I do not have what you would call good instincts.
I forget to turn the oven off regularly. At work, if asked to get something from our road box I will often look in the wrong room despite the fact that our box was moved to a different room 3 days ago. And in college, it took me until well into my junior before I believed that guys weren’t “just being nice” to me when they complimented me and bought me drinks at parties.
But my instincts were finally vindicated today. For once, they were right.
A week and a half ago, we loaded our next show, Miss Saigon, into the theater. It’s a rental that we got from another theatre, already built and put together, and we (the electrics department,) began sifting through and looking for pieces that needed wiring and repair. One of the biggest pieces in this rental is a bright pink Cadillac. (It’s actually the hollowed-out body of a Cadillac with a golf cart engine inside, but damn if it doesn’t look like the real thing.) Naturally, everyone is drawn to the Cadillac, and desperately want to drive it around. I mean, it’s sitting in an empty convention center, with nothing but empty concrete floor sprawling in front of it; who wouldn’t want it take it for a spin?
Apparently, everyone but me. As I stood and watched my co-workers each hop over its painted side, don their sunglasses, and take it for a ride, I couldn’t squelch the uneasy feeling in my stomach that told me that this wasn’t okay. I couldn’t say why, only that if I got behind that wheel something bad would happen. Maybe I’d accidentally crash it into a wall. Maybe I’d be rounding the corner just as the artistic director walked into the room. Maybe I’d be on the very far side of the room when the battery died, making it glaringly obvious that someone had been driving it. I couldn’t say; all I knew is that my gut told me not to get in that pink Cadillac.
Of course, none of these things happened to any of my friends. They drove all over the convention center, laughing and squealing, while I stood by the rest of the scenery, feeling awkward and lame. And as the week went by, it became abundantly clear that I was a member of a very exclusive club: People Who Hadn’t Driven the Cadillac. It seemed like everyone had been behind the wheel of the car; from the lowliest intern to members of production staff, everyone seemed to have made those tires squeal at least once. There were even stories of crew members taking family down and letting them take the car for a drive. Everyone had driven that car, and it was starting to look like once again, my fear of consequences had made me the stuffy stick-in-the-mud who was too scared to have a little fun.
We’re shooting the shit with a member of the production team, and we hear that the pink Cadillac is broken. Apparently, it will no longer drive forward, only reverse. There’s a single spring in the engine that switches it from forward to reverse, and this spring broke. Seeing as it’s meant to be driven very slowly from upstage to downstage (approximately 50 ft,) and not at top throttle around the center, I can only imagine that the repeated joy rides didn’t help. There’s no way of knowing how it broke, if it was being driven when it broke, or if it was barely hanging on by a rusted thread when it came off the truck. But all we know is that it came off the truck running, and now it’s not.
I’m not happy that the pink Cadillac is broken. Luckily, it’s not an electrics problem, but someone’s still going to have to fix it. But for once, I feel really good about my guts. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve missed out on a crazy-ass fun time because I was scared of “getting in trouble,” or looked like a jack-ass because I wasn’t paying attention. Of course, it’s not like I’ve “won” anything by not driving the car. No one who did was punished, and it’s unlikely that anyone even cares that it was driven; this is professional summer theatre, no one has time for petty shit like that.
But I feel that for once, my intuition was right. Will I quit leaving the stove on? Unlikely, but one time, I relied on my guts, and they were right.
It’s a start.