Last week I found myself in a brand new situation.
Sitting among several old guys waiting to audition for a teeny tiny role in a TV show. I tried to be supportive for my friend; the reason I was there. I really did try to read a magazine!
For openers, the role was initially for an old guy with a broken arm. I pride myself for authenticity when involved in make-up, props or costuming. This based solely on my long ago involvement in community theater. Four hand surgeries and one shoulder surgery in my personal repertoire qualifies me with expertise making an arm appear broken.
My choice of arm brace was narrowed down to the white one with velcro straps adjustable to a wide range of arms. Over that I wrapped a very wide ace type bandage, probably from one of my knee episodes. The “cast” looked fresh enough to come from any local emergency room. Slings, I have many but could only find a black one and a maroon one. My friend (AD) choose the maroon for contrast.
Upon entering the waiting room, old guys wearing slings or holding them. I watched as all eyes drifted to the authenticity of my work. AD was signing in, struggling to write with the cast when the casting director called for the next old guy. It was then she announced that the “broken arm thing” no longer applies, the role was dramatically changed.
As I began the task of removing the cast, the old guys couldn’t help but comment. One asked if I was an RN. My rapid retort was, “No. But I play one!” Which of course was a spontaneously ab libbed untruth; I couldn’t help myself. Another wondered if AD had purposefully broken his arm determined to land the role.
Some of the old guys may have known each other from previous casting/audition settings. They had no problem sharing their ages ranging from mid seventies to early eighties. Their next breath was the fact that they often lie about their age during casting/auditions. The oldest among them did, in fact, appear a few years younger.
The one with the magnificent head of wavy, beautiful silver hair had recently undergone surgery on his leg. While it was unclear what the original surgery entailed, something went terribly wrong. He ended up with MERSA and an amputated limb. Even with the use of a walker – tennis balls included on two ends – the prosthetic leg was a challenge for him.
His experience and extended hospital stay provided lively discussion on the merits and downside of Medicare and supplemental offerings. Prescription drugs opened up more comparisons. Decibel level of the conversation rose to the point that they were “scolded” for making too much noise when the casting director came out to call the next old guy to the inner room. Corny vaudeville type jokes began peppering the Medicare woes.
All the while, silver haired guy sat blotting/holding a paper towel over an actively bleeding wound on his left hand. Me, the ever active silent-observer-prepared-for-almost-anything person could no longer resit the urge to pull a band-aid from my purse.
I quietly crossed the room and handed him the band-aid without interrupting his soliloquy. He absently accepted my offering; fumbled to open it; exclaimed his pleasant surprise with the nearly transparent characteristic of the adhesive ends; finally applied it over the wound while expressing his gratitude. The conversation sequed to taking blood thinners.
I then felt obligated to mention that there were additional spots of blood on his left sleeve. He couldn’t hear my soft voice over his own. AD, with his trained projection style voice, reiterated the blood spots on sleeve situation. Silver haired prosthetic guy was completely befuddled as to the remote possibility of how the blood ended up on the sleeve’s upper portion.
That mystery was not solved but spurred spot removal tips from three old guys. Silver haired guy swears by hydrogen peroxide, AD proffered bleach (not on colors) or pre-spray stain remover; oldest among them threw out dabbing detergent on the spot and rubbing the fabric to create friction to remove stains.
One by one they left the waiting room. Silver haired prosthetic leg old guy was very animated but losing his groupies rapidly. One silent-but-observant not so old guy on the other side of the room, AD and me were the only people left with silver haired guy.
I had been politely quiet trying to read the magazine. His hair was so amazing, I had to comment and compliment him. That quickly turned to talk about shampoo. Not any shampoo. Although he was unable to recall the name of his product he knew it could only be obtained at Sally’s. AD mentioned his lack of success with letting his hair grow out to natural salt and pepper. The shampoo assortment he has tried in the past turns his hair yellow. So he colors it, but once again attempting to grow it, cut it, etc until it reaches natural tones.
During a conversational lull, AD suggested that silver hair prosthetic leg old guy get up – because he was next and it takes him a while to change positions – and stand just outside the door to the audition room. He did get up but opted to sit on a bench, slightly higher and easier to maneuver than the chair and a little closer to the door.
And then there were two; AD and me still flipping through the magazine. AD leaned within whisper range; asked me to take the magazine when we left so he could read it. I quickly pointed out that it was too big for my bag and suggested that he stick in under his shirt. He assured me that it was a complimentary copy – not to worry.
AD was up. My solitary time was short lived. A tall, marquee handsome, well tailored too young to be there for old guy role glided into the waiting area. The young woman sitting behind a semi-open wall at the far end of the waiting room quiet as a church mouse and previously unnoticed sprang to attentive, adoring mode to accommodate the obviously lead man handsome guy.
She provided him with several pages of script which he began to study while holding yellow highlighter. He must have felt an urge to speak. OMG, a joke even more corny that the old guys’ jokes. I couldn’t even force a laugh…bummer. Up until then the afternoon had truly been entertaining.