ND Shoot 5: gold medal for totally sucking balls

It’s not been the most awesome of times for me here, these last few days. Some inter-crew tension, some standard-issue depression, some subpar performance by yours truly. (dropping a $1500 timecode slate onto a concrete floor, more likely than not breaking the crystal and thereby fucking up our sync for the rest of the shoot) (forgetting that my 12-year old passenger gets carsick, driving around with her in the backseat for god knows how long, then spending 20 minutes on the side of the road rubbing the poor girl’s back and holding my iced redeye to her head) To top it all off, I got my period and, as of right now, I’m officially out of tampons. Shit is fantastic. Really.

Let’s backtrack, though, because tonight was probably the most awesome thing to happen since that dude slipped roofies into my shitty Red Bull and Barton’s. Oh wait, that was just, like, two weeks ago. ha.

After waking up at 6:50am and spending 10 hours behind the wheel of our rental van, I took a break for a few hours while the rest of the crew ran off to get twilight exteriors. I did laundry, caught up on some work, ran on the treadmill (OMG, I KNOW, TREADMILL WHAT??), and took a shower to try and slough off my oil slick of discontent. The boys picked me up at 9-ish for dinner at a restaurant that I’d thought looked promising but turned out to be an almost complete disaster. $200 and 90 minutes later, we headed out to look for night shots.

The thing about night shots, when everyone’s been up since 7, is that everyone is really fucking tired. 12:30am found me flooring it up route 94 to get to the next fucking location so we could all get the fuck to fucking bed already and all of a sudden I’m passing a state trooper and we’re all like, “oh fuck”.

So I pull off the highway, and of course the cop follows me with his lights on, and of course I start freaking out in my head because I’m getting pulled over with three other people in the car, which is embarrassing, and I’m the only female, which is fine except for how I’ve been kind of on this weird feminist kick about power and equality and shit like that ever since that night with the roofies. And, in case I haven’t mentioned, I’m on the rag, which always makes everything better.

While Pusser is rooting around for the registration and I’m praying I haven’t forgotten my license at the hotel, this corn-fed Doug Heffernan looking Statie saunters up to my window and asks me to step out of the car. I’d had exactly one glass of wine and one-half of a Hendrick’s and Tonic at dinner, which was TWO HOURS ago. Forget about “drunk”, I wasn’t even BUZZED.

But I dare you to swish your wedge heels into a cruiser and maintain any semblance of sound-minded composure. Suddenly, things like counting backwards from 87 to 65 and reciting the alphabet in monotone (NO SINGING, specifically, was his order) become more complicated than you might imagine. Then the cop whips out a pen, tells me to take off my glasses, and follow the tip with my eyes. It’s then that I know I’m fucked. The pen thing, I’d recently learned, is a cheap way for police to decide you’ve failed a sobriety test and force you to blow a breathalyzer.

“Are you nervous?” he asks, after grilling me on our whereabouts (just up in Moorhead), what exactly I mean by “shooting” (filming a four-year documentary for PBS), how much longer we’ll be in town (until Saturday the Sixth of September, which I challenge ANYONE to say without a lisp or a slur), if I’m the most sober person in the car (what, am I psychic?) and whether or not we are all of age (I’m the youngest by seven years, dude, so YOU do the math). Then he tells me to reach into his glove compartment and grab the black zippered pouch and one of the white tubes.

Suddenly, in addition to “nervous”, I’m defense-lawyer indignant. And also, shortly, dispensing with quotation marks.

I’m not blowing it.

Didn’t you hear what I said? If you refuse the breathalyzer, it’s a mandatory loss of license for 25 days, then a suspension for 1 year!

Is that, like, a state law or something?

Yes. You refuse the breathalyzer, you lose your license.

So what about in Massachusetts?

You lose your license, you lose your license. Everywhere.

And what if I blow over the limit?

You go to jail.


Until you post a two thousand dollar cash bond.

(in my head: calculating the amount of money in my bank account, plus the money in the company bank account, which equals a ton of cash that’s totally inaccessible, since there are NO BANK OF AMERICAS ANYWHERE NEAR FARGO.)

And then?

We take your license, you get a lawyer and a court date.

So I have to fly back here from Massachusetts? For court? IN FARGO???

Listen, are you going to take the breathalyzer or not?

At this point the cop is straight up pissed, so I borrow a few trembling minutes to consider the depth and breadth of my universally shitty options. It’s 12:45, and I haven’t drank anything for hours (including water, which is unfortunate, since all this intimidation and paralyzing fear has given me the WORST cottonmouth) but I’m always bad at playing the odds, and, on the whole, things haven’t been aces-up for me lately. I don’t really have any choice.

“OK, fine.”

He holds the thing to my lips, and I ready myself for the worst.

It takes me three tries to get a satisfactory read – apparently you need to “do it you’re blowing up a balloon”, or so the cop is shouting in my ear. I’m trying to read the LED digits out of the corner of my eye, and he’s twisting it away, telling me to BLOW BLOW BLOW and now *I* am getting pissed, because seriously I was only SPEEDING and I’ve had a shitty fucking couple days and I just want to go home and this is really such an perfect cap to everything I could just piss myself with joy.

In the end, I was way under .08, so me and my wedge heels stalked back to the van with a bruised ego and a twelve dollar ticket. A Twelve. Dollar. Ticket.

The boys went on to film more late-night billboards and whatnot, but I opted out of their caravan in favor of slipping into my pajamas and hitting the bottle of Ketel One in my hotel room.

Talk about awesome – my pajamas, along with the rest of my clothes, were locked in the guest laundry, inaccessible until 9am. So ND shoot five day seven takes the win for suck.

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