I didn’t like him. How could I? He was my least favorite personality type, so smug and sure of himself. When asked about work, I told people, “I’m surprised any of my co-workers could fit through the door, their egos are bigger than the doorway.” And his seemed bigger than the building itself.
His projects were always the “perfect” ones, the ones I “could learn from.” My projects always needed a little “tweaking,” in his estimation.
I admit, he had talent and was a bona-fide perfectionist. In other words: he was an artist. And there were times when I may not have been as patient with a project and chose the quicker route rather than trying to perfect it. But he was only a “perfectionist” not perfect and there were some things I did better than him. He just never admitted it.
One of my last nights at the job I had to work with him. I wasn’t very excited about the prospect but I had the consolation that it was my last night with him. After that night, I would never have to see him again.
We filmed a dance concert in Park City. It had been a long day, with a matinee and evening performance. We stayed in town all day rather than driving back and forth to Salt Lake City. After the last performance, I was tired. Two hours of any dance concert would drain me. I was tired physically from lifting the cameras and setting them up. But I was also exhausted mentally from concentrating on not missing anything important. This was four hours and the same thing twice!
I couldn’t get out of the building fast enough. Quickly I took my camera down and packed my stuff away. I was ready to be done with the day and with him for that matter. All during the performance I heard through my head set, “Zoom out, zoom in, pan left, you’re missing somebody, you’re over exposing, you’re under exposing.” I couldn’t do anything right while he did everything right.
We were almost the last ones out of the building by the time we carried our last load to the truck. I could see the truck; it was waiting for me, just waiting to carry me home to my bed. As we walked out of the building into the summer night, I noticed a girl, one of the dancers, leaning against a pillar. My heart sank. She was waiting for a ride which meant: one, nobody saw her perform; and two, nobody had picked her up yet. I wanted to offer her a ride, but knew that wouldn’t go over so well, two complete strangers offering a teenage girl a ride…with video equipment. Still, I felt sorry for her. She had just performed a routine which she practiced for weeks, maybe months, and not one person she loved saw her perform. After performing, I’m sure she was excited and bubbly with the other dancers. Now she stood outside in the dark, subdued and waiting.
I know I could be imagining a whole lot out of nothing. Maybe, she had a whole row of family at the matinee, maybe she was waiting for the instructor who was inside locking up, maybe she was waiting while her ride pulled up closer to the door so that she wouldn’t have to walk so far with her heavy bag. Maybe. But the look on her face told another story.
What words of comfort could I possibly share? I couldn’t even face her as I walked by but chose to lower my eyes so that she wouldn’t be embarrassed that I saw her there. Alone.
“You did great tonight,” I heard my co-worker’s voice. I knew he wouldn’t be talking like that to me so I looked up. He was looking at the girl. “You are on this video a lot tonight.”
She smiled and blushed slightly.
We walked to the truck and put our stuff in.
For someone with such a big ego, that was sure a nice thing he did. The action seemed incongruous with the person I knew. I realized, maybe it wasn’t about him knowing everything, maybe it was about him showing me how to do something more. Maybe he was only trying to help me expand myself.
Maybe, I doubt it though. Sure, he was egotistical…but he also happened to be a nice guy.