Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thug Life.

I pride myself with having very few run ins with the law. To date I have never been pulled over while driving, I've never even been given a parking ticket. What I'm getting at is simply this: Despite my bragging, I have not lived the thug life. I can think of two specific run ins with the police that I would consider even remotely exciting, and one of those times I hadn't seen them, they were just called to deal with us ( a big misunderstanding that perhaps I'll write about some day.) The instance I will re-iterate to you today happened while I was in school at the Master's College in Santa Clarita California. I won't use any names, but I'm sure those of you reading this that were involved will know who you are.

I graduated from college with a degree in Communications with and emphasis in Electronic Media. As such I was required to take classes in which I had the opportunity to work on and lead various video production projects. The class I had taken this semester was Video Production II, which required a group of students, as well as myself to work under the direction of another student in bringing together one ambitious project. Our director (We'll call her Stacy) knew a gentleman (Whom we'll call Sam) that played the guitar and sang songs. It was Stacy that decided we should make a music video for Sam. I have no problem with music videos, as a matter of fact I quite like a few music videos (I'm particularly keen on the music video for Twisted Sister's "We're Not Going to Take It".)

The Master's College has no Film major. I break away from the story to tell you this because it's important to know that about half of the people involved with electronic media minors at the school fancied themselves "Film" Majors. They were not, I was not, there was simply a Communication Major with and emphasis in Electronic Media. In my experience, Film majors (and those that fancy themselves as such) are a bit more artsy than myself. Certainly I learned to appreciate artistic expression more than before, but that didn't mean I intended to paint myself red and film an abstract video showcasing the horrors of American consumerism in a completely abstract way. There were a lot of very talented people at Master's that considered themselves part of the Film Major, Stacy was in that camp.

The music video, it was clear from the get-go was going to be artsy. I was given the task of creating a junk yard scene in which two young children would dance and then fall down amidst a cloud of billowing smoke and die... or something. Anyway, when all was said and done I was quite proud of the set I had helped create. The entire video was shot inside a warehouse, each wall had a particular set and we simply created numerous sets and moved the camera as necessary. Needless to say, we made a huge mess in that warehouse. So, when shooting was just about done, we started to throw all the junk we had accumulated away. Cleanup was the most fun part about the entire class. I was commissioned to break down some set pieces so they would fit in the back of the pickup truck better. I was allowed to destroy couches, cabinets and numerous other pieces of furniture by kicking it. it was bliss.

We took multiple trips to a large dumpster within the industrial complex that we were filming in. The trips meant that three people sat in the cab of the pickup truck while Sam and myself sat in the bed of the truck amongst the garbage. I want to emphasize that with all previous trips to the dumpster never required us to drive on a main road. I'm no thug life I don't ride in the back of pickups on main roads. So imagine my shock when, instead of turning left, we turn right, directly on to a main road and directly in front of two Sheriff cars.

My immediate reaction to seeing two squad cars with a total of four officers within was completely idiotic. In an attempt to avert the justice of the law, I had decided to duck in the bottom of the bed of the pick up. A bed that was piled about three feet high with junk. What was supposed to be a stealthy maneuver turned into me smashing myself against pieces of broken chairs and book shelves unable to hide anything, especially my guilt.

As we were pulled over into the middle of a parking lot of a gas station, I understand from the others in the cab that the driver, Stacy, had decided to fill up on gas. I was, irritated at the situation, to say the least. The officers took Stacy across the street (as she was the driver) and lined the rest of us up on a curb. They questioned everyone, one at a time. When they got to me the officer asked what I was trying to do when I attempted to duck into the bed of the truck. Knowing from TV that police officers can spot a lie a mile away, I gave him the most truthful answer I could. "I was being an idiot, officer" I said with an embarrassed grin.

We were told that Stacy did not have her driver's license on her, despite the fact that she was driving. This sounded bad. We were asked to show our driver's licenses, I immediately complied. The funny thing was, I was the only one out of a group of five people that complied, because I was the only one that had the foresight to have brought it with me. Not that it did me any good, because the officer asked if I could drive stick since someone needed to move the offending vehicle to an actual parking spot. Legally, I was the only one allowed to drive it. I offered my services to push the vehicle if he would be kind enough to steer. Instead of take me up on my offer he asked permission to drive it himself. I allowed him.

As Stacy was separated from the rest of us, we wondered what was happening. All the officers had joined our little group and were talking to us, when we noticed something funny. Namely that Stacy had completely collapsed, very nearly hitting her head on the curb in the process. The officers ran to revive her, which they did easily. She had fainted from the ordeal.

Amazingly, we were let off with a warning. All of us. I don't know if they found the situation amusing, if they felt bad for us or what. We had to call a friend that actually could drive stick shift to come and drive the car (I had to drive his back to the warehouse since I WAS THE ONLY ONE LICENSED TO DO SO.) Stacy was distraught. In tears she profusely apologized to all of us, especially me. In her reasoning the police now had my name on a list, since I was the only one that could be identified.

Everyone came out alive, certainly a little flustered, but alive. The music video was completed in all it's artistic glory. Stacy was had minimal harm done after her fainting spell. The end result of the whole ordeal left us in exactly the same situation we would have been in if we hadn't broken the law. Well, almost exactly. My name is almost certainly on a list of people to watch out for. Thug life.

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