Sometimes, you just can’t win.
Over the long weekend, I had to set up a meeting between my boss and the producer, because the showrunner did a major re-write on the script that changed the budget drastically. I actually thought I got the good end of the deal, because one of the PAs had to go in to the office to run pages, and the other had to drive those pages to the cast. All I had to do was call the producer’s assistant and find out where to set up the meeting.
So I called her up, and she told me the producer wanted to meet at a Starbucks down the street from his house, at the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange. I pulled up Google maps to email directions to my boss, only to discover there is no Starbucks at the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange.
Now, the assistant had also mentioned the Starbucks was right next to a grocery store, and sure enough, there was a Vons a couple blocks away. And next to that, a Starbucks. So, okay, she must’ve meant “near the intersection,” not “literally on the corner.” Fair enough. People do that all the time.
But! Being the smart PA that I am, I emailed the assistant with the address, and said, “Is this the one you mean?” And she replied, “Yup, that’s the one.”
Problem solved! I went back to grilling hotdogs.
A few hours later, my boss called. He’d been waiting for ten minutes. Where was the producer? So, I called the assistant, who said the producer had been waiting ten minutes.
Now a moronic game of telephone begins, with actual telephones. Are you at a Starbucks? Yes. At the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange? Near the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange. Do you you see a Vons? I’m right next to a Vons. Etc, etc.
The assistant starts saying my boss should just drive north until he sees it. I try to explain to her, neither of us knows where our respective bosses actually, physically are, so just driving around and hoping to see another Starbucks is not a solution.
Then she says, “I don’t understand why it’s so hard to find the intersection of Fair Oaks and Orange Grove.”
“They’re major streets. This shouldn’t be that hard.”
“You told me it was at the corner of Fair Oaks and Orange.”
“No, not exactly. Orange and Orange Grove are two different streets. About a mile apart.”
“Well, you should’ve known that’s what I meant.”
“How in the good Goddamn fuck am I supposed to know that you didn’t mean the street that you told me? And I sent you the map. You said, ‘Yup! That’s the one!'”
“I assumed you would know how to Google the Starbucks on the right corner.”
“There’s a Starbucks on every corner! That’s why I sent you the map! Why would you assume I was right when I sent you the map specifically to double check if I was right?”
“Why would you assume I would look at it?”
“BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I TOLD YOU TO DO!”
“You’re not my boss.”
“Oh, my fuck, what is wrong with you?”
“Look, I’ll just tell [producer] that you told [UPM] the wrong Starbucks, and he’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“No, don’t you tell him this was my-” But she already hung up.
This is why I hate producer’s assistants. I called my boss, told him the assistant gave me the wrong Starbucks, and then gave him the address.
Instead of thanking me, he said, “Why didn’t you double-check the address?”
“Okay, first of all, I did double check. I sent her the map, she didn’t look at it. Secondly, she’s a fuck up. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. I secretly suspect the producer keeps her around so he can blame her when he doesn’t call someone back or implement network notes.1 So why are you blaming me when this is plainly, obviously, and in every way her fault?”
…is what I didn’t say.
Instead, I said, “It won’t happen again.” (Go ahead and click that link; it’s very important advice.)
Nothing I could say right at that moment would make my boss feel better, about me, about being late, about having to work on the long weekend. It’s best to just pull the ripcord and bail out of the conversation as quickly as possible.
The worst part is, it will happen again. The assistant will screw something up, but I’ll get blamed because I’m the responsible one and no one expects anything out of her. Now I know what my older siblings must’ve felt like when we were kids.
- A diabolical plan I secretly admire, by the way.↩