every single night i get stoned and watch survivor before i go to sleep. i’ve seen every episode a dozen times so i just pick a season and play one at random because honestly who cares. a few months ago i was high as hell, sitting on the side of the bed in the dark scowling at the television as spencer and woo ran through the jungle in search of an idol, and i got a text close to midnight that read as follows: “hello ms irby, are you callable? it’s cynthia nixon.” excuse me, WHAT. how did you get this number and okay wait, is this a prank? also: who tf is ms irby???????? i am an extreme moron, not a put together person worthy of the esteemed title of “ms.” was she looking for my dead mother? perhaps a distinguished, elderly aunt???
earlier that night i’d posted the stupidest fucking meme (and by “stupid” i mean “SPECTACULAR”) that my incredible friend michelle rial made for me: a black and white promotional photo of the and just like that leads with my giant lizard head photoshopped in among them, like i was in the show instead of just pitching increasingly gross sex shit every day in the writers’ room for the show. i captioned the photo “sex and the shitty” because i am exceedingly clever (plus i have diarrhea all the time) and immediately forgot about it because social media starts feeling stressful to me if i look at it for more than three minutes at a time.
that text came through at, i don’t know, 11:57pm? at that point in our nascent relationship cynthia and i weren’t exactly “friends,” we had been on a zoom together during which i fidgeted nervously while hoping she was focusing on someone else’s little video box, and she remained a god-like mystery to me. i don’t ever want to give the impression that i am cool and detached and cavalier about anything, but especially not about this goddamn job. in 1999 my friend jenny and i watched the first season of sex and the city on vhs tapes i had to get out of the fucking library because we were too poor for cable TV, sitting on the floor in my rented room in front of the unwieldy combination television-vcr i had brought home in a cab from fucking sears, i am absolutely not ambivalent about getting the opportunity to work on this new show and (as a miranda, ahem) i was awestruck that this person i’d idolized as an old teen was now just casually texting my broke ass phone at booty call o’clock?
was i hallucinating?????? for a split second i was like “where tf did these edibles come from” but i put my glasses on and after thirty seconds of cartoonish blinking i decided it was real. i tried to think of a way to text her back that would come across cool and relaxed. i tapped out a “governor of new york” bit that looked stupid outside of my brain and deleted it, then started to text some other silly joke and deleted that too, then my dumbass weed brain was like “haha what if she’s looking at her phone and your fucking text bubbles keep popping up and disappearing” and i was like OH SHIT I GOTTA PULL MYSELF TOGETHER QUICK and i don’t know what the fuck my problem is but after my phone nearly slipped through my sweat-slick palms i took a deep breath, focused on the keyboard in front of me and, finally, wrote: “hello ma’am is everything ok” and hit send.
LMAO GIRL WHAT THE FUCK. first of all, if serial killers texted? that would be the shit they’d write. i threw the phone down on the duvet in embarrassment, waking up the dog. “could you shut the hell up?” he asked, meanly. “no abe,” i hissed. “i am an idiot and i need to die.” cynthia texted back immediately asking, again and very formally, if i could talk. okay here’s the thing: i wanted to talk to her? but everyone else was asleep and also i was stoned down to my fucking bones and incapable of coherent speech or thought. i didn’t want to insult this woman i’d been obsessed with for twenty years but also i don’t want to talk to a famous bitch while high. i mean, i think she is technically my boss? no one wants to be fucked up trying to talk to their fucking boss!!!!!!!!!!! so i did what any normal person would do: i texted back “i am too stoned to talk to you goodnight” and turned my phone over so whatever happened next on it couldn’t hurt me.
texting someone you don’t know is weird as hell because it takes a minute to learn their text style. mine is literally all jokes all the time, i’m a damn clown. “sorry ur dad got hit by a garbage truck [sweaty emoji]” or whatever. anyway it’s hard to read tone if you don’t…………..know a person’s usual tone, and when cynthia texted back “Samantha I really need to speak to you” my heart actually stopped beating in my chest. i started wracking my brain for shit i could’ve done wrong, and there was nothing nothing nothing until ohmygod is she mad about that fucking meme??????? i felt the armpits of my nightgown (shut up) grow damp; does she think i was calling the show shitty? or maybe that i was calling her shitty??? the hamster who operates my two remaining brain cells was racing around inside my head, engulfed in flames.
here’s what i texted famous actress cynthia nixon from the center of my shame spiral as i circled the emotional drain:
“wait is this about the picture”
“that picture i posted on instagram”
“i wasn’t calling you shitty, see i write about poop a lot?”
