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.
â€œSure,â€ I tell myself, â€œIt will be fun to do the sleep-over party thing with a few 20-somethings.â€
â€œShitty, dumpy, dive-ass Motel 6? Well, it’s cheap.â€
â€œMotel is way the fuck too far from the Festival action to walk; must take non-existent buses to the cinemas: no problem.â€
â€œSleep on the floor on a soggy yoga mat made of discarded Styrofoam–no problem.â€
â€œOf course, I’ll share the room payment equally with my three roommates, even though everyone else will have real beds.â€
â€œUse towels the size of wash cloths: why should that bother me?â€
â€œSome of you snore and fart? It’s all expected.â€
It’s all about having fun at SXSW; and I want to be a fun, indie-film, partying, low-stress, adaptable, happenin’ chick.â€
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.
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: â€œFor 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.â€
â€œWhat do I owe you for the first three days?â€
They stared at each other.
They stared at me.
Clarissa started choking and gasping.
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.