If you follow me on Twitter (or Facebook, or any other form of communication, really), I'm sure you will have realized that the big news of the week is that one of the shows that I work for won an Emmy. A real, live, out-of-left-field, holy-shit-did-they-just-call-our-name Emmy. My best friend and I watched it happen Sunday night, sitting on the couches in her living room with a bag of peanut butter M&Ms. We had to rewind and rewatch the same 30 seconds three times before we found the air to scream and squeal and hug each other. Our bosses were both nominees, and we laughed as we watched them walk up on stage, on national television, and accept the kind of award that both of us have secretly dreamed of every day we've been in this crazy town. Afterwards we cracked one of the collateral bottles of champagne in her kitchen and spent the rest of the night drunk dancing in her bedroom.
Sidenote: Yes, when you are an assistant, collateral champagne is a thing. Everyone sends each other booze in Hollywood, and when there's too much at once, the assumption is always that the spring chicken assistants will make good use of it. Mostly though, we just hoard it. My kitchen is the kind of wine bar that I do not yet have the liver for.
It was a big moment. A huge moment, actually. The kind that sort of lifts the burden of all the work that needs to be done in a day and ushers back that familiar feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. I haven't felt that way in quite a long time, and I wasn't even the one winning the award. I still drove to work Monday grinning from ear to ear. It's something I will never forget.
And that made me think of the things we remember. Moments like that are the stuff of bedtime stories, sure - someday, when I tuck my kids into bed, those will be the tales I tell. But they are rare, and hardly the stuff that makes up a day. When I look back on even the last 5 years, the things that I remember aren't really that huge.
It's more like listening to Sara Bareilles' entire Kaleidoscope Heart album while driving into the city in the pouring rain senior year of college. Or the familiar ache of my hamstrings after 12 hours behind a host stand, waiting for the baseball game to end after extra innings. Crying in my bed during summer finals because of the stress and the heat while waiting for my dad to come rescue me with air conditioning and a cooler of Miller Lite in the trunk. An entire Saturday in bed with sparkling Christmas lights and a book. Crying in the box after the Maroon 5 concert because I had spent an entire hour actually feeling something. Highland and La Brea at 1am four days before Christmas. These are the things that stick.
I'd like to think that I gave up a long time ago on trying to catch the "golden" moments as they were happening because it just isn't possible. It's like living on a tightrope - once you try and look down, the view from where you're balancing isn't quite as grand. But it does give me hope that even the moments that aren't Emmy-winning will mean something. That, with hindsight and retrospect, my worst days might be the kind that I'll remember someday as the best of my life, and that Steinbeck might have been onto something when he suggested that "…the main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away."
But, for now, I'm more than happy to take the big stuff, too.