Sunday, January 26, 2003
Walking out onto a pool deck in a pair of too-tight olive green boxing trunks, the jiggle in my hairy belly shuddering violently with each stiff step, I wonder if I would look any more rediculous to the women in the pool, the girls, the ladies, if I walked out there stark naked. Watching thoughtless sentences slowly dribble out accross the screen is like sitting on the locker room bench, knowing they are expecting me to come out and play, but having nothing but those hideous shorts, brand new fifty pounds ago.
I guess, in whatever situation, the shorts are painfully irrelevant given the total presentation. No one ever sees you the same way you see yourself. So eat them. And get on with life. At this point, with a glass of bachelor-strained coffee at my elbow, I'm inclined to just toss anything onto the page. The "page".
That long, curvacious stretch of freeway between the Station and home can be the lonliest place on earth after I've just finished editing another show. It's always busy, at all hours of the day or night. People in front of me, behind me, on either side. All of us headed in the same direction at sixty miles per hour feels the same as standing in a crowded line in a Greyhound terminal waiting for something to happen. Portland. Denver. West Hollywood. Olympia. Pendleton. Each of them interesting. All of them the same. Every drive on the freeway is different: more time, less time; more cars, fewer trucks; sometimes rain, sometimes shine. And somehow every trip is exactly the same. Lonely.
I had just finished cutting the first episode shot at the Pub with Wendy. It was a half-n-half episode. Greg spoke separately with both her and Sean. Wendy seemed stiff, dry, uncomfortable and disinterested. Exactly once, in an unguarded moment, her "professionalism" slipped and she smiled on camera. It irritated me like a rash when that one-second clip didn't match anything else she did or said. I hoped one random shot of her smile might off-set fifteen minutes of her otherwise dull expressionlessness. If I had a rash, I'd name it Wendy.
Sean's segment, on the other hand, turned the whole episode into a minor success - if for no one else, then at least for me. He made a point of Siskle & Ebert's chauvinism in pulling I Spit On Your Grave from Chicago-area theaters to save audiences from the offensive plot of a female killer preying on men.
"But when Charles Bronson does it, I guess it's okay."
At that point in the editing room I amused myself with a inserted shot of Greg staring at the camera. A bewildered expression evolved through a thought process beginning in his eyes and ending in his shaking an index finger at Sean. "That... is exactly true." During the cover shots I had asked him to give me one of his "Greg-isms" just for fun. His priceless expression was actually in response to my asking for a Greg-ism: what the fuck is a Greg-ism?
Sean delivered a point that deserved more attention than an afterthought. In the final cut our on-set goofing made that point stand out more prominately than Sean ever intended. After that eight-hour session in the editing room I was still laughing in the car at the cut I had made; at myself; at ourselves; at the show. Laughing because I had spent sixteen hours over two days perfecting a program that would inevitably be degraded to second-generation VHS by the time it reaches the viewing audience. Laughing because I stuck with it anyway. Laughing at the end of eight years treading water with no successes to point to and declare "I did that."
Laughing because I was carrying with me a little bit of success during that lonely half-hour when no one else on the road even noticed that I was there.
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