Friday, May 07, 2004

The Thing That Pissed Me Off Today

Having gone through 4+ months of unemployment at the same precise moment as my spouse has made me particularly sensitive to selfish rich people who have no clue. Today, for example, one of my editors was complaining how poorly he is paid because 4-camera sitcom editors get way more money than drama editors, even though single-camera drama editing is much more difficult. That may be true, and in all fairness, he said they were paid "relatively" low. I, of course, couldn't contain myself. Yeah, relatively, I said. I mean, sure you might be paid less than one editor, but in the scheme of things, it isn't so bad. Look at police and firefighters, I said. No offense, but I believe their job is more difficult AND more important, and they're paid less. He said, most firefighters spend most of their time sitting and hanging out at the station, not working, and they get paid great. Well, for starters, they get paid great because they're putting in a ton of overtime. My editor shows up after me and often leaves before me every day. He doesn't have to come in if there is no work, but gets paid for it. They give him extra paid days off because he's been working hard... like ooh, a 10-hour shift! I said police don't sit around all day, and he acknowledged they work hard. Thankfully he acknowledged that much before I ripped off his head knowing that my wife works her butt off as a cop when not being forced to sit at home after a pattern of workplace discrimination encouraged by the laws of this "great" nation. But he's got it rough. He just bought a 3-story home south of Ventura Blvd. built into the side of a hill, and he has barely made more than a couple of hundred extra dollars per week in over 10 years because his union stinks... You know what that says to me? That says to me they were paid EVEN MORE STINKING WAY TOO MUCH MONEY 10 years ago! Shoot, I don't even get a union, I said. I don't have benefits, like he does. I don't get collective bargaining agreements for my wages, and I usually work much longer days without extra compensation or time off. Then he said, he wasn't comparing himself to me... he wouldn't want my job. No shit!

This exchange came on the heels of two other lovely work exchanges this week. One involving my boss telling me how I really should hurry up and buy a house cause it's just getting harder and harder to get into the market... He just sold his 3rd house (and by 3rd, I mean owning 3 at a time, not 3rd in succession) after two offers in 1 day for an ungodly sum they were asking for. He figures it must be hard to get a house if you don't have one so I should hurry. Didn't he read in the paper that unless you're making AT LEAST $100K yearly (and I'm not even guaranteed my job for a year, let alone that salary), you aren't even in the market for a median priced home in Los Angeles now? He DID hire me for the job. He DOES know what I make. He DID make me want to crawl into a hole and die.

But not as much as the actress with the attitude who, upon me asking if she could stay an extra 5 minutes after her scene was done so we could get her to say one sentence into the microphone, practically ripped my head off for making her stay late without at least 24 hours notice. I'm sorry. I know you think you're important. But acting is your profession, right? Your chosen career? I mean, it is your JOB, just like working my ass off is my job. So you mean to tell me that you're probably making close to 6 figures A WEEK (I am ROUGHLY guessing here) and the 5 minutes of "overtime" to SPEAK A SENTENCE, for Pete's sake!!!, is really unfair of me to ask. I apologize. Here, let me bend over to kiss your feet. And while I'm down there, why don't you kiss my ___!

I know what you're thinking. I should become an editor or actress so I can have it better. That's what most people in my position who bitch about this industry strive for. But really, is that what I want? To be so full of myself and my wealth that I've forgotten how the other "half" lives? OK, so having money wouldn't be so bad... but NO, I don't want to become these people. I don't want to forget that others might not have it so easy, even if I am fortunate enough to get out of this hole some day. I can't stand that the conversations all day long about the new houses, new additions, renovations, new cars and stuff people have been buying for themselves is all there is to talk about to the minimum wage PA who they force to use personal cell phone time while putting excessive miles on their 12-year-old beat up car every day. That is, if they bother to talk to the PA (aka Person Anonymous). I'm not a PA anymore, haven't been for a while, but I haven't forgotten that they ARE people. I don't want to be the person in DSW who I overheard the other day (while I was shopping, mind you, to replace the 8-year old shoes I have because the soles were getting a little worn) asking her friend "Do you ever forget what you have?" Um, no. I know exactly how many pairs of shoes I have and exactly what they look like. They might not be stylish or trendy, but they don't hurt my feet and they match most anything. I don't need to be trendy. I just want to be a good person surrounded by other good people. And I want to be wearing comfortable, practical shoes. Who gives a shit about the rest? Sure I want to own a house, sure I'd like to not have to worry that my car insurance is through the roof because of an accident I had almost 2 years ago. I am not saying I don't want money, but please, PLEASE, don't let me forget what it is to be a human being with compassion.