Some Personal Duties

A typical day for an office PA means fielding a lot of phone calls, copying a lot of scripts, and picking up lunch.

Every once in a while, the monotony gets broken up with an unusual request. It’s just that, sometimes, that request is also unusually stupid.

Last week, we had a guest star from out of town,1 and we had booked her a room at a nice hotel by the studio. This place costs about twice my daily salary per night.

But that hotel wasn’t nice enough for the actress. See, on her last movie, she’d stayed downtown at the Westin Bonaventure. You know, the round, glass one that was in basically every movie in the 90s?

Wish I could afford to even walk in the door.
Oooh, shiny.

This place is closer to my weekly salary per night. Also, the original hotel is basically walking distance from the studio, which is why we put guest stars there. I mean, a driver still picks them up every day, but it’s a two minute round trip. Downtown can be an hour away in morning traffic.

But, whatever, the network wanted to keep her happy, so she gets the fancy hotel and some teamster gets two hours more overtime every morning.

When we tell her of her new arrangements, she says she doesn’t want to have to stop at the old hotel at the end of her “long”2 day, pack up her junk, and then unpack at the new place.

That’s where I come in. I’m sent clear out her room, check out, bring her stuff to the new hotel, check her in, and drop her bag in the room.

Of course, when I get there, she hasn’t packed her bag. I feel like a creep rooting around in her drawers, pulling out her bras and underwear and things. She’s got a bunch of fancy dresses, too, which I literally don’t understand how to pack. I just gave up, tossed everything in the suitcase, and hoped it didn’t get wrinkly on my trip down the 10.

I get to the hotel, check in, drop off the bag. As I’m heading down to the valet, I call the coordinator to see if she needs me to do anything on my way back.

She asks, “Did you unpack the bag?”

“Um… what?”

“She wants you to put everything into the drawers and closet and stuff.” She pauses. Then, “Yeah, she’s a helpless toddler. I know it’s dumb, but do it anyway, okay?”

Obviously, I do it anyway.

To me, how you arrange your dresser is a personal thing; nobody does it the same way. So, I just laid everything out the way I do at home. Except for the complicated wrap-dress thingie. It looked like I hung streamers in her closet. I honestly don’t know how I would put that thing on (assuming it would even fit).3

On the plus side, the APOC ordered lunch from my favorite place, as a way of apologizing for having to do a shitty personal errand. It was even still warm when I got back!

Which should be the happy ending to this story. I was on the morning shift, and get sent home at a decent hour.

Then the text messages started coming in.

Where’s [actress]’s toothbrush?

Where did you put her slippers?

Did you pack her hypoallergenic hairbrush?

By the sink. At the foot of the bed. Also by the sink.

All things she could figure out if she fucking OPENED HER EYES. This went on until at least 10:00pm. And the poor office was dealing with this nonsense on a night the shooting crew was going into overtime.

I’m just glad my boss had the foresight to tell the others not to give her my phone number. If she called me at 11:30 to complain that I folded her socks wrong, I would probably scream.

She waited until she saw me at the craft service table the next day.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Outside the continent, actually.
  2. Eight hour.
  3. I swear, I have a college degree from a major university, but I had no idea what was going on there.
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2 Responses

  1. Wow when I was a PA, I had to do a TON of personal errands for directors/producers & actors/actresses. The worst was moving a fucking piano to another room because the actress need the light to inspire her creativity. Whatever the fuck that means.

  2. This sounds like my nightmare. I simply can’t stand lazy/clueless/infantile/entitled/stupid people. I actually have a lot of admiration for what actors do, work-wise. But this crapola would have gotten me fired because I would have let said actress know she was a f*%!ing idiot.

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