This has been a hell of a week. We are in production on the episode I wrote, so every minute of the day I’m learning something. I’m very lucky that my co-workers don’t treat me like the new kid, and make me feel very much a peer. With that comes the added responsibility of not acting like the new kid. Sometimes I worry I look way too green. I’m still learning how everything works, what the expectations are, and when I’ve made a much bigger deal out of something than I need to.

A much-needed pep-talk ensued midway through the week. “I get it,” he said. “The perspective is all off. You’re in a room writing boob jokes while your friends are evacuating Houston. That’s fucked up.”

The perspective can be really off when you’re working sixty to seventy-hour weeks. I’m home for just a few hours a day and when I’m home I’m exhausted and while this is exactly what I want to be doing, it doesn’t make it less challenging. It’s Sunday afternoon, and this is the first time since Friday at four in the morning that I wasn’t either asleep or eating a meal. I wake up, eat, go back to sleep, wake up, go eat, and then go back to sleep. I’ve watched a bit of television. Yesterday I didn’t go near my computer. It was so weird, not typing for one day, that just now when I sat down to type this, for a second it felt like I wasn’t at my own computer. I even looked to make sure. Everything feels off because I’m crazy tired and my brain is focused on deadlines and scripts and questions I still need to ask, as well as people I’m worried about, thinking about, missing, or breaking plans with.

And then: more perspective.

My friend Douglas and I have known each other since we were eleven. We find a way to contact each other twice a year — his birthday and mine. Tuesday was his birthday, so I called him on my way to work to catch up.

[scripty]
DOUG
You’re in the car.

PAMIE
I am.

DOUG
I can tell. Either that, or you’re inside an airplane.

PAMIE
I’m driving to the office.

DOUG
Miss Los Angeles, driving while on her cell phone.

PAMIE
That’s not really a Los Angeles thing.

DOUG
Okay. But you’re stuck in traffic.

PAMIE
That’s because it’s raining. We had this freak storm last night. It rained all night. It’s still raining.

DOUG
Bad?

PAMIE
No, not really bad. But we don’t normally get rain this time of year, and there was all this lightning and thunder. So I didn’t sleep much.

DOUG
Yeah.
[/scripty]

And then here comes the awkward pause, because the first question I wanted to ask, because we know each other from my years in Mississippi, was: “Is your family all okay?”

So Douglas laughs and then tells me about the people in his family who lost their homes, and what it was like to go down there to clean up.

[scripty]
PAMIE
Wow.

DOUG
Yeah.

PAMIE
I’m glad everybody’s okay, though.

DOUG
Yeah. So, you guys got some rain?

PAMIE
Jeez. I’m an asshole.

DOUG
No, it’s funny. I don’t know how to delicately ask you this, but you said you were driving to the office. Did you… are you… like an office job? Hard times?
[/scripty]

I tell Douglas about the sitcom, and update him on the past six months of my life. It has considerably less damage or natural disasters in it. We talk about television, books, and Mexican wrestling. This continues until it’s time for me to pull into the lot. I put Douglas on hold because there’s a man standing in front of the alley to my building. He’s a valet, and he needs to take my keys. Douglas overhears me asking the man repeatedly how I’m going to get my car later on that day, sixteen hours later, when my workday is done, it’s late at night, and I want to go home. The man promises he’ll be around with my keys, but Invasion is shooting all day in front of my office, and I cannot park near my building. Instead, he will park my car somewhere on the lot (he will not tell me where), and promises someone will give me my keys later, somehow.

I get back on the phone, grumbling and cursing.

[scripty]
DOUG
Ha.

PAMIE
You just overheard me arguing with a studio lot valet because they need to move my car away from my personal parking spot because Invasion needs to shoot a hurricane scene in front of my office.

DOUG
And I have to say, aside from the devastation and horrible events I just witnessed down in the gulf… that was kind of the most exciting thing I’ve listened to in a while.

PAMIE
Douglas, I am mortified with my reality.

DOUG
Seriously, Pam. It all sounds pretty cool.

PAMIE
Anyway, it’s raining.

DOUG
Yes, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

PAMIE
Fake hurricane is coming.

DOUG
Good thing the valets are there to evacuate your car to higher elevation.

[mumbling sounds]

DOUG
What are you doing now?

PAMIE
I don’t want to tell you.

DOUG
Tell me.

PAMIE
[sigh]
Choosing my lunch order.

DOUG
I love it!

PAMIE
I feel terrible.

DOUG
I think it’s awesome. Do you have to get to work?

PAMIE
Kind of.

DOUG
Talk to you when you’re thirty-one.
[/scripty]