I’m leaving El Paso and on my way to Dallas / Fort Worth for the recording sessions with my siblings… currently flying over the great state of Texas. I collected everything in El Paso that I could (letters/tapes/home videos)… I’m looking forward to going through the tapes and seeing if anything is usable. Though some of the following tale is not directly related to my project, I think it is an interesting anecdote that describes the life of a producer.
I woke up this morning at 6a. Though my flight didn’t take off until 10:35a, I was having trouble sleeping. Today is my first intense recording day, and I only have an hour or so to put everything together once I land (because of the schedule change, the sibling dinner / recording session is happening at 3:30p and must be done by 6p). I also was supposed to get my full paycheck today (I hadn’t been getting all my pay because taxes on tuition come out of my checks… this is a detail that has all sorts of backstory and a host of irritating minutiae). I wanted to get my checkbook balanced before getting in to Dallas (I don’t think I’ll have a free moment once I’m there). Turns out Emerson’s lovely Finance office made a mistake and reported $919 for a ninth credit that I am not registered for, leaving my paycheck (for the ninth week in a row) at around $160. Since all reason pointed to me receiving a full paycheck today, I have all sorts of bills coming out (and rent is due in Boston tomorrow, January 1). So, by 7a, I had already sent an irate email and cried to my parents. My parents are not the richest people in the world (to put it diplomatically) and it is a big stress for me to be financially dependent at all. But, miracle of miracles, Tom/Mom had saved $500 for my graduation gift. I will be receiving this gift early so I can pay living expenses. I had originally intended to purchase a Tascam DR-100 field recorder. Looks like that won’t be happening. In any case, I get packed up… Equipment shoved in my North Face backpack, laptop in a second carryon, and everything I can muster in my suitcase to be checked. I can tell it is overweight, so my fantastic step-father and I start weighing our options. It comes to Tom saying… “Well, we’ll just have to pay it, but I only have a credit card.” Okay. We hit the road for the El Paso airport. Pull up to the Skycap.
Them: Your bag is ten 11.5 pounds overweight.
Us: Okay, we’ll pay the $50.
Them: You can’t pay here. We don’t take cards.
Okay, so I head inside and Tom goes to park the car. I call Tom elated that there is only a short line (so unlike airports) and he can just circle the place and come back so I can return his credit card. Miracle! I check-in (I have about 30 minutes until takeoff at this point) and check my bag. Put it on the scale.
Them: There’s an issue…
Me: (cutting her off, I admit it) I know, but here’s the card. I’ll just pay the fee.
Them: You can’t pay in this line...
Me: (realizing that I did not actually get a boarding pass, but a printout that said I must head to the gate to get one) Wait, what? I don’t have a boarding pass?!
Them: No, you are late checking in, so you need to go to the gate…
Me: BUT I HAVE TO GO STAND IN THAT OTHER LINE?!?! Please, please. You have to help me. I have to make that flight.
I considered telling her all about my master’s project and how I will shortly be talking about divorce (and recording it all) for about 15 hours over 3 days, but I relented and just gave her a frustrated look (with a touch of desperation, of course). The wonderful Southwest Airlines employee said something to the effect of “Forget it” and just put my bag through. I will forever be grateful to her. It is now about 20 minutes to takeoff and I still need to get through security. Shoot. I take off running (now only burdened with two bags and my pig neck pillow named Jamon [“Ham” en espanol]) and make it to security. I take off my boots and belt buckle, take my laptop out of its case and throw everything on the belt. Thinking I got off scot-free, I rejoice and start putting my clothes back on. Unfortunately, the backpack doesn’t make it (this is the one filled with field recorders, microphones, XLR cables, and a weighty mic stand). The TSA need to inspect it. Oy. I tell them what is in the bag (even added the detail about how much an AKG 414 mic costs), but they still must go through it. I beg for them to be gentle. They’re not. I am now dangerously close to missing my flight. Finally, all my crap is given the go-ahead and I dash off to Gate B6 (so grateful this all happened in El Paso where the airport is not gargantuan). And, suspense over, I MADE IT. I even had time to call Tom (my trusty sidekick in this debacle), my Mom (to thank her for saving me with that $500), and my sister who will be picking me up at the airport in Dallas. I’m on the flight. My equipment is safely stored in the overhead compartment. My laptop is functioning. I have a Diet Coke. Oy vey. Let’s hope the recording sessions have nothing in common with this morning (other than the Diet Coke part).
In better news, I had some time to organize the questions I plan to use as launching off points for the group session and individual interviews. I’m allowing for tangents, but this is the general structure:
Group Interview (all four of us…happening in about two hours)