Well folks, I've been particularly busy lately, having just finished PAing on a pilot episode of the new "Electric Company", which updates the cast of the old show from the seventies with new faces, new skits, new lessons and new songs, but still has good ol' Paul the Gorilla >;) I was primarily in charge of the unit truck; loading and unloading equipment used by the production office and the production team on the sets. We filmed in both Washington Heights and the Lower East Side (Alphabet City, ironically) , so some of you might recognize the settings. I'm pretty sure it will get picked up, in which case I've practically assured myself a steady job. This is sort of a dream come true actually; I grew up on Sesame Street and The Electric Company, so to work for Sesame Workshop (née Children's Television Workshop) is one of those things that will get you a real pat on the back. It was certainly fun, though there were some stressing incidents that had me thinking about what it is about people in general that I find particularly distasteful:
I was patrolling the set, guiding people around a path that was set up to keep people from blundering through the picture while camera was rolling. This one guy; a tall, bald-headed eurotrash creep tried to avoid my guidance, so I stepped in front. "Sir," I advised, "you want to step this way so you don't walk into the jib..."
"What, are you gonna BEAT ME???" he leaned into my my face menacingly.
Two things went really quickly through my mind. First, I thought, "Is this absolutely necessary?" Second, as I sized him up; he was taller and leaner so he could be a bit faster, unless I get the jump on him by attacking instead of reacting to his intimidation,,, I began to think almost certainly, "I'm gonna have to kill this guy for no reason." Before I reacted on option number two, the Key PA, a big guy himself, spoke up and effectively pissed the eurotrash guy off so that he stalked around and went off. Everything was cool after that, but the more I thought about it, the more rage I felt about the whole incident. Why did this mutt feel entitled to do something that was just plain wrong and stupid in the first place? Was he beat en as a child and trying to overcompensate as an adult? Was he just an asshole and brought up to be that way? Did he feel threatened and reacted in a threatening manner? But all that I heard in my head for the rest of the day was Mr. garrison from South Park exclaiming, "THE BITCH MUST DIE!!!"
Naturally I was disturbed by this seething rage that would not extinguish itself, so I called my best friend Macedonia and related the incident to him. We discussed a previous incident where a similar instance of foolishness in a barbershop in Flatbush brought out my "ganksta" and I nearly went buck-wild on an entire crew of heads in a small space. Rage can be a dangerous, deadly thing no only to the people who I was enraged with, but to myself, as I would be vulnerable to any danger coming my way, like a razor or a bullet (which could have been very likely in that instance), but as luck would have it, my roommate and I escaped from the place unscathed. This did not unleash my inner "ganksta", but it angered and confused me nonetheless and I needed to talk it out. Macedonia said he was surprised I didn't swing by the house like that time. "I didn't let it get to that point this time", I responded.
His theory made a whole lot of sense. We live in a society where common sense is abhorred to the point that it doesn't exist except as a quaint notion. We are subjected to images, ideas and stimuli that suggest the notion that people are entitled to anything they want, regardless of consequences. When you have nothing to offer a valued consideration of the need for something, you do without cause and effectively force your will on others for no reason except that you are an automaton. Considering what passes for values in our our generally elected leadership; which by the way is a reflection of the values of those whom either voted or elected them, I say we're pretty much in free-fall as a society among the world of the living, and it would only take another swing of the sword from someone else to completely destroy what is shaping up to be an impossible dream: a land of opportunity, governed by the people, for the people and allowing for the right for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...
But again, I digress. Macedonia put things in a perspective that was easy for both of us to relate to. In the end, we agreed to discuss this even further on our own venues; me here and him in an upcoming pod-cast. He'll likely fill you in on the details when they are complete.
Feeling better, I moved on from that issue and tackled several less-stressful situations (stolen motorcycle jacket, for which the owner went on the radio calling the fire-watchers "f...ing morons" (even though he had um, left the truck unlocked from which it was stolen, duh), saw that the AD's car was busted into that same day and his mp3 player was stolen (this guy had hired me for the show because we worked together previously, so I felt really crappy about that, but he wasn't concerned since it didn't happen on my watch) and the chef for the caterer quit, so we were relegated to cereal and bagels for breakfast and underfed for lunch) and I was exposed to some of the nastiest pizza in Manhattan (Two Boots on Ave. A and East 3rd; go for the video store and the wide selections, stay away from the pizza) and endured some tiresome residents who had no notion of "other people" outside of their realm of existence as they balked at or tripped over film equipment that others instinctively walked around. There's that sense of entitlement again... but at least I didn't have to plot their immediate and untimely deaths, no matter how richly deserved...
Which segues nicely into my next gig: I'm a Utility PA for "The Apprentice", season 7. This basically menas I'll be driving all over Manhattan from five in the evening until five in the morning. Actually, I won't be driving for more than three hours of that time I imagine, unless I do like I usually do and become reliable. In any case, I'll be bringing a lot of books to read; the one I'm reading now is by Michael Eric Dyson about Martin Luther King Jr., for which I will do a review here in the near future.
In the meantime, stay tuned as I'm trying to get bring in more accomplished or accomplishing teammates to keep things rolling here. I haven't had much time to write lately as you see, and I'll be going into drawing mode shortly after I'm done with my current gig. It will be nice to incorporate my current sense of humor into these characters, which I'm sure has taken a giant leap upward in refinement and focus. I hope I can say the same for my artistic skills >;)