The Errand

Here is one of the short films I created for my Video Production 3 class. Kirk was here during pre-production through filming and enthusiastically helped me out — a lot. I owe him credit for the film’s premise and much of the cinematography.

Some of the requirements for the assignment included:
1) Two minute length (no longer, no shorter)
2) Two characters or less
3) A character must eat something
4) Lighting must be an important focus

“The Errand”

I’m 22

Yesterday, I turned 22. And then, once again today. Yesterday I got up and walked into the living room to where my flatmates wished me happy birthdays. Alice gave me a box of Cadbury chocolates and a gorgeous, colorful bunch of flowers. Today I hopped online to discover my Facebook friends in the western hemisphere had drowned my profile page with birthday wishes – be they friends who actually remembered that October 14th was my birthday or the more likely scenario: they signed onto the social dot com monstrosity to find a reminder conveniently informing them of the day’s minor significance. They then responded accordingly by dumping the hackneyed wish onto my ‘wall’ with some keystrokes and couple of clicks. How nice of them.

I don’t mind. Everyone’s so busy these days that Facebook messages have become the new Hallmark greeting cards. And if there were no Facebook or internet, I might not have received any happy birthdays at all, except of course from my Omi, who uses snail mail as often as the information superhighway, despite her ever-improving tech savvyness.

So, whether it was via Facebook, Skype, iChat, email, or an old-fashioned paper product requiring a stamp, thank you all very much for the Happy Birthdays.

A Sunday Sail

My destination, Lake Ngaroto, rested twenty minutes drive south of Hamilton, nestled in a valley surrounded by Waikato’s sheep peppered hills. I’m thankful for the weather; it has granted the countryside its mercy on this Sunday, setting fluffy clouds afloat in a light blue sky. Windows open in my ’93 Toyota Corona, I rounded the last bend of the gravel road. A few cars with empty trailers sat beside a two-story boathouse. In between keeping my eyes on the road, I caught glimpses of the lake’s glinting surface. After the gravel ended, I drove further up a grassy slope. A handful of masts popped into view, sprouting from boats of various styles and sizes. A bunch of kids and some teenagers raised flapping sails and tangled with rigging, accompanied by the supervision of a few adults. I pushed open the car door and stood on the hill, staring at the lake. Excitement darted through me. I might get to sail today.

I’ve been aching to go sailing again ever since I finished my one credit sailing course at MSU last fall semester. I approached the group, introduced myself and confirmed I was in the right place.

“Like sailing, do ya?” offered one older gentleman.
“Oh yes!” I replied. One of the women, Linda, said I’d probably be able to crew for Evan, a high school boy who at that moment was hauling a boat out of the shed.

“Gonna sail in that?” asked another guy, probably in his forties.
I looked down at my sweatshirt, jeans and tennis shoes. “I suppose so… I have some sandals in the car…”
“You’ll be soaking in a jiffy,” laughed the first man.
“Oh, well um…” I stuttered, slightly embarrassed, wanting to say, well, this is what my classmates and I wore sailing back in Michigan.
“I’ve got an extra pair of board shorts and a jacket in my van.” And with that, Christine had known me for just two minutes and was already loaning me her clothes. Oh, and not to mention the fact that I’m a foreigner. Pure-hearted Kiwi hospitality.

After swapping my street clothes for the sailing ensemble, I walked down to the bank where Evan was securing the shrouds. I helped him attach the boom to the mast, and then tied off a couple of lines with figure eight knots while straining to remember anything more that I had learned last year about rigging a sailboat.

No matter, we were out on the water before I had time to track down anything in the cobwebs of my mind. Evan asked me if I knew what I was doing. I told him, yeah, mildly. I crouched up near the mast, grabbed a hold of the jib sheet and trimmed the sail. Every now and then Evan would have to tell me to “ease it out” or “trim it back in”. I could perform a decently graceful tack – for the most part. I was without shoes and therefore without traction. Once or twice my foot slipped out of its braced position and I fell into the bottom of the boat, a muddled heap of arms and legs.

