Earlier this week, I was asked to photograph a luncheon of some of New Job's head honchos meeting with delegates from Japan at a local mansion. I was told lunch would be over at 1:30 so to be on the safe side, I decided to arrive at 1:15 to scope out a decent picture locale and to allow for the trek over (in 90+ degree heat I might add).
Mid-video editing I glanced over at my desk clock and, oh crap, it was 12:52 and the mansion was several blocks over. I jumped up from my desk, grabbed the camera and detachable flash and assembled the camera en-route to the elevator.
I was told there would be a butler (A BUTLER!) expecting me and that he would show me to the room where the luncheon was being held. However, when I arrived at the mansion the front door was merely cracked and there was no butler to be seen.
Keeping calm, I tip toed down the long hallway until I began to hear voices in the room at the end of the hall. 'Perfect, this is it' I thought. Except, upon closer eavesdropping, the voice I heard was giving a history of the mansion and the former governor who'd called the place home.
"Oh great, this is a school tour...I'm supposed to be photographing Japanese delegates and presidents of big companies and I've got the room with the Girl Scout tour....where the F is this thing?"
Apparently my standing outside the barely open door caught the eye of the tourguide who said to his audience "And that will have to do because I think your photographer is here."
I looked at my watch, it was only 1:15! I thought I was EARLY but they're finished? That mean's technically....I'm LATE!
I nervously walked into the room where dozens of Japanese business men smiled at me, and I attempted as best I could to avoid eye contact with the Head Honcho's from New Job.
The Tourguide, who wound up being the Butler too, brought me a step ladder and Head Honchos herded the delegates over to a corner of the room for their photo session.
As the room was a touch on the dark side I quickly tested the light and shot a few test photos when I noticed the flash wasn't going off.
And that's when I remembered, per Boss' request, I store the flash sans batteries. My batteries were back at my desk, in the camera bag where I'd stashed them after the last photo assignment.
"Uhm excuse me, sir? You wouldn't happen to have any double A batteries I could borrow....I seem to have left mine," I quitely and quickly asked the Butler.
I nervously turned back to the corner where Head Honchos and Japanese Delegates were all standing, looking at me expectedly like "What kind of photographer is this?! Shouldn't she be taking the D*** picture now? We're hot, we're in suits and WE'RE BORED!"
Butler came back with two boxes of batteries and said "I don't know if these are any good but you're welcome to try."
Gee, thanks....because that doesn't make me look more like a prized idiot.
I quickly jammed the batteries into the flash, silently cursing myself and praying to God that I get a decent shot.
I once again turned back to my group of waiting Suits who were now coughing and chuckling uncomfortably.
Ok, I get it guys you've had your lunch and you're ready to get this picture over with so you can go....I'm sorry, I'm an idiot today.
Holding the camera I climbed up the three steps of the step ladder, careful not to flash too much leg or un-wrap the fold of my conservative black wrap dress. As I stepped up to the third step (a mere 2 1/2 feet of the ground, mind you) the room erupted in a unison "oooohhh" not totally unlike the aliens in Toy Story.
Panicked that I'd had a wardrobe malfunction or missed one of the Suits passing out from heat stroke or dropping dead from the sheer boredom of waiting for the photographer (me), I looked up to see that what they were Ooh-ing at was.....me.
Confused, I gave a few nervous giggles and tugged my dress closed just out of precaution.
"Don't fall" one of the Suits said.
It's not even 3 feet, you're OOOhing for THAT?
And just like that, whooosh, it started at my toes and took off to my head, I felt my face turn an embarrased
bright red Hot Pink.
"Alright everyone squeeze in and SMILE" I nervously said.
Click, Click, Click and.... No flash.
Screw it, I thought. You can fix it in photoshop, just take the damn picture and get OUT OF THERE!
"Oh, do you want me to turn up the lights, is it too dark in here" Butler asked.
"Uhm, yeah, that'd be great" ANYTHING to get more light in here and PLEASE God, let me be able to fix this in photoshop, I thought.
A few more clicks of the camera and I was done.
"Ok thank you everyone, that was great," I said, already planning my hasty exit.
But before I could begin my decent from the stepstool that apparently rivals Everest three of the Suits started toward me, arms outstretched with.....Cameras.
"Oh, you want pictures too?" DAMN
"Ok, and you, too? Oh and you Sir? Ok sure"
Back up Everest I went, two cameras in each hand, plus one around my neck.
"Let's see how well I can juggle, shall we?" I said, expecting the room to at least chuckle a little.
YOU COULD HEAR CRICKETS....they stared at me blankly again as if to say "just take the damn picture, lady"
I quickly hung the cameras off each of my arms like a giant, camera Christmas Tree and snapped the fastest round of pictures I could manage.
"Alright that oughta do it, thank you all, have a wonderful time in Sacramento,"
And with that I hopped down from Everest (to another chorus of Oooohs) and bolted.
I'm pretty sure I left skid-marks.
At least those Japanese Delegates will have a fun story about the dingy, camera juggling California photographer......