The Learning


It never ends.

I don’t believe I will get proficient at anything anymore.

I don’t have that much time.

I do hope, and at times I even believe, that I have become proficient at the blogging.

It does not mean that the blogging is always good, it just means that I have a sort of system and I stick to it.  Just by doing the showing up to the empty screen every day for over three and a half years now has taught me, how to, well, show up.

That is pretty much what I did today.

I showed up.

I did not talk myself out of it, although when I made the transfer from the N-Judah to the 22 bus line I just about wanted to.

The bus smelled like stale spilt beer, wet dog, and homeless guys.

The windows were smogged over with steam and half the seats were wet from the windows that must have all been open when the rain really began to come down today.

But I showed up any way, finding my way to the studio, Coconuts & Avocado’s, on 15th at Folsom Street.

The music was going in the back ground and the band were dancing in a stage area and there were big lights and people rushing about and my employer who had asked me earlier this week to assist her.

She was working on makeup for one of the female singers and invited me to take a look around.

One of the female singers, already in full makeup, who was having her hair done in another chair, asked me to go video tape the guys doing their dance routine and I happily did, taking her phone and finding a spot on the floor positioned between some scaffolding and huge white screens.

The PAs and PDs and the assistant to the assistant and the PM and the Director all scurrying about the set with blue scrub stockings on their feet so as to not besmirched the clean white set, it was really fun and intense and goofy and neat.

Yeah, I said neat.

It was neat.

It was also a job, a lot of people had been up all night making sure the art design team had all the sets done, and the make up and the hair team was coordinating with the wardrobe team and the director intent upon what the camera man was doing and showing the band how she wanted them to move.

I felt like a sponge.

Soak it up lady.

I don’t know the exact particulars of how I learn, but I learn a lot just by observing and taking it all in.  I have a great memory and the opening of the eyes, the ears, and the intent on taking as much in as I can get has always served me well.

My first task as assistant to the lead make up artist was to blot sweat off one of the male band members brow and hair-line.

I actually did not do any make up today.

But I learned a lot about it.

A whole lot.

Mostly by watching and asking a few questions and being willing to learn.

The things I did do were small and, to my mind, meaningless, but as it turns out, to others invaluable.

“I asked you because you are professional and you show up and you show up on time with a good attitude,” my boss said.

“You would not believe the people who come in and are cranky to be working, 50% of the job is just being nice and relaxed around the client.”

I probably know this at some basic levels, I think I have always.

If you make the client comfortable then you are more likely to be asked to return.

If you act like it is a privilege to be there, then you will be asked to return.

I am good at these things and though I have often down played them as not really negotiable talents, I realize that they are–not everybody is adept at being a people person.

Aside from being Miss Congeniality, I also held some make up for the main artist as she was on set, cleaned up a little, helped the Art Director procure some things for a set, told the band member where the bathroom was, offered my experience going to Burning Man to one of the female singers, and just tried to be helpful where ever I could, tidying here and there, putting people at ease when I could.

I think my shining moment was seeing one of the guys in the band sweating pretty profusely and having anticipated he was going to need to be wiped down, was waiting in the wings of the set.

He walked off, trying to not wipe of his face on his shirt sleeve, while looking around the set.

I stepped forward out of the wing and offered him the napkins to blot his face.

That was it.

No biggie.

But it felt nice and I realize that really, at its most basic,  so much for me gets to be done with a smile and a small bit of anticipation of what may need to be addressed.

I was also invited to assist again with the makeup and next time do a little bit more.

I did not get paid for the work.

I got some snacks and $15 for a hot dinner and a MUNI ride home.

I got, however, paid in spades with experience and a budding new community of connections and possible future work.

I also met a new, to me, band, Lucius, who are frankly awesome and I will be downloading their album here shortly after posting this blog.

I learned a lot about makeup.

I leaned about how to do a better baby doll eye lash then the ones I have done before, I watched how the make up artist did airbrushed foundation on the legs of the female singers, I saw what you really need to have a decent kit, I got some great instruction on lip lining and foundation and where to go if I want to pursue this line of fun.

I got to hang out with female singers and listen to them sing 90s pop songs in the wardrobe and make up area.

I got to meet a new set of people.

I even ran into someone who had just started working there as a production assistant whom I had not seen since before I left for Paris.

“What are you doing here!” She exclaimed and jumped up and down and squeezed me and I knew, too, that I might have just been there to help ease some anxiety for her in a new job.

That was a cool and unexpected thing to get to be a part of.

So many things to learn.

I don’t know that I will ever find out all things about any one subject, but it sure is fun to be a Jill of all Trades in this world and to be looked upon as someone who does a good job and is worth investing the time into.

And to get to see the inside of a really cool music video.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Not bad at all.

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