Friday, October 2, 2009

The Longest Commute

It's official ... I am insane. I must be. Why else would I sign up for a screenwriting class which takes place every Saturday at UCLA's Westwood campus when I live in ... Phoenix? Don't know either but here we go!

Tomorrow the journey, begun this summer in two online Writers' Program classes, continues. I have an idea for a movie. Sounds simple, right? Right. That's what I am telling myself anyway.

So I've decided to chronicle the journey in a blog. I know, I know. Who doesn't have a blog these days? Bor-ing. Working under the assumption that I will be the only one reading said blog, I figure the only person who will be bored to tears will be me. So no worries.

(see above insanity plea :-)

I've also decided to skip all the usual introductions since I already know everything there is to know about me. But on the outside chance that some sane (or not) individual wanders in, I've decided to post a short piece I wrote last year entitled Another Day at the Office. If you don't know me, it will offer you a little glimpse into my world.

See you at the airport!

Another Day at the Office

I live my life out of a suitcase. At least it seems that way. Most days find me traveling from city to city, working a different event in each location, checking in and out of yet another hotel. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I actually enjoy it. Granted, it's not for everyone, but it works well for me. After a long stretch on the road I can hole up at home, reading and writing to my heart's content. At least until the next gig.

Today I flew from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. An easy enough trip. You're up, you're down and you're there . Just long enough for peanuts, a drink and maybe a few chapters of whatever book I grabbed on my way out the door.

Have you ever tried to negotiate with a one hundred and fifteen pound moose? Okay, so he's not really a moose, Max is a German Shepherd (purebred with champion show lines if I may brag a little, though truth be told, he is just a big old momma's boy). Today, because I have to work back-to-back programs, I head to San Francisco after SLC, and won't be home until the end of the month, Max had to go to the kennel. Normally I present it in such a way that Max thinks this is a good thing. You know...gets to hang out and play with other dogs...gets a pupsicle treat every day...gets a bath. For those of you who think that last one may seem a little odd, Max loves getting a bath. As long as I am not the one giving it to him.

But I digress...

Anticipating the ride to the kennel this morning, Max followed me from room to room, impatiently waiting for me to grab my keys so we could hit the road. Then he found it. My packed suitcase, loaded up and ready to go. Have you ever seen a nine-year-old German Shepherd morph into a spoiled little two-year-old child? It ain't pretty, my friend. It took a handful of treats and a chew stick added to his morning meal to make him stop staring at me with those big ole "I know you're going somewhere without me" eyes, followed by a forty minute, totally out of my way, ride in the car on our way to the kennel. Once there, he tried to pull a good old-fashioned "Houdini" and come out of his collar as a means of escaping what was to be his fate for the next two weeks.

Yeah, this should be an easy trip.

Finally, back at home, I had a couple of hours to shower and get ready before the airport shuttle picked me up. I somehow managed to get everything done and make myself look half way presentable. I'm out the door and on my way.

Uh, huh.

My pony-tailed driver was early (a good thing) and talked incessantly (a not so good thing). He resembled a linebacker or maybe it's a defensive back, whichever position requires that they weigh in excess of three hundred pounds and look like they could hide a state the size of Rhode Island in that large fold of skin beneath their belly button. I panicked when he began to close the windows. I quickly pointed out that we should take advantage of the beautiful weather in Phoenix today and leave the windows open to enjoy the nice, fresh air. Especially since the air inside the van was not so fresh...if you know what I mean.

Oh well.

A few minutes later, we picked up a second passenger. An airline pilot. Have you ever been in a car with two men, both of whom consider themselves to be experts on the same subject? It's like a good, old-fashioned pissing contest.

"So you're a pilot."

"Yeah." (Apparently the uniform gave him away)

"I've got a license, too."

"Yeah, what type of aircraft do you fly?"

"Hot air balloons. What do you fly?"



You get my point.

I leapt from the van and headed into the airport, grateful for the opportunity to board the plane, sit back, relax and enjoy the short flight.

The flight to Salt Lake City was booked to capacity, and included several families traveling with small babies. Now, I love babies just as much as the next forty-something woman, whose biological clock is ticking so loud they can hear it in Antarctica, but as anyone who travels regularly knows, they don't always make the best travel companions. Lucky for me, the little baby girl seated on her mother's lap in the row in front of me was not only cute as a button, she was good as gold.

Shortly after the pilot announced we were beginning our descent into Salt Lake City, the flight attendant told us that there was turbulence ahead and things were going to get a little bumpy. Would we please have all trash ready to be picked up because they would only be making one pass through the cabin before taking their seats in preparation for landing. She went on to advise all of us to check and make sure that our seatbelts were securely fastened low and tight across our hips.

You know those folks at Southwest Airlines are not prone to exaggeration.

A few minutes later, as the 737 plummeted sharply, rocked right to left, popped back up and then dropped down again for good measure, I started to seriously consider a career change. One that would involve a, let's say, five minute drive to work. Although I figured at this point, it might be a little too late.

I watched the little girl in front of me, all giggles and smiles, bouncing up and down on her mother's lap, clearly enjoying her first ever roller coaster ride at ten thousand feet. We descended further into a thick layer of grey clouds. Peering through a small break in the clouds, I noticed that we were a lot closer to the ground than I had originally thought. The cloud cover was ground level and as we broke through, I was surprised to see we were just moments away from landing on the moon!

Okay, so we didn't land on the moon, but the approach to the airport took us directly over the Great Salt Lake, which on this day, with the waning sun reflecting on its colorless waters bore more than a passing resemblance to the moon's surface.

Now, thankful to have both feet firmly planted on the ground, I journey through the airport in search of a sign. There, up ahead. I smile. Yeah, this trip's not going to be so bad after all. Maybe I'll keep this job a little while longer.

All I needed was a sign.

Ladies Restroom -->

April 2009