Zombies at South by Southwest

Although broke, I wanted to go to the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, for the world premiere of an indie film in which I played one of the key characters. So, I put out a call to the Seattle film community for folks who wanted to share a hotel room in Austin. An enthusiastic response came from several young filmmakers who are partners a film company specializing in zombie flicks.

Although the film community in Seattle is a relatively small circle, I hadn’t met these particular film zombies before, but we all knew of each other; in fact, they were only one degree of separation from me.

“Sure,” I tell myself, “It will be fun to do the sleep-over party thing with a few 20-somethings.”

 

“Shitty, dumpy, dive-ass Motel 6?  Well, it’s cheap.”

 

“Motel is way the fuck too far from the Festival action to walk; must take non-existent buses to the cinemas: no problem.”

 

“Sleep on the floor on a soggy yoga mat made of discarded Styrofoam–no problem.”

 

“Of course, I’ll share the room payment equally with my three roommates, even though everyone else will have real beds.”

 

“Use towels the size of wash cloths: why should that bother me?”

 

“Some of you snore and fart?  It’s all expected.”

 

It’s all about having fun at SXSW; and I want to be a fun, indie-film, partying, low-stress, adaptable, happenin’ chick.”

 

But, how weird is it to wake up in your underwear in a room with people from your own town, in your own business, who know everyone you know…who will barely talk to you? Uncommunicative to the point of surliness.   I would get up in the morning, stumble into the bathroom.  I would greet each of them; they would grunt.  They wouldn’t look at me.  While I was showering, they would all leave without saying goodbye and without leaving a note.

 

Is that because they’re zombies?

 

Or because they thought I am way too old to be cool, and therefore not worth talking to?

One of the roommates barely said 3 words to me in 3 days.

 

“What?”

 

“Huh.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Ha, ha, ha!!!   The What-Huh-Okay-Guy, David, dropped his business card on my floor mattress on his way out the door: “VP of Sales for ___ Films.” Yeah, with communication skills like that, you’ll go far in sales, buddy.  Ya wanker.  You 20-something ageist loser moron.

On the 4th day, I saw them in the lobby of a theater before a screening.  Clarissa stared at me like she’d never seen me before.  I walked towards them and opened my mouth.  Ellis started backing away from me.  Drool was working its way down David’s chin.

 

Say I: “For 10 bucks more per night, I can get my own room with a real bed instead of a soggy recycled Styrofoam yoga mat on the floor. And closer to the festival, too.  I’m moving out.”

 

“What do I owe you for the first three days?”

 

They stared at each other.

 

They stared at me.

 

Clarissa started choking and gasping.

 

David growled.

 

Ellis mimed & grunted to indicate that I should write a check and slip it under their door.  Then they emitted high-pitched shrieks and ran into the darkness of the cinema.

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