I owe you an explanation.
At a time when everyone seems to be communicating, I have been largely silent.
Yesterday I opened my inbox and found a note from one of my favorite brands. I’m used to hearing from them on a daily basis but this was the first one I’ve ever gotten that was signed by the CEO. Filled with touchy-feely language about how much the company cares for its customers and employees, it was supposed to make me feel…what? I couldn’t figure it out. Like, they care NOW?
We’ve been at this craziness for weeks. I’ve had my kids’ school canceled for the rest of the year. This morning I was going through our closets looking for masks we keep for California’s wildfire season so I could give them to a family friend, who is an ER doctor.
Too little, too late, Mr. CEO.
You may have noticed that I was not one of the people emailing you about the world’s crisis, the one that shall not be named since we all see and hear that word a thousand times a day. In fact, I’ve been pretty absent lately.
Some of you have actually wondered why, and have reached out to ask. Thanks for missing me, that’s nice of you. I have been healthy and I’m currently at home like everyone else. We’re ok on toilet paper, if you’re wondering.
I’ve been out of touch because my Dad lost his battle with cancer on March 15th. This week I wrote a post on the Acting In Chicago Facebook page, and now I’m informing you here. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, but to explain why I haven’t been writing/posting/uploading anything.
If you’d like to read his obit, here’s a link.
Dad received his diagnosis four years ago. He had ups and downs, but through it all, he always seemed to have gas in his tank. Even two days before he passed, he was walking around, having normal conversations, eating well. He was Dad.
But then he wasn’t, and it became clear that I needed to get on a plane to Chicago. I booked my flight and began figuring out how to travel during a pandemic. I packed things I have never packed before, like baggies of folded Clorox wipes and a pair of nitrile gloves. I was ready.
And then I got the call. I had missed him. He was gone.
I canceled my flight, booked the entire family on a new one, canceled that one too, and rebooked just myself on another later in the week so I could go to the funeral. The day before that flight, the airline canceled it on me. Then I booked two separate flights going to two separate airports on two different airlines, just to make sure I got to Chicago in time. I wasn’t going to miss him again.
The first flight was canceled, but the second held. I made it there in time to eulogize my Dad and see him through to the end. We FaceTimed the service, which was attended by a handful of family members, to my wife and kids back in LA.
I don’t know about you, but when things erupt in my world, I find the best way to prevent overwhelm is to prioritize and stick with what I know instead of going down the “what if” rabbit hole. Contingency plans are useful and sometimes downright lifesaving, but dealing with what’s in front of me RIGHT NOW shrinks my list of tasks, which allows me to remain calm.
I’m trying to apply the same logic to the current state of my acting career. Here’s what it looks like, in a nutshell:
A whole lotta nothing.
I am in the same boat as everyone else. I can do a little VO, but that’s it. Never have I been more appreciative of residuals, because they’re going to carry us for a while.
But! Inactivity in the business doesn’t have to mean I can’t be active in some way. So I’ve been thinking about things actors can do during the break to be ready for the eventual return of the business. I’ve detailed my thoughts in another post.
In the meantime, I’m a couple of days away from the end of my 14-day quarantine period, and so far I am symptom-free. Our kids are home from school, so my wife is teaching math and I’m handling language arts. I appreciate my family but thank God we all like each other.
I appreciate you, too. The notes, texts, DM’s and shoutouts on my socials (@ChrisAgos everywhere) are really nice to get. I think, if nothing else during these times, we can make things a little easier on everyone if we just checked in with each other. I’m just now reaching out and it makes me feel better, at least for a moment.
It keeps gas in my tank. May yours stay at least partially full, too. See you soon.
2 responses to “I Owe You An Explanation”
Chris, it’s truly sad to lose a parent under any circumstances. Yours were significantly traumatizing and I can only imagine what you’re going through inside to process and eventually start to heal. I wish there were a magic word one could say to lift you up but we all know that grief adheres to no magic, no schedule . While the situation we all find ourselves in makes it particularly difficult to deal with the loss of loved ones, I hope that you and your family are brought closer together by this amazing distance. I don’t know you AT ALL, but I know your work and your dedication to making this industry accessible to your peers and beginners alike. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. I can’t blame you in the slightest for taking time for yourself and your family during any of this and even afterwards. Stay safe.
Good to hear from you, Chris. Stay well.