“i mean, not on the show, in my books and stuff???”
“i don’t expect you to know my writing, but a lot of it is poop based”
“i have ibs”
“are you mad about that photo? i thought it was hilarious!”
“sorry to be texting you so much so late but do you want me to take that picture down? i was just being funny not mean but i totally understand if you don’t want the word ‘shit’ beneath a photo of you”
“i could totally call you if you want!!”
“cynthia (may i call you that?) if you’re up could you please answer”
“shit jokes are my thing haha you know?”
“please don’t ask michael to replace me in the room, i’m so sorry i will delete it”
“it’s a misunderstanding, for sure”
“cynthia? is everything ok? you wanna talk still?? i’m available!”
i put my phone under my pillow (i wanted to throw it the fuck away) then snatched it out for one final humiliating message. “GIRL I HAVE IBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
just ding!ding!ding!ding! blowing this bitch’s phone UP in the middle of an indica-fueled paranoia episode with jeff probst staring disapprovingly at me from my TV as i hyperventilated (quietly, so as not to wake the dog up again). i felt queasy and thought about calling my agent to ask if the fine print i hadn’t bothered to read on my contract included any language about being fired for an ill-advised instagram joke. “he’s awake, it’s only 9:30 in los angeles…?” i said to probst, who shook his head in disgust. my stomach lurched again, this time with meaning, and i tiptoed into the bathroom.
i was sitting on the toilet in the dark letting all the fluids drain out of me when my phone lit up. who could be calling, the president of hbo telling me to pack up my little jokes and computer and get the fuck on? no, he was probably asleep by that time, but it was the next best (worst) thing: MS NIXON. if it had been literally anyone else i would’ve answered the phone like “hahahahaha my whole pussy is hanging out rn” but since it was serious (lmao) i commanded all my poop and pee parts to stand down and, in my most professional-sounding stage whisper, said “i’m so sorry, i have the sense of humor of an eight-year-old.”
“you’re on speakerphone,” she replied (“we’re on speakerphone!! shut the fuck up!!!!!!” i warned my rowdy asshole) “and christine is here, too.” i typed “IS CYNTHIA NIXON’S WIFE AN ATTORNEY” into google as she said some other words i didn’t hear, picturing myself in a (real, not televised) courtroom next to whatever friend of mine who actually passed the bar and would agree to represent me in a lawsuit for free. when i tuned back in she was saying, “i just wanted to tell you that i read your script finally, and i fucking loved it.” WHAT.
“i’m sorry, what did you just say?” i squeaked out, clenching all my other holes shut. “your script! i don’t know how i missed it when you first turned it in, but i didn’t want you to think i didn’t like it because i took so long to respond. i fucking loved it. it’s so funny, and the sex scene is so hot, and that fight scene…” she kept talking and her wife probably said some words too but i need to reiterate that i was absolutely zooted, just completely in outer space and also holding every muscle in my body as taut as possible because i didn’t know if i was gonna shit or puke or what and i could not let this lady from the TV hear whatever sound was gonna echo in surround sound off the walls of my toilet amp (the dude at menard’s should’ve sold it to us as a toilet slash tuba, my god), so i just said “thank you so much” over and over again and crossed my fingers that she wouldn’t ask me any questions that required a deep inhalation of breath. by the time she said “have a good night!” i was practically in traction, choking out a “bye, babe” as a full body charley horse finally set in.
my horny, sexy episode is called “tragically hip” and comes out tonight at midnight and i hope you stay up late to see it. i’ll be stoned, watching survivor.