but i don’t know whether i’m any longer interested in spinning for anything but fun.
(to be continued)