So, it's Fringe time again, and at the end of the first day, I've done two concerts. First of all, let me fill you in on what happened at work in the past week, shall we?
* * *
Due to stupid scheduling, my vacation at Fringe coincides directly with the Source by Circuit City's annual manager's convention. As such, when I'm performing, Mark's in Ontario for three days.
This leaves us with Chelsea and Jordon as the only two staff members over the days that Mark's out of province and I'm ON VACATION. But no store can spare any staff, since, SURPRISE! Every manager's in Ontario.
Against my better judgement, I decided to go in for a few hours on two days next week. But they're NOT being counted as vacation; if they are, people will die.
Yesterday, I did a 12 hour shift, and man, was it a day. It was busy, and I was in the "day before vacation starts" mode. I told Jordon when he came in, "I don't want to do anything. I WILL do what needs to be done, but don't be surprised if my morale hits the deep end later on tonight."
I left early, at 8 pm. Jordon had things under control, I gave him my keys, everything's cool.
Today was the first day of vacation I've had since...last year's Labour Day, I guess, when I hit Moose Jaw for Mrs. M's wedding. It was about fucking time. I was ready to sleep in, hit the print shop to check the proofs on Kow's new business cards, and perform twice. Until I was awakened by Canton knocking on my door.
"Jago, phone's for you."
I pick up the extension in Canton's room, and answers somewhat sleepily.
"Hey, Kyle. It's Chelsea."
"Hey, what's up? What needs to be done? I'm ON VACATION. (boldface mine, since I'm not yelling. Yet.)"
"Well, Mark's not at work."
"WHAT?" I yell. "He's working a twelve hour shift today! Where is he?"
"He called me up at 1 am last night, said he was chosen to be an extra on a movie shooting in town, gave me the keys to open, and said he would be in the store around supper time."
Chelsea's still VERY uncomfortable being in the store by herself, since she's not familiar with a lot of procedures like activating cell phones, or selling satellite.
Me: "Have you called any other store to see if we could get someone?"
Chelsea: "I called up Jordon, but I only got his machine. When I talked to Kingsway, Jeff told me to ask Ron at Southgate. But he was being pretty rude to me."
I sigh, tell her I'll call around, and hang up.
So I call Jeff, and tell him the story. He tells me to try Ron and see if he's got anyone he can lend for a few hours.
I call up Southgate and get one of the flunkies. When I ask him who's working today, he rattles off about three people per shift.
Me: "Can I steal someone for a few hours, so Chelsea can function properly?"
Flunky: "I'd call around to closer stores, like West Ed."
So I do. Lambert just got off vacation himself, and needs all his staff. Deryk had a fashion show in his part of the mall, was expecting a large amount of customers, and had an order to count.
I call Jeff again.
"Talk to Ron. Don lives in Westmount, so maybe he could come in for a few hours."
I call Southgate again, and ask to speak to Ron.
"Ron, I was talking to Jeff, and I REALLY need someone to come in and help my store for a bit. Nothing like a shift, but if I could get Don for a few hours to help out Chelsea, I'd be really grateful."
"No, I can't spare anyone."
"Please, Ron. Mark's away, and I'm on vacation."
"Can't you come in?"
"Ron, what part of 'on vacation' did you miss? I perform two concerts today."
"You can come in before one of them. When are they?"
"Ron, I'm already coming in on two shifts during MY VACATION. I don't see why I should be at the beck and call of my store because my manager fucked up and is being a jackass. BECAUSE I'M ON VACATION."
"When are your concerts?"
"I don't see how this makes a difference. I'm rehearsing at 1 pm for one of them, but I really need to do some errands this morning. It's my vacation after all. The first one I've had in eleven and a half months."
"You can work before 1 pm, then."
I slam the phone on the hook. And promptly dial Mark's cell. The message kicks in.
"Hi, Mark. It's Kyle. I'm going into work today. Thanks." SLAM!
I drive into work in my street clothes, because there's NO fucking way I'm dressing up for a shift I shouldn't even have. And I stay there until 12:30. I try calling Jordon. I call Mark's cell again.
"Mark, I wasn't aware that you told people that you were sick. I might have let slip that you're actually being an extra on the day you're supposed to work twelve hours. To Jeff and Ron. And Lambert. My bad. Whoops. Sorry."
Chelsea was telling me how Jennifer (Capilano's manager) was saying that Mark screwed up bad. Which is odd, since I didn't call Jen at all. (Note to self: Call up Capilano tomorrow. Bitch out Jen and tell her what happens at my store is none of her fucking business.)
Other than that, good day. Let me just tell you one more work story before continuing on...
* * *
A few days back, it was Jordon and I working. (Saturday? Sounds right.) It was crazy busy in the store, and Jordon might have been doing a cell phone sale, so I was picking up the slack. The phone rings.
"The Source by Circuit City. Kyle speaking."
A man with a high voice is on the phone, asking about a phone he bought a few years back. I'm being polite enough, but I'm very terse, as I've got four customers waiting in line, and I'm really in no mood to talk with someone who's taking their sweet time to ask a question.
