In South Florida, you’re always an extra.

IGNORE ME.

“Will Corey Feldman be there?!”

That’s not a question I’ve ever heard before, but screw it. First time for everything. There were models strutting around in very little clothing, and I was helping my friend’s band load in for an odd scene with a little boy and a beer can. People were milling around, often having issues staying out of the way of the film crew. I doubt many people knew how to act during a film shoot, because they certainly liked walking in front of that camera.

We had been invited along to extra in some slasher flick that apparently stars the aforementioned Corey (hopefully not the other one… could get tricky) and some random girls that seemed confused and good at being pretty. They did that job well enough, and the muscle-bound “killer” of the film had some hard-hitting dialogue such as “What… wanna go for a ride?” and … well, that’s it. That’s all I heard him say.

One of the bar girls kept taking off and putting on her jacket, trying to determine which made her boobs look better for the shot. She was hidden behind other people anyway, but that one little possibility of her left breast being in a movie appealed to a deeper part of the brain, it seemed. I took my jacket off because I was warm after moving the equipment, which was taken as an invite to inspect my breasts. I declined.

There was nothing but beer to drink, which I hate, so I sipped on a Monster for a while and smoked more cigarettes than necessary. My friends were hyped up and excited since this was going to be exposure for them, and I was proud. I remember back as they were just getting things together, so this was a nice event for me to witness.

There was an eight year old child with fake tattoos and a cigarette wandering around, preparing for his scene where he hurls a beer can at the band. The director seemed extremely thrilled with his decision to include this scene, and everyone egged the kid on to aim for one band member or another. Kid did manage to peg the singer at one point, so I guess he took it to heart.

I eyed their lights and cameras, trying to get an idea of how it all works for them. I’m the kind of asshole that stares at the equipment during a show, losing track of the show I’m supposed to see or be part of. Bad, but tech-fueled, habit. Despite my lack of an attention span, I did as I was told and stood here or there as needed. Move to the left. No, a little less. Perfect. Ok, now, pretend to rock out. Good! Guys, keep rocking. Guys. GUYS. ROCK OUT, GUYS! … Yeah.

So as the night went on, people kept wandering off without direction as the film crew never told us when they were coming back or if not at all. Eventually about ten of us remained, and even the director stood in the background to fill in some gaps along the way. He was an odd fellow, showing us the poster options for the film and basically calling the location and the people inside the dirty aspects of South Florida, something gritty. I wasn’t sure if he was insulting or not, so I didn’t care much.

Walking. Walking. LOOK INTENSE. Walking...

There was a Bentley rushing out from behind the building numerous times for the shoot, nearly crashing into a friend’s van, then an unsuspecting car that was just trying to leave. They didn’t really have anything blocked off, so nobody knew for sure what was going on. I wandered around, talking shop with some various guys on the set. There wasn’t much else to do at the time.

Now look like bar sluts. GOOD!

I had done extra work before on small-budget flicks, so it was kind of cool to get back into it. There’s always something like this going on somewhere downtown, and that’s one of the beautiful things about my city. What got to me, though, was that some of the other extras with me had no experience and decided they had to ham it up for the camera. They missed the point that nobody is here to see them, and we’re just filler. That’s all. A few people were given dirty looks for trying too hard, and others came dressed as if they were the stars. The people that gained the most notice didn’t do much of anything at all– they just were cool. Acting natural is apparently hard for a lot of people to do, it seems.

It was pretty fun really, and doing the rest of the shoots will be cool too. I just wish more people understood the idea of acting casual in situations like this, not waving your boobs around like a crazed animal.

Then, we started a fire. Because that's normal.

 

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No Decency? No Problem!

I haven’t been writing as often as I would like, due to the last week being rather… different. But hey, it was full of things to write about, so here’s the most important and first thing to set it all off.

Years ago, I was working for a coffee place where I had been rapidly promoted after my trial period, and from then on it was smooth sailing. I was repeatedly called in for overtime to cover for missing workers, and the main duties of the manager fell to me daily. I pretty much ran the place, and nobody questioned it– I was good at it. We had been facing troubles with the upper management, and went through four in the time I worked there. By the last manager, I was worn out and getting sick from my later diagnosed Crohn’s. I ended up being so sick that I was hospitalized five times in three weeks, and had to take time off. I had never used vacation or personal days, so I didn’t see a problem. The new manager that randomly disliked me, however, did.

