Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Good Ouch...

Alright, in my defense, I have not crewed any shows or done anything remotely close to manual labor since mid-August. So my body is REALLY not happy that I spent yesterday working in the shop at South Coast Rep. My arms and legs are not happy because I spent the entire morning up on the loading rail in the Argyous unloading weight from linesets as they were struck. Each brick is twenty pounds (I think). There were linesets that we had to take off fifteen to seventeen bricks. They sent someone else up to help me with those, so there were two people dealing with the weight. Luckily, the fact that my legs hurt and not my back means that I was dealing with all that weight properly and lifting with my legs and not my back. The afternoon was spent doing notes and finishing loading in the show in the Segerstrom. I had to re-learn how to use a router.

The kind of cool thing was that I could see how far I'd come there and how much I'd learned while working there in the past. I actually was trusted to go up and work on the loading rail by myself and remembered all the safety stuff and did a good job up there. I don't mind working the rail that much, it's actually kind of fun, and there is a lot of downtime, because you have to wait for them to strike everything off the lineset before you can do anything to it, and you can only work on one set at a time. I also remembered how to safely use the chop saw and the table saw, and I'm much better with screw guns now than I was my first time there. I was assigned my own list of projects and it was just assumed that I could complete them instead of having to help one of the staff members all day like most of the overhires. Of course, since it had been a while, I did still have to ask some questions.

The really cool thing (at least for me) was that I had to go out on the grid by myself. Now, for those that don't know, a theater that has a counterweight fly system has a grid. It is wayyy up at the top, usually about ten feet from the ceiling of the fly space. They don't have solid floors, because that is where all the cabling is run that holds all of the linesets up, so the "floor" usually consists of a grid of steel beams that are about six inches wide, with about three or four inches of gap between beams. Now, having explained that, I should point out that in this theater, the grid is at least sixty feet from the stage floor. I am scared of heights. Make that terrified of falling from a great height. In this theater, although you can look through the gaps all the way down to the stage floor, there is literally no way you can fall through the grid. Really. You can trip and fall up there, but you're not going to go crashing down. No human fits through a four inch gap, and it's steel beams. It's not like they will rot and break under your weight. But when you're up there, all the mind sees is the open space under you and how high up you are. It's very scary. I got sent to strike a cable that was in the middle of the grid. Of course, I'm not going to tell them I'm scared to go up (although I do know a lot of people who refuse to go up on grids, and it's usually considered okay because of safety - they'd rather have someone be comfortable working up there than someone who could potentially freak out and accidentally hurt themselves or someone else). I'm just stubborn like that. And the grid is only maybe four feet above the loading rail I've been working on all morning. (Pointing out that the loading rail has a poured concrete floor and a steel railing.) So I get up there, grit my teeth, refuse to look down...and cross the grid by myself! I was actually good (and quite proud of myself) until I had finished striking the cable and then had to carry it back. For some reason, that was almost too much, and I had to be holding on to something with my free hand for the entire way back. But damnit, I did it!

Today, I want a hot tub, a good book, my knitting, and a nap, all at the same time. Some food would be good, too, if I didn't have to climb up and down stairs to get to any of it...

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