After about six minutes, and a lot of mouthing, "I'm sorry" to the guy who's next in line, I say, "Sir, I'm sorry, but there's a lineup here. If you have any questions about new phones, you can come down to the store and we can talk in person."
"You keep on calling me sir, when, obviously, I'm a lady. What to you have to say to that?"
"Pardon?" My heart sinks in my stomach.
"Do I sound like a man? Am I confusing you here?"
"Well, actually, ma'am, I have heard a lot of older men with higher voices. You do have a pretty low voice for a lady. I'm sorry if I offended you."
"I don't have a penis. I am on the phone with you and I'm not a man. What do you have to say to that?"
"Sorry, ma'am." I hang up.
* * *
Speaking of gender-bending, on my way out of the store today on my non-shift, I saw one of two things. (I'm not sure which is the correct view here.)
I either saw: a) a 6'2" guy with breasts, or (b) a 6'2" woman with a beard.
I'm talking Alan Moore beard here, people, not a few dark whiskers.
I think I was triple-taking at this person who had passed me and had SOME sort of perfume on. Scary.
* * *
So, first day of Fringe! First of all, we had our first "Kowbats" show today, which was the joint Wombat/three-fifths of Kow show that we're putting on three times this week.
It was fun improv-ing with Randy and Paul, and the crowd of fifty or so seemed to enjoy it. Dev and I were talking with the young parents of a family who was there from Calgary, who had come in for a day of events. They had the day of shows all planned out, and Kow was on there twice! So they were kind of bummed out that they weren't able to see us perform with the family of five. But they were going to see our evening show, if they were able to get Three Dead Trolls tickets quickly enough.
Canton's been full-blown sick the past few days, but seemed to be in fair enough spirits tonight after last night's run for orange juice and Fisherman's Friends. We were joking about it all day, saying that Canton would be fun doped up on couch medicine.
Canton: "Hello, little girl! Your head's a FISH!"
It became the running joke of the day.
At 9:45, we had our first full-blown Kow concert. I was winded after running home for the "bitchpipe," as we've taken to calling our, yes, pitch pipe. So I wasn't properly in tune until about three songs in.
Since it was a stunningly beautiful day today, after the week of rain we've been having, there was a HUGE crowd for the show before ours. We had a respectable audience, but unfortunately, it didn't translate into a lot of people putting money in our hats. Also, as Kow discussed in our post-mortem, we're killing the Gulf War Song from our Fringe sets.
As much as we loved it, the song KILLED the audience. Some people left, and one of the recurring pieces of feedback we received was "What was that one song in the middle? I'm not sure if I didn't get it, or just didn't like it, or what."
I think that's an all-time record. The song we killed after singing it once. I'm sure we'll find an audience for it somewhere, but we're not taking any more chances this week.
To people who come to an outdoor show, there are some simple rules of protocol I'd like to go over. Funnily enough, a LOT of them have to do with drinking:
1. Don't get stoned in front of an open stage. While I'm sure it's fun for you, the fifteen families I saw in the crowd weren't so cool with it. If there's a three-year-old sitting at the front of the stage, please, smoke your pot somewhere else.
2. No matter how drunk you are, the back of the stage is not a place you want to be on when we're performing. Sure, it's open and you can see us from the side. There are plenty of other shortcuts in the area, and the stage we're standing on is not one of them.
2a. Dancing is also not something to do on the stage we're standing on. Even if you are very drunk.
3. Don't drink at an open stage. The reasons for this are explained in rule one, and everyone knows it isn't iced tea you've got in that Coke bottle.
4. It's cool to sing along with us. Unless you're stoned and drunk and disrupting those of us who are doing it for real. Then it's not so cool.
5. Talking on the cell phone might SEEM like a good idea, but if you're drunk and stoned and was previously singing loudly with us and sitting in the third row, we can hear your conversation. Even if you turn around and face the other way. While this is an open stage and, as such, is a crapload noisier than an indoor stage, the performers will want to kick your ass if they see you doing it. I know I did.
6. When the show is over, and we come around with our hats for donations, do not pretend to not see us, to the point of shading your eyes, and looking away. Especially if your friend if reaching for their wallet and complimenting us right beside you. Just because we don't charge admission doesn't mean we want you to have a free show at our expense. If you like the show, show your support, or even say, "You know what? I just spent all my money of pot and Jack Daniels, and I don't have enough money to show my gratitude for you not kicking my ass in front of two hundred people." Even if you do have enough money, if you don't want to give us any of it, that's fine. Just don't treat us like you treat panhandlers on Whyte Ave.
After our evening show tonight, Chelsea came up to me after the show. So I had to ask, "What time did Mark come in? Or did he?"
"Jordon came in at five, when I finally got a hold of him. I didn't see Mark, although he called the store and asked, 'What happened?' He's in a lot of trouble, isn't he?"
* * *
In other news, Heath called me up and said he'd be coming down from Fringe. So I really hope he shows. That would be fun.