We zig-zagged across the lake, keeling hard and getting soaked from the heavy spray. The wind was warm and gusty, compelling us to constantly lean out over the water and then shift our weight back in near the centerboard.

I smiled. When I didn’t have to concentrate on tacking, I could relax slightly and enjoy the feeling of flying over the water. The lake was pretty, the sky bright… and then we began to keel over, hard. I tried to lean back farther, but all I achieved was standing up taller. I looked back in one desperate moment trying to figure out how… but, “Oh noo…” was all I could come up with. The main sail hit the water and I fell off the top of the boat right smack into the middle of sail, wrapping myself up in the lines as I went. “Oh crap!” I yelled, shocked at the briskness of the water. And then, I started laughing. It was the first time I had ever capsized! The wind had blown us flat over. So cool. It was actually pretty fun to fall off the boat! I was totally elated.

I was drenched and shivering, but my day was fulfilled.

The Persian

“Oh no!” cried Alice. “Now we’ve lost him…”
“Under the bed, huh?” I said.

Last week, in an attempt to make the most of my free time, I decided to go to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to see if any fuzzy little creatures needed a foster parent. When I called a few days beforehand, I spoke with Christine, the foster care coordinator, who told me they’d probably need someone to care for kittens quite soon. That morning she called back, saying she didn’t have kittens, but instead, a two year-old persian cat needing foster care.

He’s been shaved because his fur was so matted he couldn’t walk, Christine informed me. I’ll come in right away, I said. Couldn’t walk? I thought. Good grief, that’s sad. Who would neglect their pet so badly?

I walked in, and the woman at the desk instructed me to go on through to the back. I introduced myself to the first person I saw. “Hi! My name’s Lauren, are you Christine?”

“I am! Good to meet you. And this is the kitty you’ll be taking.” She lifted a blanket that was covering a pet carrier. Inside a scared, shaking, squished-faced cat seemed to glare at me out from under furrowed brows. Hmm. Poor thing.

Christine began gathering everything I’d need to take care of the cat. Cans of food, a litter box, kitty litter, a hair brush, stacks of newspaper, and a little cat sweater. “Put this on him if he seems cold.” The cat was a he, and he didn’t have a name. “Should I give him a name?”

“Sure! Yes, give him a name. Are you OK with this? I mean, foster care, you just seem…”

“What? Oh, of course, yes! I wish I could adopt, but I can’t, so this is the next best thing!” What the heck kind of expression did I have on my face? Man I need to work on being discrete. Okay, well, the cat did look pretty odd. It wasn’t the most adorable thing in the world, but it was definitely in need of some care and love.

And so, I took him home.

“Oh my god… that’s the cat?!” said Libbee. Yes, that is the cat. After I opened the door to his carrier, he darted out into the middle of the room and froze. He looked up around at us all, desperately jerked his head from side to side in search of a hideout, spotted my open bedroom door, and like a flash he vanished under my bed.

“And that is the end of that,” laughed Alice. After attempting many coaxing sessions and moving my bed sereral times for better reach, I had enough of the cat playing hermit. And the sneezing! It would curl up under my bed amongst all the dust bunnies and then snort and sneeze the entire night. He already had breathing issues because of his squished nose. The vet who had taken care of him at the SPCA said that breathing problems were seen often in persians. One morning, crabby and achy after next to no sleep, I decided, no more.

Libbee walked past my room into the kitchen. “What are you doing?” she implored.
“Taking the legs off my box spring.”
“What for? You know that’s not good for your bed. Doesn’t let the air circulate through the mattress.”
“Oh? Well it will be good for my sleep. And the cat’s health.”

After that the cat started sleeping in the bed of blankets I made for him under my desk chair. He quit sneezing so much too. And my flatmate Jeremy gave him a name. Barry.

Barry Photos