Thursday, September 02, 2004

q and a

I've been working out some answers to questions that people pepper me with on the job. For some reason, people seem to think that it's okay to approach a complete stranger and jack information from me about my life, the contents of my luggage, the weight and cost of our equipment, what have you. I realize that what I do is perceived as part of the Fame Machine, and therefore I have no more expectation of privacy than a hapless celebrity wandering down a Main Street in some Midwestern town, but it's still odd and sometimes incredibly irritating to deal with a passerby calling out: Hey, what's in your suitcase? It's a bit like walking into an office and saying So... what you got in your desk? How much does that file cabinet cost? And so on. Here are some responses I give out to the most commonly offered questions and conversational gambits.

  • Q: Hey, what's in your suitcase?

  • A: Some guy who owes me money.
    This is a great all-purpose response in most parts of the world, usually eliciting a laugh from the curious. In the Florida Keys, though, people will take you seriously.

  • Q: What are you filming?

  • A: Well, this is kind of embarassing, really, because we've been making a documentary on you for the last ten years, and you've finally noticed us.

  • Q: What kind of film stock do you use for that camera?

  • A: The fuck you care, buddy?
    That's not the answer I give, but man, do I ever get tired of people staring like mules at a Betacam and asking about film stock.

  • Q: How much does that camera cost?

  • A: Around forty thousand dollars.
    Even though it's not wise to announce to strangers that you're carrying the price of a sports car on your shoulder, it's too much fun to see their eyes defocus and their mouths try to chew out a response to that.

  • Q: Are you news reporters?

  • A: Yes, the event we're covering happened fifty years ago and we just heard about it in Canada. We're hot on its trail.

  • Q: Are you making a student film?

  • A: Yes, we're making a student documentary about student disasters for student networks all over the student world. The students hired us because they're so busy studying.

  • Q: You must have enough Air Miles to go anywhere in the world, hey?

  • A: We fly on a special magic rock. Sometimes crew members fall off and the company pretends that they've quit and gone partying in Thailand.

  • Q: You must find your work very interesting.

  • A: Could you phrase that as a question? I'm trying to maintain a format.

  • Q: Don't you find your work interesting?

  • A: Oh yes, very interesting, thank you, thank you, it's fascinating, and rewarding too, you wouldn't believe the rewards, and all the people I meet, yes I meet all kinds of interesting people, and oh the things I see and the places I go, feel free to live vicariously through me for thirty seconds, and yes it's hard because I miss my wife, and no we don't have any children, but yes there'll be quite a homecoming ha ha, she'll be so sore when I get through with her, oh yes, oh I can see I got a bit carried away there and you're not smiling anymore and we're still setting up, oh damn.


Friday said...

Well if that wasn't a minefield of inside jokes...

palinode said...

It's more like an overgrazed sheep paddock of inside jokes.

schmutzie said...

And, boy, was I.

Friday said...

You were an overgrazed sheep paddock of inside jokes? How painful for you.