Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jet Blows

This past June, I worked on a job down in Florida with my good buddies Chris, Tom, Barry and Jeff. We flew down to Florida for a day of shooting. We left the day before the shoot, meeting at JFK to get our tix and flew happily to Orlando. After getting our room keys, we drove to a nearby diner for a late supper, before getting into our rooms at the crappy motel.

We had a very early call time, so I tried calling the front desk, but got no answer, so I set the alarm on my Palm Pilot and watched too much TV, I think I finally went to bed at around 1, or 2, oops.

The front desk clerk at the La Quinta was a mystery. None of the five of us could determine it's gender. Nothing about his/her/it's voice, habits, clothing- La Quinta Polo Shirt, baggy chinos and sneakers, or demeanor gave away any clue as to whether this was a male of female of the species. We joked and wondered all through dinner and all the next day as to whether or not it was a male, or female, since he/she/it wore no name tag. We, of course, named it Pat.

We had to wake up at about 4am in order to be in the parking lot at 5am to pack up the vehicles and eat. We were all there and started loading up the vans with all our gear, teleprompters, sound equipment, lighting equipment, light stands. Cameras? Where are the cameras? And Where's Chris? Chris is never late.

I knock on Chris' door and sure enough, a sleepy headed Chris Answers the door. He never got his wake up call. Needless to say, he was pissed. He let the hotel know it.

After we finished packing all our gear and our luggage in to the vans, we drove around to the front and Chris shot out of the van and I followed. He went to the room behind the reception desk. There was the reception clerk fast asleep in a big easy chair, it's head buried in it's armpit. Chris kicks it's foot and then it stirs, face all puckered and eyes squinting against the light as it looks up to Chris. "I never got my wake up call" Chris said and then he walked out of the room leaving a still clueless motel clerk in the lurch. I followed Chris back to the vans and we headed out for breakfast.

Jeff loves Waffle House, so we got scattered, smothered and covered for breakfast. Yummy hot greasy food. Thankfully, the service was great and it was only a five minute drive to the plant where we were shooting. We were able to enjoy our grease at a leisurely pace and wake up.

Snow White met us at the airport

After shooting all day, we got to the airport at around 4:30pm, to get seats on our 6:30pm flight home to NYC. While we were in line, I noticed that the departure time was 8:30pm. I mentioned that to Jeff and he asked about it when he went to get our tickets. Poor Chris was feeling grimy after running around the plant in the 90+ degree heat with 100% humidity all day. I was pretty nasty myself.

Chris' wearing Jeff's neck pillow.

Turns out that ALL flights to the Northeast are delayed. Great. We waited around for hours. The airport's food court eventually shut down, but I grabbed some nasty McD's before they closed. We waited more and received updates, but no real information. It wasn't until about 9, or 10 pm that they finally told us that the delay was due to heavy rains in the Northeast. So, no matter what we did we wouldn't be able to land at JFK. We had all our gear already checked into baggage, so we couldn't switch flights, or do anything other than wait.

Maybe the plane needs some of these to get off the ground.

During this time, I tried to sleep, but I was too tired, or not tired enough. It was very frustrating. Some young girl a few chairs away from me was blathering into her cell phone incessantly, which kept me awake. Then a woman came over and they were nattering away for what seemed like hours, further preventing any sleep. That and never being able to get comfortable made sleep impossible. I was laying on the floor with my raincoat as a pillow, but to no avail. Chris farted on Jeff's neck pillow which was very amusing.

So we wait.

And Wait

Tom had found a wheelchair and was rolling around a small, less populated area of the gate. I wanted to have a little fun too, so I walked around a little and found a couple of wheelchairs sitting around in a part of the airport where there were no planes and only 1 or 2 people, but they were official people, so lost my nerve and turned around. Then I thought, wtf, I have nothing to loose and I'm bored. So I went back, grabbed a wheelchair and began rolling it back to our gate, walking with purpose and my head down. One guy asked me if I needed any help, but I said I was okay and he left me alone.

As I got loser to the gate I was very pleased with myself and had to keep my self from smiling at my little victory. Once in out little gate area, I sat in the chair and wheeled myself over to Tom and we began chasing each other and then punching each other. It was a lot of fun and we played around for about ten or fifteen minutes before we decided to roam a little bit and see other areas of the airport.

This is what a picture looks like when Chris gooses you just at the moment you hit the shutter.

Finally, at about 1am, or so, seven hours later, we begin boarding. In addition to the rain delay, we were waiting for a new crew to fly the plane. The scheduled crew were going to run out of hours during the flight back to NYC, so we had to wait for the replacements.

We got to Kennedy at about four am. Thank God. But then -DISAPPOINTMENT- we had to wait another thirty minutes before we can even get off the tarmac and taxi to the terminal because the delay backed up all the traffic, so all the planes that were ahead of us, were in line to go to their gates and unload passengers.

This was the scene when we arrived at the JFK terminal around 5am. The airport looked more like a refugee camp. all over the airport people were camped out sleeping under blankets, coats, in chairs, on the floor, everywhere.

I passed this mother and daughter near the baggage claim. All over the airport, people were camped out.

We waited another half an hour for the baggage carousel to start working. It seemed to take forever for our luggage and equipment to meander to us on the conveyor belt.

We finally got our bags, eventually splitting up and going our separate ways. It was cloudy and it was daylight. It had just recently stopped raining. I had spent the previous twelve hours in the dark. It was about 6:30 am when I was stepping into a taxi heading for home.

I got home and slept for about twelve hours. Iwoke up a little bit and then went right back to sleep.
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