Thursday, June 14, 2007

Characters-Not so Goodfellas

Yesterday I wrote about some of our favorite good guys we have met during our travels. Today I am going to share some of our favorite not so good guys.

Mr. Air Tran customer service representative. Jim and I were flying from Chicago to Atlanta. When we got to our gate we realized we could jump on an earlier flight. We approached the desk where the customer service man was training two young African-American men. Mr. Customer Service was regaling them with stories of the "good ol' days" of air travel- pre-911, pre-deregulation, bad weather delays, etc.... The trainees could care less. We asked him if we could get on the earlier flight. He sighed, tapped into his computer and said, "You know you are only going to get there about an hour earlier." He wasn't joking. I said,"Yeah, that's why we asked." He sighed again and reluctantly gave us boarding passes- like we were criminals for not wanting to sit around his boarding area for an extra hour. As he was printing the passes he began telling a joke to his two trainees. The joke was about ethnic stereotypes- particularly about African American men. About a third of the way into it Mr. Customer Service realized who he was talking to and made a quick switch, suddenly the character in his joke was a "Pollack." The joke was suddenly worse than before. His two trainees realized their new boss was both an idiot and a bigot.

Philadelphia to me means Ben Franklin, the Liberty Bell and Pukey. We were shooting in a housing project in Philly. A man who was obviously drunk was asking anyone around for money or if he could help. He was a bother, but not really trouble. Right in the middle of a shot we heard this loud retching noise followed by a splat. Pukey deposited his lunch about two feet from me. When he was done he reacted like it was no big deal, "That was as good coming up as it was going down." When we were watching dailies and that scene comes up you hear everything but don't see it. We ended using the shot, minus the natural sound FX, in the film.

Tyler. We get more mileage out of Tyler stories than anything else. We were shooting in Denver and wrapped after a long day at about 8:30. Our client recommended a nearby Italian restaurant so we called some friends and had them meet us there. We get to the nearly empty restaurant and the host, Tyler, greats us. We ask for a table for four and he tells us that it is policy that we cannot be seated until our entire party is there. I said,"Are you expecting a big 9pm Tuesday night rush? We promise if 18 other tables fill up before our friends get here we will move." Sorry, policy is policy. So we ask to sit at the bar. No bar, but he could bring us a bottle of wine. We said sure. He brings us an opened bottle. We sent it back- to his credit he knew he made a mistake. He returns, opens the new bottle and then asks for our credit card. I said, "Do you really think we are going to run off with an open bottle of wine before our friends get here?" Policy again. We give him the credit card. So Jim and I are standing, no seats, in the doorway of a small restaurant with our coats and an open bottle of wine on the floor as 16 tables are wide open. After about 20 minutes our friends join us and ask, "Why didn't you get a table?"

"Policy," we reply.

Tyler comes takes our order, gives us our dinner, it was surprisingly good. As we are nearing the end of the meal I ask for some more bread to sop up the pasta sauce. He looks at me, sighs and rolls his eyes. "About how much bread would you like?" he asks. I point to my plate, annoyed, "I don't know, that much? I promise I won't waste your bread." He comes back with about two inches from a baguette and asks me if it is enough. I was tired of fighting him, but I asked if the kitchen was suffering from a bread shortage.

He wasn't amused.



Theresa111 said...

Peter……I laughed very hard, You want some bread? How much? Oh, poor you meeting such disagreeable people!

We finally got to see Adrienne Shelley's "Waitress" last night. I did a small write up on my site. I might buy the movie when it comes out on DVD.

I was saddened by knowing about her untimely death. Watching her I thought "What a shame and waste of her talent. She was a beautiful lady."

So Peter, don't be a stranger.

trwilkinson79 said...

Oh, I always ask for 5 inches of bread.