So, remember the art instructor who scheduled me but forgot to write it down? I worked for that school again today – but not for him this time, since we cancelled his classes to make up for the unscheduled shift I worked last week. Today was just a sculpture class running from 12:30-1:45.
Except some school meeting caused them to push their class schedule around just for today, so they ended up wanting me in for one o’clock instead. And told me this at noon. This place is way the fuck out in the suburbs; it takes an hour to get there when transit all goes smoothly, which means I have to allow an hour and a half, really, in case of delays. When I got the call (from the art instructor dude from last time, for some reason, not the woman I actually worked for today) I was actually on the bus, three stops away from the school. A few minutes after I hung up with him, my phone dinged: it was an email from the sculpture teacher saying the same thing. So none of these people ever know what anyone else is doing, apparently, and did I mention they told me about this change half an hour before the class had been supposed to start? And this chick told me via email!!! Is she assuming that I live a ten minute walk from the school, or that everyone these days has a smartphone?
So I email the sculpture teacher back asking what room she’s in, because I haven’t posed for her before. She replied “It’s the sculpture room. Just ask the students.” Oh, so you can’t be bothered to give me the room number or even the vaguest idea of where the fuck I’m going? OKAY AWESOME THANKS.
1) Aside from the last two gigs I had at this school, I haven’t stepped foot in a high school since I was a student in one. And my high school days were pretty scarring; my peers were a bunch of vicious little assholes who were pointlessly mean to me all fucking day, every day. And in some ways I guess I never got over it, because I’m still kind of afraid of teenagers. I didn’t want to be wandering the halls of this high school looking lost and have to approach a kid to ask where to go. Asking for directions is like admitting vulnerability, and to admit vulnerability to a bunch of teenagers? Jeez, I might as well cut my finger and then go sit in a shark tank. I wanted to be able to stride in there with a sense of purpose and head right to where I was supposed to be. But I guess that wasn’t an option.
2) What the fuck is it with people never telling me anything? Seriously, every time I set up an appointment to model at a new place, I ask “Okay, so is there anything I should know? I have the address, but is the actual class on a particular floor or is there a room number or anything?” and usually the person will be like “No, it’s all straightforward” and then I’ll get there and it turns out I have to go around to the back door of the building and enter in a special buzzer code to get in and then the room I have to go to is through a six-mile maze of corridors. This high school gig – as I’ve mentioned – usually entails me posing for the very first class in the morning, sitting around twiddling my thumbs for a few hours, then posing for the very last class in the afternoon. The instructor showed me where the nearest teachers’ lounge was so I could hang out there during my down-time, and told me when lunch was and that he and some other teachers usually went out for food at that time and I was welcome to join. Then he left to go teach classes in parts unknown. He did not tell me where he would be or how to get in touch with him if I needed something. He did not poke his head into the lounge at lunch to ask if I wanted to come out for food with his people. He did not tell me that the classroom where I’d posed in the morning would be locked for the next few hours so I could not access the bathroom therein. He did not tell me where any other bathroom was. He did tell me that if I left the lounge I needed to close the door behind me – which would lock automatically – so that students wouldn’t get in and mess with stuff. Great.
You know that final scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds? Birds have been randomly and horribly attacking people throughout the entire course of the film, but then at the end (if memory serves) they just…stop, and congregate all over the ground. A shellshocked Tippi Hedron – who’s just seen flocks of birds gouging people to death with their beaks – walks from the house where she’s been hiding out to her car. Walks through all these birds that are sitting silently on the ground. My description probably isn’t doing it justice but it’s a very tense moment.
I arrived at the high school during lunch break, so the kids were everywhere – many of them sitting on the actual floors of the hallways so that I had to walk the narrow path between them. I felt like Tippi Hedron. Most of the kids seemed pretty okay, though; not the eye-gouging type. I think I might have heard some of them whispering about me amongst themselves or otherwise reacting to my presence, but for the most part they ignored me.
I hung out in the office for twenty minutes to kill that unforeseen extra time til class, then asked the receptionist how to get to the sculpture room. She gave me surprisingly vague directions for someone who worked there and was an articulate adult. Okay, fine. I went out and went right, as she’d indicated, and kept going and going until I was at a loss. Then I asked a kid where the sculpture room was. Turned out I was right in front of it.
The sculpture teacher seemed like she hated the kids in her class. Also, the kids in her class were kind of shitheads compared to the ones in the dude’s art class there. I kind of think her kids were shitty because she was such a condescending twatwaffle (especially since a good chunk of them were in both classes and didn’t act like hooligans in the other one…) but who knows. At any rate, they were loudly talking through the whole class, despite her repeatedly telling them to pipe down and once even making a huge speech about how it’s “disrespectful to the model” to talk so much. And I sat there, in my chair which was set on top of a table in the centre of the room, wanting to cringe because dude, if you don’t want them talking then own it, don’t use me as an excuse (I don’t actually care if they wanna talk, as long as they’re not talking about me). But I couldn’t cringe or even allow my face to register any emotion because everyone was looking at me. Which for once isn’t paranoia talking; my actual job was to be looked at.
Aside from the stress of the teacher constantly yelling at everyone, it was a totally easy job. I just sat in a chair for an hour or so. I got to wear clothes and I didn’t even have to sit super duper still because the students were only sculpting my head.
Afterward, I went and found the art instructor guy, who had to give me a piece of paper to take to the office and give them so I’d get paid. I hadn’t gotten paid for the last time I’d come in – the time it turned out he hadn’t scheduled me but had me work anyway – because the secretary in charge of that stuff wasn’t there, so today I’d be getting paid for those two classes and the sculpture class: $150.
I think I mentioned before that the whole $50/class thing is new: it used to be $35/class but the instructor bid to have it raised to compensate for the inconvenience of having to come in all day and sit through all that down time. He said the admin people were kind of freaking out about it, too, and didn’t seem to understand why he’d asked the fee to be put that high. And indeed, when I gave my requisition form to the secretary at the front desk, she went all deer-in-headlights and said she had to call some bigwig to get permission to cut the cheque. But the bigwig wasn’t reachable. And so she told me that when I come in tomorrow she’ll pay me for both days. She’d fucking better.
Here’s the thing: the art instructor offered me $50 per class (with the unfortunate downside of some boring-as-fuck down-time in between). I accepted those terms. The professional thing for the office to do would be to fucking pay me (they have my slip of paper signed by the instructor that says $150; it’s obvious that someone who works there told me I would get paid this amount) and take up any issues with the art instructor behind the scenes. Don’t get me involved in this bureaucratic bullshit that has nothing to do with me. I didn’t ask for the fee to be set so high; I didn’t do anything wrong; I just agreed to do a particular job at a particular rate, came in, did my job well, and now want what was promised to me. If the instructor somehow made promises he shouldn’t have, or if the admin people are too stupid to remember that the model fee went up – none of that is my fault. PAY ME NOW AND SORT IT OUT LATER.
I don’t want to cut off all chances of working there again, since they pay a lot more than most other gigs, but if there’s more bullshit tomorrow I may start getting a bit testy. Modelling is my fucking job. I have rent to pay. As of tomorrow they’ll owe me a full $300. I promise you it’ll do more good sitting in my bank account than in theirs.