The news of my going to England has evoked a common response from many of you. That being, “What on earth?!”
I had a similar response myself. I think it was Tuesday, July 8th, my boss said to me, “Emily, how do you feel about going to England on the eighteenth?” I didn’t say anything. My general model for life is to do what I’m told and stay out of trouble, since I don’t do either of those things very well I figure the least I can do is keep my mouth shut.
The idea of me going to England to help with this tour had been tossed around several times in the past few months. Though, never seriously. Seeing as I don’t have any particular skill set or qualifications, besides a level head, that would be helpful on such a tour there was simply no point in bringing me along. I’m an editor. I edit. Furthermore, the company I work for being a non-profit, they can’t afford to pay me to do something I can’t do . . . when they can afford to pay me at all.
Wednesday the ninth. Rumors of my impending departure growing ominous, I checked the ticket for time of departure. Not my ticket — the non-refundable (but, in theory, transferable) ticket of one of the members of the film crew that quit (all of them) thereby necessitating my presence in England. And noticed something else entirely. “Vishal,” I said, “this ticket isn’t for the eighteenth. It’s for the fourteenth.”
Tenth. Thursday. Ticket not transfered. Confusion abounding. Panic setting in. One handy thing about me not going to England was that over the preceding several weeks the extraneous duties of those going on the tour had been apportioned off to me so that they could focus on preparing for the trip. A great idea, I thought, with only one possible chance of backfiring: me going to England.
Fry day. The they-can’t-pay-me-to-do-something-I-can’t-do concept now scratching a good sized hole in my moral integrity, I (finally) talk to my boss. Who says something to the nature of: Why didn’t you tell me you were nervous about it! You don’t have to go, I have someone standing right here ready to take your spot. Lovely. I must have missed the call that came later that day. Sam took the message that I did, in fact, need to go. Period. Done. Fine. Only — he didn’t tell me. (Maybe because he thought I knew?)
Saturday and Sunday ooze together in my recollection. Four days of work somehow fit into that weekend. By some amazing Mary Poppins-type trick 30 binders were written, edited, printed, sorted, assembled, paid for, registrations were worked out, accommodations were made, emails were sent, clothes were (more-or-less) packed, sanity was kept, and I even recall having time to eat.
Monday morning, after ten hours of sleep in three days, I arrived at the airport. Ticket: still not in my name. Idea of what I’ll be expected to do in England: none. Where I’ll be staying: nope. Caffeine: yes. Mood: chipper. I’ve never in my life seen anything like it, but somehow — two hours before the flight — the names on the tickets were changed. One by one, the film crew and I were stamped with approval, ticketed, stickered, shipped and sent through security. First positive thing to happen that week. Last positive thing to happen, too.
“Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way.” (Murphey’s, Sod’s or Finagle’s Law: the fourth law of thermodynamics)