Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thumbs Up.

I really thought that our illness quota had been filled for this quarter. But no, because Bella started throwing up early Monday morning and that night I got hit with a bad head cold, hard and fast. I had to be on set for two days and endured 48 hours of Swine Flu jokes. As I had suspected I would.

We were shooting these well conceived, if not hastily thrown together, spots for an accident firm called The Advocates. On the second day at lunch I sit with the sound guy, "Hard G" Gerald and Murphy the producer. Murph tells a story about the Mormon conversion of a gay friend of his who was his next-door neighbor. The guy was fully homosexual, out of the closet, the whole she-bang (pardon the pun) and one night while playing Scrooge on stage he internalizes his lines about changing and realizes that it's time for him, that he has to change. So he goes back to the Mormon church and goes through the process of repentance and marries and is re-baptized although not necessarily in that order. And John said this guy was amazing. Just such a fantastic person to be around and at his baptism all of his gay friends are there to support him. And I love that because there is none of that pesky reverse discrimination in this story, not for this guy. Because he is just pure love. And then the guy dies of AIDS some time later.

And then John also tells about his Sister in law who was at the gym working out and starts to get really light headed. And she stops working out and goes into the showers and is really fuzzy in the head. She turns on the shower but it's full blast hot. She passes out right away and sees herself on the ground. And her deceased Mother, (Mother in law?), is standing next to her and says, "It's not your time. You have to turn the water to cold." And somehow she is able to turn it to cold, even though she tries and can't move her right hand. And then she tells her she has to move the water to her head immediately, or she will die. Again, somehow she does this and then wakes up straight away. John says what makes this story amazing is also to know the woman this happened to. She is very pragmatic and not at all new age-y and mystical.

So then I tell about my Dad and the story about the woman in the back seat of the car during the accident he was in on New Years Eve in college. Their car was hit head on by a group of drunk kids. My Dad's first wife was killed. The woman in the back seat said she could see the people trying to work on them, the cops and medics but she also saw a bunch of people around that she knew were not being seen by anyone but her. I wondered in that moment if I was there...

We were then called back to set. Gerald and I kept talking about angels on our SLOW walk back and I told him about how my Mother talks about them a lot and how I had a close friend that used to, also. When I was first back in the church I challenged my friend. I asked her if she really believed in Angels, the whole harp and wings crap. She was surprised I didn't and told me if I wasn't sure, then I should pray about it. I was all like, "Fine I will!" So that night, I said, "Dear Heavenly Father, I am wondering, is there such thing as ang..." and I swear I had not finished the sentence before I was overwhelmed with that warm, weepy feeling you get when something is true without a doubt. I was shocked. I had to wrap my brain around it. I figure, they don't look like little babies with bare butts hanging out inside fluffy clouds, but they do exist. So I'm shifting my paradigm about it.

After Gerald and I finished our chat, we went back to work. All day I was like a cat on a hot tin roof. We are creating accidents for these ads which is just...tempting fate. And I hate heights more than ANY-THING and we spent the day on a three story parking structure. Just that much height freaks my junk out. There is a part of me that wants to jump and fly through the air without consequence and that part of me is what scares the crap out of me. I am afraid it will win one day. I tell this to the six guys from the ad agency, Struck. One says to another, "Dude, tell her about thumbs up!" And does a two handed thumbs up like Fonzie. But the guy goes, "Naaaaw..." They all encourage him, so he relents.

His brother loves to mountain bike and has a group of buddies he likes to go with. And they are in Moab. Anyone who has some knowledge of Moab knows that most rides down there have one or two spots that are lookout spots. You ride up red-rock hills for a long, windey time and then get to a place where you stop and look out over a huge drop. Some have them very close to the trail. Some, like Gemini Bridges have spots like, ON the trail. But they were on such a trail on the day in question, with a good two hundred or so foot drop. This agency guy's brother was video taping his buddies as they rode around a bend, with the drop off point to one side of their trail. One of their guys came through when suddenly his front wheel locked and his bike donkey kicked him off. He flew off his bike, over the edge of the cliff. And as he flew through the air he looked at the camera and smiled, and gave two thumbs up. And then fell to his death. They showed the footage at his service. They showed that he was smiling and it was OK. Because, you know, thumbs up.

I would like to make a deal with God. I know dying in my bed would be my first choice. Go to sleep, not wake up. Second would be to be hit by something funny. Like a Zamboni or a Wonder Bread Truck. Leave them laughing. Third choice would be to live until Christ comes and not have to actually die. This deal I make will include a clause somewhere that I will not in any way fall to my death. Not in a plane, a zeppelin, a hang glider, a bike, a car, my clothes, nothing. In no way will there be a moment of recognition of my impending doom while I vomit all over myself as I realize, "Hey, I'm about to hit some rocks and die" I would rather have a terminal disease. I would rather choke. I would rather not ever die. Thumbs up for that.