Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Missing the Benjarmins

It seems like every time I see a movie now it's shot in New York or LA. In places in New York in LA that I know well. It makes me homesick. I've been out of work for ten months, and in school for five. I miss the money. I miss the travel. I miss buying stuff I want. It sounds a bit crass to actually come out an say it, but it's true. I see friends' vacation pictures on Facebook... from Switzerland, Africa and France. I had to turn down the annual President's Day family gathering in Gatlinburg 'cause we couldn't afford it. And damn it, I feel sorry for myself.

I think about looking for a job. And it's not just for the money, there's something else I miss. It's a longing that's almost physical. Until recently I'd thought the longing was for the old life in New York: the big office, the secretary, and the travel. And although intellectually, I know and accept that that life doesn't exist for anyone any longer, it's still difficult emotionally. At least that's what I thought in my personal pitty party. (I read something just last week that Grey has had to hire a team of industrial psychologist to help people adjust to the new, open office. I have very strong views on open office, but will save that for another time....suffice it to say that I believe strongly that it's what put Chiat Day/NY and Wells Rich Green out of business.) Anyway, I haven't quite been able to recognize exactly what this longing is for; really. But after spending some quality time with former colleagues over the past week or so, I've realized the thing I miss even more than the money, is being with smart people and discussing ideas. That is really what I use to do all day. That's the part I loved. That's the thing I miss. It wasn't staying at the Mondrian and hanging out at SkyBar. It was the people I was with at SkyBar and the plans we made and the ideas we had. It wasn't driving up the PCH first thing in the morning, or the West Side Highway at night, or having breakfast at the Waldrof; it wasn't the places and the furnishings. It was the people and the ideas.

Isis and I talk about how we miss those Benjarmins from our old lives. She use to make thousands of dollars a week selling drugs. Now she's workin' fast food for $8/hour. She says what she likes about her life now is that she can sleep and spend time with her kids. "'cause when you is selling drugs, you get calls all day and all night. And you think 'I can make $1,200 just by drivin' twenty minutes' -- so you go, and then you get another call... And you never get any sleep. I was just SO TIRED all the time. I could never turn down that money." I sure as hell know that feeling.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A new experience

Yesterday, in my Jesus-y mode, I agreed to give Asia a ride downtown so she could get her bus card. (She needed a ride because taking two busses AND stopping to get the bus card would make her late for work.) Since we were going downtown anyway I offered Ruby a ride too. The minute we were in the car they told me they wanted to go to the tattoo/piercing place on Glenway to get their tongues pierced. They've been talking about this for weeks and asking me to come along. Ruby said to me "you want new experiences, right? That's what you said. So come on, do it! I need you to hold my hand Miss Cynthia." So I'm thinking "okay, this is something I've never had the opportunity to do before (and hopefully won't again)." And off we went.

I was kind of freaking out the whole four minute drive up the street: "It's dangerous, there'll be blood, you'll ruin your teeth, your tongue will swell up, I'll have to take you to the emergency room, you'll get blood in my car...." Asia told me "God, you're actin' like we're going to rob a bank and you're driving the get-away car. Calm down."

So we get there, and the place is PACKED. At 3:30 on a weekday! Seems all sorts of people want piercings -- a woman with her ID from University Hospital still affixed to her scrubs, a 55 year old hippish women and her 28ish boyfriend hanging all over each other and both wanting their nipples pierced; two 19 year olds getting bars through their ears, a FAMILY (getting God knows what). We had to wait about twenty minutes and during that time more and more and people came in. The waiting room was as crowded as a New York subway -- packed shoulder to shoulder. God only knows what these other people in the waiting room were thinking about my little threesome. Especially since we were asking everyone about the pain involved and after-care of a tongue piercing.

I think my hands were sweating more than Asia's, or Ruby's (she was freaking out a bit and I didn't think she'd go through with it). After all it wasn't bad. Not that I watched. I tried to take a video with my phone. Told Ruby I'm putting it up on YouTube. But I only got about four seconds and not the actual piercing.

If you're under 18 years of age you need parental consent -- and they have this nice Hello Kitty clip board for the form; so kid friendly.

Frankly, the only thing this experience had in common with anything in advertising was that everyone I know in advertising, under the age thirty, has something unusual pierced; or a tattoo. So really, this is another time when it's "an age thing."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hours and Hours before I sleep....

I just saw a story on the news about last year's commuter airplane crash in Buffalo. The pilots are underpaid, undertrained and over tired. But here's the shocking thing -- they need only 250 Hours of training to get a job as a pilot! Compare that to my 1800 hours to be a "managing cosmetologist!" Seriously, has the world gone mad? And when you think of all the bad haircuts, bad perms and bad color you may have gotten from someone with AT LEAST 1500 hours of training ..... just think about how dangerous it is to get on that little plane to get from, let's say Cincinnati to Pittsburgh!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I want this....

A client comes into the salon with a picture of Rihanna and wants you to make her look like "that." The client is older and heavier than Rihanna and has a round face. She also has very curly hair. But "I really want this cut, I think it'll look good on me."

A client comes into the final creative presentation for the new campaign. He says he loves the spots, his boss loves he spots, he loves the directors treatment and reel, it's a "go." But he only has $180K, the production budget has been slashed to a third of what it was yesterday. "Can we use stock footage for the canyon shot? stock music? shoot locally? make the spots all :15's? Use an 'up and coming director?'" "We have to have this spot that everyone (back at marketer X) loves, but we have to "squeeze out" $300K.