Bring your own fork

August 22, 2008 - Friday

 Is It Safe?

I don’t remember if I’ve said anything about this, but I’ve been working as a “Star Driver” lately, driving an actor (who shall remain nameless) to and from the set. I typically drop him/her off at the set or the lot, depending on where they’re shooting on the day, and then I take off and come back to pick him/her up at the end of the day to drive him/her home.

Stupid job, I know, but what are you gonna do — I’m trying to crack the Teamsters any way I can. This may or may not do it, but it’s a paycheck and I’m making Teamster contacts, so…

Anyway. Occasionally I stick around if s/he has a short work day instead of taking off, and that means lots of down-time while I’m waiting. Down-time can lead to trouble, as it did for me the other day.

Let’s paint the picture first. I’m hanging out by the honeywagon, which is parked next to the wardrobe trailer, and I’m sitting in the truck’s shade. Problem is, this shade is disappearing as time drags on and the sun climbs higher, and the shade on the seat of a nearby golf cart starts looking pretty good. It’s a cushioned seat, so comfier than the folding chair I’m in, and the golf cart has a roof so the moving sun isn’t an issue. So I climb into the golf cart.

The golf cart happens to be parked nose-to-nose with the wardrobe trailer, which is a big 53-foot box trailer normally towed by a big rig except the rig is parked somewhere else. The front of the trailer comes down to just about a foot above the body of the golf cart, then angles back toward the rest of the trailer — this is where the big rig would be if it were hooked up. You could just barely drive the golf cart under the nose of the trailer if it weren’t for the windshield and roof supports and roof and steering wheel and everything else that sits taller than the bottom of the trailer’s apron. (That’s called “foreshadowing.”)

So I’m sitting in the passenger seat of this golf cart, hanging out, enjoying the shade, and generally just killing time. I’m reading a book for awhile, and I’m bullshitting with other crew members for awhile, and I’m daydreaming and working out a solution for world peace for awhile. Time is passing. Slowly. And at some point I vaguely remember noticing and registering the fact that there was no key in the golf cart’s ignition.

This, to my mind, made the golf cart “safe.” I’m very careful around the golf carts and always conscious of the gas pedal and making sure I don’t step on it. I know it’ll never happen, but I always have this fear that I’m going to accidentally step on the gas and crash one of these stupid things. (More foreshadowing.)

So I’m sitting there. And sitting there. And sitting there. And at some point I went to change position, to shift my butt on the seat. I put my foot down and pushed against it to brace myself and move my fat ass–

And the golf cart shot forward. Into the trailer. Hard.

Crunching noises ensued. The windshield shattered and the crunching noises continued. My brain totally locked up with confusion:

What the fuck is happening? Why is the trailer moving? Holy shit, why is the windshield breaking? Holy shit, the golf cart is driving under the trailer and it won’t stop! Am I doing this? Holy shit, the trailer is getting closer! Holy shit, the golf cart won’t stop! Ack! Cue sparks flying out of my ears, etc…

Stuff like that. I finally got my knee to unlock so my foot would get off the gas pedal that I had obviously stepped on, and the cart finally stopped its relentless advance under the trailer. I was laid back in the seat — over the seat, almost — nearly horizontal, with my legs and most of my body sandwiched under the trailer on top of the golf cart. The nose of the trailer was about a foot from the nose of my face, and if I hadn’t finally stopped it may well have scraped off my face.

I don’t know how that thing ran without a key, but run it did. Like a frickin’ gazelle. A suicidal gazelle. I’m still trying to figure it out.

The golf cart was Fucked. Up. I folded that thing up like a pretzel. The windshield had shattered into a thousand pieces, the roof supports were totally bent back, the steering wheel had been torn off, the roof was peeled back like the top of a sardine can. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.

Me, I walked away relatively unscathed: two bloody gouges to my forearm and a big goose-egg bone bruise next to them, a nasty bruise and scratch to my bicep that I didn’t even know about until I took my shirt off at home that night. That was it. It could have been much, much worse, which is mind-boggling to me, considering that it was a friggin’ golf cart.

I felt like an idiot and I’m still apologizing left and right. I’m still waiting to see what the fallout from this little incident is going to be, but at the very least I’ve earned a new nickname. Now they’re calling me “Crash.”

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August 2008
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