As a comedy/magic performer I am constantly flirting with the lines between me and my audience. To get the loud “wows” and big laughs, one has to get as close to the line of your particular audience’s comfort zone as one can, without crossing it. This is a lifelong pursuit based on thousands of performances and a study of the human psyche. Every audience, whether on stage or in a strolling situation, places the line in a different place and it’s my job to locate it and nudge up as close to it as I can.
There are, however, other lines in life that really shouldn’t be crossed, and yet are being crossed with abandon. And here this blog changes - from an inside look at performing to a out-and-out rant. I’m talking about the lines painted on our roads by the city and state traffic departments. I think it all started with parking lots. In the old days, drivers who, were looking for a spot or leaving the lot, would drive up and down the lanes of the parking lot in the manner that was dictated by the lines. Nowadays, drivers totally ignore the lanes and drive any which way they want. I feel like I am taking my life into my hands when I enter a big box store’s parking lot. This line-blindness has extended to the even thicker, solid white line on the highway entrance ramp. Its job is to keep you in the acceleration lane until a certain point, where the highway department has determined that it is safe for you to enter the highway. We had an agreement (not to mention a legal obligation) that we would all follow these rules for safety’s sake. But now all bets are off. Drivers are constantly crossing the very thick white line and entering the highway whenever they like. And the thickest white line of them all is the one at stop lights. It’s the one just past the crosswalk lines, and it is there to remind you that if you have stopped over it for the light, other drivers can’t see around you to see if it is safe to make a right turn on red (where legal).
Thick lines, thin lines, wide lines, double lines – now all mere obstacles for the modern driver. If I had this kind of line-blindness, I doubt I would have been as successful as an entertainer.