BLUE LAW BLUES
I went a little crazy, couple nites ago. I’d only been in N. Carolina for nine hours but I hadn’t really slept for two days…so I was both burned out and wired, after a day’s filming. I was pushing myself; I’d performed the night before, then flew thru the night, changed planes and was driven from the airport to the set. So I began the day tired.
It’s 8 hours later, I’m wrapped. Great experience! I gotta eat, sleep, get up and get back to my theater. It’s 6:30 PM local time…I have to calm down in order to fall asleep.
We’ve got a thirty mile drive towards the airport and my hotel; I’ve a 7AM flight out in the morning…so I figure we should look for a store along the way that sells alcohol. This is Durham and Chapel Hill, Duke and UNC, I know these college kids are drinking! Well, it’s Sunday evening. And N. Carolina doesn’t allow the sale of hard liquor from their state stores on Sundays. I surrender, hoping for a mini-bar in my room. It’s a high-end Sheraton…but it turned out to be miles from the airport. I’d have to get up at 4:30 to catch the 5AM shuttle for a 7 AM flight. Seriously? And the room has no mini-bar? And I’m not allowed to smoke? And I’ll have to take a shuttle to a restaurant?
I wasn’t comfortable. Given, it wasn’t my money but still…waste offends me. I enjoy luxury and I know my hosts wanted me treated well but if all I’m gonna do is shower and sleep for 6 hours, that doesn’t compute in Tucker’s World. I passed. Stephanie, my Sancho Panza, my ‘assistant’ was patiently driving me about to find something closer and more economical for just a few hours of sleep. We searched in vain. Small town airports are very different; they lack the concentration of options present at large city airports. OK. What now? I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m irritated and I seem to be digging in my heels. I have my second wind. I am indignant. I feel challenged.
I think most people would regard me as eccentric. But I do have a code of conduct, of ethical behavior. I put myself thru all of this because I’d said I would. In THE PLEDGE, Sean Penn’s film, Jack Nicholson, when asked why he continued to pursue a case, even after retiring, responded. “Because I said I would. I gave my word…and you’re old enough to remember when that meant something.” I love the simplicity of that, its purity. In my view, value trumps convenience. I wouldn’t allow circumstances to take advantage of me, if I could prevent it…and I’m not gonna let circumstances take advantage of people involved with my life.
Sleep in the woods? I’d done more than a few nites, training exercises at Ft. Bragg. Bad idea. Possible illegal. OK. I’ll rent a car, stretch out in a hatchback, never leave the lot, wake up and walk into the terminal. Yeah, I was a little out of control but see, I was taking each rejection with wry pleasure. Stephanie was surprisingly nonjudgmental. She drove me and followed me into and out of car rental offices as I searched for the perfect vehicle. This SUV will cost me WHAT? $78?? And it doesn’t even have a shower.
OK. I’ll sleep in the terminal. Been there, done that. And they should still have an open bar or two, it’s just 7:45. And then fate intervenes. Mike, a very good-humored salesman at Avis asks, “Why don’t you stay at the Microtel? It’s nearby, they’re reasonable and they have a shuttle.” He pulled out his smart phone, called them and handed the phone to me.
Long story short, Stephanie dropped me off – probably 100 miles traveled during the day, trying to accommodate my needs for BBQ and cigarettes and post production alcohol. Microtel was cool, I could smoke, available beer and food nearby, free breakfast and a shuttle in the morning. Sleep til 5 AM.
That felt good. That was reward enough for my unwillingness to settle. Course a woman would never put up with that shit…which probably explains why I’m single. Course if I’d been traveling with a woman, we’d have stayed at The Sheraton:)
22 May 2012