Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Late Summer Funk

50 States Half Marathons challenge completed, decadent week spent at the luxurious Captiva resort now only a memory, and lots of running friends posting their race reports and finisher medal photos at Facebook and making me feel like a slacker while I try to stay cool here in South Texas's hottest time of the year.  All of these things are conspiring against my usual buoyant spirits.

It's even been hard to motivate myself out the door to get some runs in.  The racing season has pretty much shut down for the summer here south of the Mason-Dixon Line and in the Southwest. Only the most northern tiers of states have been the sites of races through the months of July and August.  So there's not even been the opportunity for running a spur-of-the-moment race to buck up my mood.

Besides, the major expense of the new HVAC system in early August has my wallet running and hiding.  So for the next 9 months, if the race isn't already planned and booked, it doesn't get added to the calendar.

And speaking of up-coming travel, my commitment to running and to friends and to family continues to set the tone for my traveling life.  All wonderful things.  So what else could possibly be contributing to this funk I'm in?

Way back last winter, I was approached by a woman in our neighborhood about working the sound/lights booth for an upcoming musical extravaganza she will be producing in late September.  She directs and stages a different extravaganza every year, and she knows me from my work with our community acting troupe.

When I took that phone call from her, I quickly logged into my computer and checked my calendar.  I had three major upcoming trips that overlapped her proposed rehearsal and performance schedule - a week in Portland in mid-July to run my 50th state half marathon; a trip to my place on Captiva Island in mid-August; and a trip to Montreal to run a race with a friend in mid-September.  I told her about these trips and gave her the dates.  I told her that if this wasn't going to work for her, she needed to find someone else to work the sound and lights.  We discussed this for quite a bit, exploring work-arounds and alternatives and, in the end, she felt this would be okay so I made the commitment.

Now...when I make the commitment to do something, I do it.  I do not renege, I do not shirk, and I do not let other people down who are counting on me.  I guess it's that little girl scout in me.  I will be "all in" and I will give it my full attention and effort.  I will arrive early, stay late, and never blow it off because I don't feel like doing it that day.  I've always been this way about everything I do.  This, as it pertains to committing to doing lights and sound for play productions, is well-known among our community acting troupe and they respect me for my dedication and reliability and my acquired expertise over years of many productions.  So when I realized that it was best to walk away from this particular project, it was a difficult decision for me to make.  But I felt it best to resign and here's why.

In working with this woman on her latest production, I attended meetings with her, took phone calls, made notes, acquired a few soundtracks that she didn't have, and made all of the required edits to the music tracks, such as adding sound effects, shortening some tracks, lengthening others, splicing and merging where needed.

Individual rehearsals went on through the month of July.  I provided her with a CD of these edited soundtracks so that she could play the soundtracks on a CD player during the early less-formal, vocals-only rehearsal sessions that I would be missing while I was running that 50th state race in Portland ME in mid-July.

Full rehearsals began the first of August, meeting once a week on Thursdays.  My trip to Captiva meant I missed the first two Thursdays - Aug 6 and Aug 13 - so she hired her grandson to fill in while I was gone.  I stayed in touch with her, and then called her to let her know I was safely back from Captiva and to inquire about any changes or edits I needed to take care of.

So here I am, back from Captiva, back into the rehearsal schedule, back to making ongoing edits to the music at the request of the director, back to doing sound booth work to get it set up, including the microphone sound board, and to get the light board programmed, going in to do this even on days when there was no rehearsal.

But then, after last night's rehearsal, she approached me and told me that I played the wrong version of a particular soundtrack, that it had been edited to remove the lead-in and that's the version I was supposed to play. This was the first I'd heard about this.  I'd been making additional edits for her all weekend, and had taken care of all earlier edits before I went to Captiva.  When was this particular soundtrack edited and by whom??

This uncovered the fact that she'd given that edit instruction to her grandson who had covered for me in the booth those two Thursdays in early August while I was away and who has never worked in a sound booth before in his life.  None of this ever got communicated or shared with me.  I'd even set up a public folder in Dropbox at the start of all this so that all edited sound files could be shared with all who were involved: the director, the microphone manager, and her grandson.  Too many cooks in the kitchen!

And her response to my pointing out to her this lack of communications?  "That's because you're never here!"  I was floored!   She knew the exact dates I would not be there.  I always travel - always! - with a smartphone and a laptop, sometimes I even carry a laptop and a tablet.  I can be reached and can do computer work no matter where I am.  I set up that Dropbox for this very purpose.

The bottom line to this discussion was that, in light of her impression that I'm never there, I asked her
to fire me. When she refused to do that, saying she really needed me (!!), I thought it best to just resign on the grounds that my upcoming travel to Montreal leads into the week of final dress rehearsal and performance weekend.  When I told her, way back last winter, of my travel plans in July, August, and September, she should have looked elsewhere for help.

Now I think I'll devote all of this freed-up time to my knitting, to keeping the weeds at bay in my garden, eating dinner at a normal hour, and to watching prime time news and TV programs live without having to record them.  Maybe I can find a little race somewhere nearby to run on that weekend?

1 comment:

  1. It is unfortunate that your concerns were not completely listened to at the beginning and that communication was not up to the level you are used to. It leaves a bitter taste I am sure, but look at all that free time.

    Hope your weather cools off soon, ours finally did.