Years ago, I spent some time living with my uncle - who is probably the most business savvy and successful person I know. The guy was an absolute bastard and mentally beat me 'til I was black and blue. The time was now to get things done. Do, do, do - like a fucking mantra.
Up until that time, I had been working in the motion picture business doing production work. The oddity of the industry is that most "normal" people think there's something wrong with you because your friends and neighbors usually see you between pictures when you're at home and out of work. Between gigs, it's not unusual to find yourself sleeping in late and lazing around the house, which is when the normal people see you and form the incorrect impression that your life is one of leisure.
What they don't see are the months of shooting when you're working fifteen hours a day, six days a week with only an eight hour turnaround between the time that they call "wrap" for the day's shoot and the time you have to report to work the next day - which usually means that it takes you an hour after wrap to stow all of your gear for the night, drive home, unwind, shower, sleep, get up, get ready, drive back to set and be rip-roaring and ready to go by the call time. The reality is that it takes an hour to get out of there, at least another hour to go home, shower, unwind and go to bed and at least another hour in the morning to get ready and get to the set - meaning that you get five hours of sleep, if you're lucky.
Pile all of that on a fifteen hour day of non-stop standing and rushing around at full speed and you start to see that film production is a grueling life that is anything but the glamour that the public thinks. To make matters more difficult, all of the usual stuff that normal people spread out over their week - like grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning, banking, etc, now has to be compressed into that one day you have off. Forget rest, forget relaxation, forget living - it's all about production.
But to the rest of the world, you're just a slacker because you sit at home all day between pictures...
It was during one of those three month breaks that I went to stay with my uncle, who also decided that I must be some slacker because I was hanging out in his part of the world for several months at a time.
The one thing I learned in the film business was that it did no good to try to convince people otherwise. They just wouldn't believe it. Might as well let them think what they want and get on with it. My uncle was no different. To him, work was all-encompassing - as it was for me, just that it wasn't all-encompassing everyday, just at multi-month intervals while shooting.
After a couple of weeks, the guy laid into me. He wasn't happy about my party all night, sleep in all morning philosophy. He wanted to see me working. If I was going to stay in his hours, I had to work. I had to get up at six a.m. and get cracking. He didn't care what (or who) I did at night, or what time I came home, as long as I was up and cracking at six.
After awhile, he just pissed me off.
But I held to that schedule and even if I rolled in at 5am, I was up at 6am and making it happen. That bastard beat the crap out of me and burned an intense, white hot anger in me for years. But it wasn't until years later that I realized that it was him pushing me away from film production and towards my own future. He had pissed me off so much that I only wanted to achieve if for no other reason than to tell him to go fuck himself. And then I mellowed out a bit.
Several years later, after we had built Jays Shave Ice, my uncle came to visit and as I showed him our operations, I saw something in his eyes that I hadn't seen before: respect. Suddenly, there was no longer a need to tell him to fuck himself, it was his respect he was looking to give, but only if I had been worthy, if only I had proven something, and now that I had, we were there.
To this day, when I think about those times living with my uncle, I can only describe them as I have above. The guy was a complete and utter bastard to me. A complete fucker. I can still feel the anger and rage he ignited in me, and I can still savor that triumphant moment of respect - a moment more delicious and satisfying than any young girl I've ever taken home. Even now, it's that desire to prove my uncle wrong that drives me each morning.
I relate this because a friend called me the other night and she was surprised that I was home on a Saturday night. She expected me to be out and about, but the reality is that I spend my weeknights out and about and stay home on the weekends. Last night was no different. After arriving at Woodberry to pick up milk for The Spro, Spike, Isaiah and Allie invited me to an industry wine tasting until midnight, which turned into a four hour marathon of drinking, eating and moving to multiple bars. What I expected to be a quick night brought me home at 3:30am.
Today was my opening shift at The Spro and even though I didn't get home until 3:30am, I had no problem getting up at six - if only to prove my uncle wrong...
I'll be at The Spro all day if anyone decides to swing by.