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Double Time Equals Doubly Exhausted

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Friday I began a call at 11:30 pm.
It ended Saturday at 10am.
I made a lot of money and went home to hang out, nap and think about to sleep.
That didn’t work out for me.
My phone rang with a desperate plea to help out.
After being awake well over 24 hours I’m still up and coming down from 2 separate gigs.

As I posted on Friday my phone and I were having a fight. At around 10am I awoke wondering the time and since my black out curtains were drawn I had no idea the time. It was then I discovered I missed an 8 hour call as an AV assist and my phone and I had a falling out. I managed to go back to sleep pissed off at my phone and how smart it is in a stupid way and woke up at 4pm, fucked around for six hours or so, stayed pissed at my phone and then drove to scenic Everett Washington.

When I first got this called I had 6 choices: Trucks, Overnight LX, Overnight Carp, Daytime LX, Daytime Carp or Projectionist. I asked for projectionist but my skills weren’t quite up to snuff so I took the overnight LX figuring it wouldn’t be too bad, it’d be a check and I wouldn’t have to do much heavy lifting. As it took us under 2 hours to unload the 5 trucks and the 8 loaders were sent home in time to make last call. I was jealous but figured my choice was right. It was a gamble, especially if the trucks had been staggered and some got to sit around doing nothing most of the night, but I took my chance.
Turns out a guy no more than 30 names below me got none of those choices so it was in my best interested even if I would have preferred to be a projectionist.

I didn’t sign a NDA for this gig but let’s say I was working at the factory of a company that’s name can become Boring by adding 1 letter. They were very up on security as was discovered when the van at the parking lot could take us to the security gate but no further. Not much help since this plant is huge and none of us knew where we were going. Standing at nearly midnight in the parking lot one guy went out as a scout. Traveling with the van the rest of us waited and stood around in the cold.

This was the trend of the gig. Waiting for the van, waiting for security, waiting to get to the job site, waiting for carps to finish making the truss, for the riggers to drop points, for the truss to be rigged and then flown, and waiting out the clock for breaks and meals. Then at the end of the day waiting for the van to go to my car to go home.

There was one question I kept getting on the job: Where were you on Monday?
It seems there was some screw up and I was supposed to be on a load in. My name was called and I wasn’t around. A few of my fellow stagehands were concerned that I wasn’t there. Like some Mitch Hedberg sketch they feared something happened to me since I don’t bail on gigs. One guy even took me aside saying he was concerned and asked around about me. I wondered if this was some sort Mitch Hedberg style routine.

He's not just famous his Load Floor FamousI can’t be too certain but it sure felt that way. What I am certain of is people kept telling me that I was replaced by Budgie and they would have much preferred me being there. And I’m not a huge fan of this guy because he talks more than works, is a big annoying and has this need to tell you his resume of work on a regular job site. As if the fact him working in San Jose is impressive.
In fact can San Jose ever really be called impressive?

But I digress. I’m supposed to be talking about an overnight.

The first 5 hours weren’t too bad. There was a safety speech about wearing a hard hat and safety glasses. Ok it’s a factory so it makes sense and those of us that didn’t have some were issued some. The hard hat wasn’t great but wasn’t horrible but the glasses had this odd distortion around the peripheral that was odd but not too bad. Like having a few drinks before jumping on unloading the trucks.

We made quick work of the truss and lights. Arranging movers and laying out cable. Setting up for when the truss flies and we can get it in near show readiness. And waiting the waiting continues. Coffee comes and goes and a bit more is done on the truss and then breakfast. Eggs, bacon (the crunchy bacon was on the bottom), sausage and potatoes.
Good offerings at 4:30 am, some toast would have been nice but the bacon was crispy, the eggs not too bad and the potatoes had peppers and onions in them so it was bonus.

The problem on the overnight is gorging on free food, getting weighted down and passing out on a road case, ending up back on the truck and then you’re in another city with the faint taste of breakfast as a reminder of when things went wrong. I only had a bit of eggs, crisp bacon, sausage, potato, a 5 hour energy, 2 cups of coffee, and some oj before returning but still the near dawn drudgery set in. It got tougher, time moved slower. I hated the fact I wore a watch as I’d check it and time slowly ticked past. At one point my cloudy mind forgot how to put a choke on some cable for strain relief. The distortion of the safety glasses gave me a near hang over headache and the lack of natural light, slow moving time and Niacin flush made this post breakfast time harder.

Second coffee came and I sat at a table talking with some friends and one put down his head and nearly passed out. I drank a pepsi and some coffee. Still felt a bit warm and my mind was cloudy but I wasn’t too bad. Just getting off the glasses and hard hat made this break worthwhile. The pinch and distortion were much harder than the exhaustion of this random overnight. Yes I wasn’t totally prepared for it but doing it without those safety devices would have been much easier. I need to get my own cover and glasses because it would have made a huge difference.

The last two hours were cloudy but past constantly. I watch the sky lighten through a sky light that was pointed out to me by a fellow electrician. And we did a few things trying to save a few tasks for the day crew. After all why should we get all the fun? Eventually 10am rolls around, I sign out, wait for the van, get in my car, onto the highway and head home. Debate whether getting a bloody mary and some breakfast, or maybe a beer and burger, either way some sort of alcohol to celebrate a night well done.

The jitters of too much caffeine, the after effects of the 5 hour energy and just a plateau of exhaustion led to the decision to get some teriyaki, drink plenty of water, curl up in a warm bed and get some sleep. And as I lay in my warm bed, full and content I drifted off to sleep for a while listening to Rick Steve’s Europe.

Snapped out of a groggy exhausted state I get a call from my head boss at a theatre. They were ass out, needed a tech to come in for a few hours to be there for a rehearsal. He wasn’t begging but he was in a rough spot not being at the theatre and needing someone to come in. Allowed me to park in an exclusive spot to show the urgency and despite the level of my exhaustion I throw back on my blacks and head out.

That second gig wasn’t hard as I patched a DJ into the sound board. Answered a couple of questions, drank a second 5 hour energy (the grape is pretty good), and waited for that shift to be over. I was tired but the edge was taken off. In the end this bit of exhaustion would work in my favor and as there’s a quick blackout down town knocking out the elevator and making our house lights act odd I accept that I made the right choice. Going to regret it later but right now I’m content with my decision and should get some shut eye knowing I made a good chunk of change and my phone and I have made up.

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