So, shortly after his arrival and while I was sick, he started sniping at my performance. I didn’t do anything right by his standards, even though I followed the books more than anyone. Slowly, he began eliminating workers to place people he knew in their positions. They didn’t follow the rules, but he didn’t care. They kissed his ass, and that was the important factor.

During my sick time, he began calling me daily to berate me for not being at work. The time had been approved by the district manager, so I decided not to add fuel to the fire and rat on the manager for harassing me. Our store had been through enough turmoil without me making it more difficult, and for love of my job, I kept my mouth shut.

Due to this, within a week of my return I was left with the choice of quitting or being fired due to “three strikes on the dress codes.” Apparently, if it’s hot and you roll up your sleeves to show a possibly offensive (a bird of paradise adorns both my wrists) you can be fired. But, if you’re the managers friend and have magic mushrooms and a tripping caterpillar on your leg for the world to see, it’s fine.

I quit that day and didn’t bother returning for my last of the week. I was fed up, still sick, and hurt. I had poured myself into that job, forgoing social life and personal. It was brought down by one man with a grudge, for no particular reason other than I happened to be there. I lost the last health insurance I have had, right before a double diagnoses of two very problematic illnesses.

These adorable kitties make this part less depressing.

Fast forward now to a week ago. I started to see the familiar signs all over again, but this time not with my job– a worker with a grudge, trying desperately to infuriate  my husband on a daily basis. He’d come home angry and exhausted over the constant verbal abuse from this guy, but for the sake of keeping the peace, never bothered to report him. He figured it would blow over, and I tried not to let it get to me. He worked his ass off daily only to be yelled for no particular reason.

 

Luckily, he was spared for two weeks and managed to work with another crew that enjoyed his company and work ethic. They constantly complimented his quick ability to learn, and how much he had already accomplished. They even shared a dislike for his other co-worker, as everyone had problems with the guy. He was all around not someone anybody wanted to bother with. Things seemed to be going well. As all good things tend to end, he was put back on shift with the wonderful man we’ll call Earl. So Earl keeps up with verbally assaulting him, badmouthing everyone (including the upper management) and being rather vague as to what he wanted my husband to do. Still, he did his job and worked as hard as he could.

Some might think I am biased. Truthfully, it could be my own mother doing a bad job and I’d still fire her. I don’t look at friends as friends when we’re working together. I have been in such a position, and despite my own like for the person, did what had to be done if they just refused to work. If I have to boss you around, I will. If you’re doing something wrong, I will correct you. Work is work, it’s not personal. With my husband, I’ve seen his work ethic and his abilities. I’ve personally watched an old boss beg him to stay because he was such a fine employee. So when he came home and let me know he was fired for not doing a good enough job, I called a big fat bullshit.

Apparently, Earl had been quietly going to the bosses and complaining about his laziness and inability to work, none of which anyone has ever seen before and probably never will. This was, in fact, a job he had hoped for. To go out of his way to screw it up would be a stupid move on his part, and stupidity isn’t something he’s good at.

Without speaking to my husband at any point or the other workers, he was let go, all thanks to one guy that likes to kiss some ass. Now, to make a point, he was the third guy this man has worked with that magically didn’t make the cut. Nobody bothered to notice this trend, apparently.

It’s practices like this that truly bother me. All it really takes is one person to come along and ruin someone else’s job record, financial situation and desire to do well. While we’re lucky this came during my work season, it still hits hard when we were just finally catching up.  There’s nothing good to come of losing your job in this economy– except now, there won’t be more constant berating and we can move on to better things without this holding him back.

My job, however, is still awesome.

As if by sheer luck, while I was thinking of writing this my husband turned to me as we exited the highway and pointed out the work truck and his ex co-worker driving back at about 6:30 pm, alone, and a long way from the warehouse. Obviously his productivity has gone up, being three hours behind already with another 40 minutes to go. Unlike this man, though, we’re not going to stay bitter over it all. It does solidify my distrust in people offering a stable job, and it absolutely reminds me that there’s always someone who can and will try to fuck you over.

For now, I’ll enjoy having him home with me more often until we can get things straightened out. When that time comes, if someone decides to be abusive at work, it’s getting reported. People like that don’t deserve to keep coasting along screwing up everyone else’s day just because they can.