What a family emergency re-taught me about geek improv

By: Danielle Cole

Over the holidays, The Dandies take a break from geek improv. Life, however, doesn’t have the same downtime. Earlier this week, my eighteen-year-old rescue kitty, Abby went into kidney failure. Over the course of a day, she began throwing up, lost the desire to eat or drink, and became lethargic. That night, she was admitted to the Toronto Veterinary Emergency Hospital, where she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Best case scenario, it looked like she would have six months to a year to live. Worst case scenario, she would never come home. Thanks to the amazing team at the hospital, Abby’s health is turning around. She may even be able to come home tomorrow! She has chronic kidney disease and a couple of other issues, so will be looking at some medication and lifestyle changes. She may also need surgery to remove a mass in her intestines. I’m hoping that isn’t the case; but, even if it is, her prognosis is a lot better. Depending on how she responds to her treatment, she may have years of life left.

What this has re-taught me about geek improv

With geek improv, it’s easy to focus on the shows, the laughs, and the stories we create. I can also slip into perfectionism, always looking at what I could do better in the future. Almost losing Abby reminded me how important it is to enjoy the moment. In the many hours spent at the animal hospital, I’ve dreamt about being able to just snuggle up with Abby on the couch or waking up to her snoring. It’s amazing how even the most mundane routines take on renewed importance when they are threatened.

Instead of waiting until I’ve lost moments to appreciate them, I want to spend more time – onstage and off – savouring them while they are there. I want to focus on even the simple joys I experience rather than just worrying about what needs to be done or said next.

Thinking about The Dandies beyond geek improv

The Dandies aren’t just a geek improv troupe. We really are like a family. We take care of and make time for one another. Sometimes, though, between work and life pressures, it can feel tough to spend as much time together as we want. I know how much I can get wrapped up in work, always thinking about my acting and writing projects, even during downtime I’ve carved out. I’m also really bad about talking about work during social time.

This year, I want to be better about making downtime true downtime, not talking about or thinking about work. Good thing I have lots of Dandies brunches to practice at!

It’s been a really hard week and Abby still has a lot of recovering to do. I am so grateful, though, that she has the chance to undertake that recovery.

Over the coming year, I’ll be taking the lessons I’ve learned and re-learned over the last week, applying them in my geek improv and in life in general.

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well in 2019 ❤