Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tools of the Trade

Will the excitement never cease?

My grand task yesterday, in amongst other papery Stage-Managery toilings, was to replace my stopwatch. A most critical tool on tour to keep a show in check. Nothing says 'yawn' like a scene that's a minute longer than it should be.

My first time stage managing at the university I bought a lovely stopwatch that's meant for lifeguards timing laps. Not only does it sport a jaunty yellow nylon necklace, it has a number of charming features to include silent button-pushing, easy-to-use set features and best of all, it lights up ala Timex's indiglo. And if I ever happen to be working underwater, it's good up to 50 meters. The watch served me well for years until it finally quit last year on the tour of The Trip to Bountiful. I knew it was coming, because the little beeps on each stop and start got longer and more mournful - the pitiful sound of a dying electronic.
I suffered through a brief period of mourning before buying a new stopwatch which - while it was slick, black, and came with a whistle - couldn't match my old one. It also began acting up this fall, beeping every hour on the hour (I still haven't figured out how to stop it) as well as sounding an alarm every day at 4:27pm. I still don't know how the alarm got set, nor how to turn it off. You can understand my eagerness to replace it. There is no place in a stage manager's life for a rebellious stopwatch.

So I went back to Radio Shack on the quest for a battery for my old watch (yes, I carried its inert corpse around for months without finding time to replace the battery...) And, like a car that won't misbehave while the mechanic is listening, the watch suddenly began to function after six months of a blank, dead screen! It was a miracle and I have no doubt that it was inspired by the humming of its electronic brethren all around, the bright glow of flourescent lighting and the nimble hands of the Radio Shack employee. Perhaps a bit of the Christmas spirit, too. I didn't trust much to the miracle though and I bought an extra battery and an extra clone of said watch.

Sure enough, as soon as I got back to the office and tried to set the time on my old watch, the number display blinked and spun in confusion and the screen went dead again.

I observed a brief moment of silence, then threw the watch away and opened up the new one. Its beeps were perky and quick and the screen bright and eager to show me the exact time.
Back to work.

1 comment:

Sonrisa said...

*plays a requiem for the watch*