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Sunday, November 09, 2003  

Say Goodnight

Writing this from my hotel room in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we just finished putting on our little radio show. It’s after midnight, and instead of sleeping I’m banging out an update that I’ll post after I get home. My flight’s at 6:00 a.m., and I’m expected in the hotel lobby at 4:45, and I don’t trust myself to wake up in the morning. I don’t trust the alarm clock (especially since it didn’t go off this morning), and I don’t trust myself to not just knock the receiver off the phone when my wakeup call comes in. The last thing I need is to get oilspotted on my first show on the road.

Oilspotted, of course, is a road crew term for what happens when the tour bus leaves without you, for reasons that should be apparent if you’ve ever examined the pavement underneath where the bus used to be. I suspect it’s also pretty descriptive of how one would feel if one found oneself in a position to do that. I haven’t heard anyone in this crew use it yet, but I’ll see if I can help it gain currency around here. That’s my goal. It’s not such a dearly-held goal that I’m going to try to get it to take off by demonstrating it, though.

So instead, I stay up all night at thirty-three years of age without a final in the morning and without a drop of liquor in me and I present, for your entertainment, my weekend.

Friday, 4:45 a.m.: My alarm goes off at home.

5:15: The cab to the airport arrives at my house.

5:16: I actually wake up. The less said about the next five minutes, the better.

6:00: I’ve never been through airport security with a laptop computer before. I’m responsible for two that belong to the show, and I’m carrying them in a rolling suitcase that also belongs to the show, which also contains a slew of computer disks that belongs to the show, and a bulky digital still-video camera that, yes, belongs to the show. When you open this mess up, with all of its attendant cables, it probably looks exactly like a half-finished bomb. Plus I checked the bag with my clothes in it, because if the airline loses a suitcase they’d better lose that one; if the show doesn’t go on tomorrow night, several million disappointed listeners won’t care how neatly turned out I am. So here I am at the metal detector, unshaven, spectacularly bed-headed, with water-brushed teeth and not a stitch of clothing in my possession aside from what I have on. Airport security is nowhere near the nightmare for me this morning that it has every right to be.

6:55: Thank you for flying Buddy Holly Airlines… I think they swapped planes on us somewhere between ticketing and boarding. I’m supposed to be in an exit row. My boarding pass even says “EXIT” on it, right under the row number, which is thirteen. Row thirteen on this plane turns out to be the last row, and the nearest exit involves an eject handle. I’m still better off than the woman who boarded right behind me, who’s supposed to be sitting in row seventeen. I hope she wasn’t too cold riding on the tailfin. The suitcase would fit in a normal overhead bin, but in this WWII-era goony-bird, the only way that’s going to happen is if I take everything out, which kind of defeats the purpose of a suitcase. It goes under the seat in front of me.

10:00 (EST): Looking for breakfast at Terminal A of the Cincinnatti Airport. I’ve been up for over three hours, but it’s still a little early for Chinese. One of my three traveling companions, the show’s pianist and musical director, busts out some yogurt ant pita bread during the layover. He’s done scores of these tour shows over the past God knows how many years. “Being on the road is like camping for me,” he says.

11:20: On board another minivan with wings. I’m in row two, which would be first class on a normal airplane. But worry not, Public Radio members. On this plane the only perk of sitting this far forward is the view of the blue painter’s tape covering the window in the cockpit door.

12:40 p.m.: The Public Radio station in Roanoke, Virginia has sent someone to pick us up at the Charlottesville airport. As it turns out, our driver is the station’s general manager. Folks from the station treat us real good.

2:00 – 8:00: Now that we’re here, it’s time to get to work. Unpacking the road crates, setting up our remote office, printing and copying scripts, and something about a radio show. Rehearsal wraps at eightish, and everyone splits into one of two groups: the big steak group and the really big steak group. Go out. Burn a chunk of per diem. Come back. Call home. Say goodnight. Sleep for ten hours.

Saturday, 11:00 a.m.: Head to the theater. Put show together. Get really good catered food. Try to keep freakouts to a minimum.

6:00 – 8:00: Do show.

8:10: Go outside and watch lunar eclipse with a couple of the actors and caterers.

8:10:30: Get back to work. We’re big in Charlottesville, apparently, so the 1,300-seat theater filled up fast enough to merit a second show, which starts at 9:30. After nine hours of work, we’re halfway done. The boss doesn’t like to do the same show twice, so we’ve got a second show to put together in an hour and a half, a job that normally takes all week. Try to keep freakouts to a minimum.

9:30: Second show starts.

11:00: The show reaches the halfway point of the printed rundown. When the boss doesn’t have to fit the show into a strict two-hour time slot, he, well, doesn’t.

11:30: The show’s still going. The segment producer comments that maybe I’ll just have to go straight to the airport after the show. Coming as it does six and a half hours before my flight home, this remark is not as absurd as it might sound.

The show ends. We pack up. I couldn’t tell you what time, because I was starting to get a little punchy at this point. I may have dashed up to my boss, flung myself into his arms, and called him a bad mutha(shut yo’ mouf). I’ll get confirmation on that at a later date. I do know we got back to the hotel at 12:45 a.m.

12:46 a.m.: The tour manager bids me goodnight in the hotel lobby: “See you in four hours.”

After this weekend, I need an easy day tomorrow. So it’s good that all I have to do is get home, go to the office and drop off the disk with the pictures I took for the website, stop by Dirt and Banana’s house to feed their cats, see Matrix Revolutions, and celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. And it’s not like I’m going to do this on no sleep. I can sleep on the plane. Or rather, planes.

3:40: Finish typing entry. Save entry.

3:41: Say “screw it” and call front desk to get wake-up call.

Like I said, I’ll post this when I get home. Unless I get oilspotted, that is.

posted by M. Giant 10:33 AM 0 comments


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