Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Breaking Point

In the early nineties I worked for a seasonal haunted house here in Austin called The Nightmare on Fifth Street. It was tons of fun! I have many, many stories about goings on in and around the Nightmare. The one I was thinking of today is the one about the bass player.

Those of us who worked the hallways in the Nightmare wore walkie-talkie headsets so that we could keep up with each other and with what was going on in different parts of the house. If Frankenstein needed help with an unruly patron, we would know. If there was a cute girl who was really afraid to go through by herself, of course the single guys on headset needed to know. You get the picture.

The Nightmare was located right next to a building that rented rehearsal space for local musicians. Apparently they could rent at any time of the day or night. There was one bass player whose equipment was tuned to the frequency of our walkie-talkies and we could hear his bass as he practiced. The first night it was funny. It became a joke. The second night it was a little more annoying. After that it was a kind of torture. The thing was, he didn't rehearse on consecutive nights. Sometimes the space between rehearsals was a week. Each night that we were open we wouldn't know when or if he would show up. The anticipation was almost as bad as listening to the rehearsal itself. And yes, we did try to change frequencies. The shared frequency was the only one that held up inside the building.

So, every night that the bass player practiced I had a contest in my mind. Who would snap first? We had five people on headsets and each night each one of us would have our own different breaking point. One night I might be able to stand it for 45 minutes at a time. The next I was off headset after 10 minutes. I could be walking the hall going to check on a particular scene and hear a strained voice in my ear saying, "I can't take it! I'm turning off for a while." I remember one night being outside on the sidewalk when a fellow headset wearer stomped out the front door, screamed, ripped his headset off and sat down on the curb with his head in his hands.

I bring this up because it applies to every day life. Some days I can take the constant questions, comments, requests, stories, toy noises, etc. Some days I want to rip off my Mommy headset and just sit on the curb. Today is one of those days.

I'll be off headset for a while.

2 comments:

Genghis Maximus said...

I feel your pain

Genghis Maximus said...

I feel your pain