Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of Projection, Lights & Staging News. CLICK HERE to signup now!
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

Six Things that I Don’t Do Well

Chris Lose • January 2021LD at Large • January 13, 2021

Illustration by John Sauer / www.johnsauer.com

Since March, I have been out of my township one time. I have been at home more in 2020 than the previous five years combined. I treasure every moment at home, but it is driving me bonkers. All of my shortcomings as an adult are being exposed. My weaknesses are being brought to light for all to see. The same traits that are celebrated on the road are crippling me at home. The size and scope of my world is crushing in on me like the trash compactor in Star Wars Episode IV. Without a 3-CPO and an R2-D2 to shut down all of the compactors on the detention level, I fear that my soul will be crushed along with the garbage chute monster. In an attempt to commiserate with my fellow rebels, here is a list of the things that I have recently realized that I am really bad at.

  1. Getting a consistent eight hours of sleep. My natural sleep cycle allows me to thrive on four to six hours of sleep for weeks on end. When the job is complete and the trucks are packed, I would fly home and get 16 hours of sleep for four days in a row. If you average it out over two weeks, I am getting eight hours of sleep, but rarely would it be precisely eight hours per night. I realize that my schedule is not “doctor-recommended” or “clinically proven,” but the results speak for themselves. Being at home for an extended period of time is exposing my inability to set an alarm for exactly eight hours after I go to sleep and stick to it. This is becoming an issue because my kids’ school schedule is not willing to compromise with my night owl tendencies.
  2. Sleeping in the same bed night after night. I didn’t realize how much of an issue this was until I did a few experiments. At first, I thought it was just my sleep schedule. As it turns out, my brain and my body have become accustomed to sleeping in different beds around the world. My body needs beds with different firmness, sheet coverings and head space once in a while. I first discovered this when I got a full night’s sleep after falling asleep on the couch. The next night I successfully slept in my sons’ twin-size bunk bed. Tomorrow, I am going to try sleeping under the sink with the dishwasher cycle on. I think this kind of setting will best recreate my natural sleeping arrangements on the road.
  3. Following a regular schedule. I can wake up at four in the morning to be at work across town at five, no problem. I can do this as many times as is necessary to get the job done. However, waking up at seven o’clock day after day just because the school schedule is unwavering is really getting to me. Monday to Friday is so predictable and mundane. Wake up, make some breakfast, stare at some screen, lift the weight of the world, eat some food, brush some teeth, get some sleep. This kind of existence does not exist on the road. We are in different towns, different time zones, different countries, different cultures and different mindsets every day. That spice of life is what keeps us nourished. The bland table salt of forced home life is lackluster in comparison.
  4. Sitting in isolation. I love being alone when I want to be alone. I need to be alone for a day or two at a time. Nine months is too much. I start to lose my mind if I am in isolation too long. I am a social creature and I crave interaction. Being with coworkers, clients and friends is what makes life worth living. Being with my family is magical, but family has their limitations. Even being at FOH in a crowd of random people is necessary for my well-being. I don’t want to get to know each one of them personally, but I do want to sit in a room of like-minded individuals for a period of time and soak up their aura. I want to be surrounded by people who are excited to be in a room and experience the same message.
  5. Hockey momming. This part of adulting is brand new to me. I’m not good at it yet. My wife is a seasoned pro. It’s not that we have assigned gender roles, it’s just that the burden of driving the kids to hockey and dance has predominantly fallen in Sharon’s lap. My schedule didn’t used to allow for future activity planning. If the kids wanted to be doing two separate activities at the same time, one would have to compromise because we could not guarantee that both parents would be home at any one time. My schedule was hectic, to say the least. I could get a phone call at eight and be in another country the next morning. Now that my schedule is less volatile, I am able to commit to taking the kids to their activities. I love it, but I’m terrible at it. My kids are so lovably loud, and they leave messes everywhere. Sharon has had more time to accept the inevitable spills and lost gloves. I am still a novice. On the road, if someone leaves their passport at the lobby, you oil spot them and make them take a cab to the airport to catch up later. If my kids leave a glove behind, everyone turns around and we all endure the inconvenience. I’m not good at forgiving that kind of forgetfulness yet.
  6. Taking directions from people who don’t pay me to take directions. This has to be my most toxic trait. I don’t like being told what to do. I’m the boss and I tell people what to do. The only people who get to tell me what to do are the people who pay me to do what they need me to do. Usually, they have hired me to do something that I am really good at, and I want to do it for them. At home, people tell me what to do and they don’t pay me. They just expect that I will do things for them out of the goodness of my heart and a sense of duty. I get the craziest requests. “Will you put on my socks? Will you find my iPhone? Will you take out the trash?” These next-level tasks would normally come with an invoice and two-week terms.

‡‡         What Am I Good At?

We are all going through unprecedented times. We are all being asked to do things that are not in our nature. We got into the entertainment biz because we are social outcasts. We don’t fit in a cubicle, we don’t work eight hours, and we darn sure don’t give two shots about the opinions of bureaucrats in a suit. We are designed to put on shows. We need to find a way, sooner than later, to safely return to our profession and get back to what we are good at.

Chris is really good at reaching out to industry pros and including them in his podcast series. Check them all out at www.plsn.com/podcasts.

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!