On Wednesday I came back to the US from a documentary shoot in Honduras. That is a post in and of itself (coming soon). Suffice it to say my friend Jesse (who I had been shooting with) and I were immersed in a fascinating place with genuine and passionate people engaged in the rehabilitation of people and country in the mountains of Tegucigalpa.
Ironically enough, I had a local SIM card with minutes and data. I was more immediately connected to the rest of the world while in Honduras than I am in LA (because I had no data plan there). Being connected made me realize how easy things are to navigate with a smart phone.
Directly following the documentary in Central America I had been hired to shoot an event in the Northeast for a medical devices company. The plane leaving Houston (the layover destination) was late leaving the runway due to airplane traffic.
Upon landing in Newark we were notified by the captain that our gate was occupied and we had to wait.
I had, by this point, switched back to my T-Mobile SIM, which had a newly purchased data plan that my phone wasn’t accessing.
A car had been arranged to pick me up at Newark, however, because the plane was more than an hour late, I had to take Uber.
Remember the no-data plan problem? There was also no useable WiFi at Newark airport. After spending a while walking around the now-empty hallways of the terminal looking for WiFi, I had to ask my contact to send me a car.
I hate being a burden.
The shoot I’d been hired for included an event at the medical device company’s headquarters in New Jersey as well as an event in Boston. The next evening I was in a car headed to Penn Station in New York. Of course the shooting that day had gone late and the car service had showed up late and traffic in Manhattan was…traffic in Manhattan at 6:30pm.
Needless to say I missed two trains in a row and was close to missing the third when I came to the ticket counter and found that if you miss a train and don’t call to cancel within 20 minutes Amtrak deletes the credit you had from your original purchased ticket.
The only possible way to get that credit back, the ticket agent informed me (in that extremely polite east coast manner), was to use a greasy, black plastic in-house wall phone in the middle of the train station.
Have you ever tried to get an automated voice to understand a complex number-letter sequence in the silence of your own apartment?
Now imagine doing that in an echoing tile room packed with hundreds of people. Also there was Christmas music. Blaring.
After hearing for the 6th time, “I’m sorry, I still didn’t understand, let’s try another method,” I hung up and asked my contact to buy another train ticket.
But at least I got on the train. And, five hours later, to the hotel, which was only a nippy half-mile walk from the Boston Back Bay station.
It was 2am. Luckily the event didn’t start til later in the day on Thursday. I had almost a full day to rest. I set my alarm for 11am.
Swanky, climbing guitar riff, reminiscent of a Buckethead sequence.
Ringtone. Not alarm.
It was my contact asking where I was, because I wasn’t downstairs at the event. But the event didn’t really start til Thursday night! Friday was the first morning session at 8am.
“Dude, It’s Friday.”
First time that phrase have ever been a bad thing. I had been so messed up from my travel that I didn’t know what day it was.
I grabbed my gear and rushed downstairs. Or at least to the elevator, where I waited for it to descend the 35 floors of the hotel.
Days smear together, locations blur, stories blend. It’s a weird sort of life on the move.