Exy, being his normal good natured self broke the silence, “So, what’re we having for dinner today? I’m hungry already!”
I looked over and laughed, Exy was the only person who made me feel like I wasn’t such an outsider. I asked him about my per dium. “Dorothy gave me a bunch of money, she called it, per dium? She said it was for spending on food. Do you normally get spending money on top of what you’re paid?”
“Of course!” He exclaimed. “That’s one of the perks of the job!” I thought that one of the perks of the job would be say…oh I don’t know, TRAVELLING THE WORLD WITH JACKIE CHAN!!!
“Wow…that’s very nice of them.”
“Nice has nothing to do with it,” Paul chimed in. “Whenever you go filming anywhere, the production is responsible for taking care of you. They find you a place to stay and give you cash for food. It’s in their best interest to keep you happy. I mean how are you supposed to find a place in a city you’ve never been to? And if you do find a place, production is still responsible for your transportation to and from set. Now if you have a cast of even five performers, that’s a lot of transportation and organization. It’s much easier if everyone was in once place.”
“Oh…” I’d never thought about where actors and stunt guys stayed when shooting a movie away from home. I was only starting to learn about “the biz” but not just the biz, all of the behind the things stuff that you never see or think about! Then for some reason I asked Paul, “Are you married?”
“Yeah, I have two kids.”
“Is it hard being away from them?”
“I go where Jackie needs me to go. I don’t have much of a choice.”
“So you’ll go one whole month without seeing your family??”
“One month is lucky. Some shoots last as long as five months. I’ll fly them in sometimes for a week.”
I never realized being in the business could be so difficult. I mean being away from the woman that you love and moreover your own children for such long periods of time – it wouldn’t be just difficult on the individual but on the family too. Then I thought about my future, would I want to be without my wife for months at a time? Would I want my kids to grow up without a father for long periods of time?
“How about you?” I snapped out of my daze. I looked at Paul.
“What about me?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?” he asked.
“Me? No, no girlfriend.”
“Boyfriend?” Exy chimed in.
“What?! No! No, I’m not like that. I like GIRLS very much!!”
“So why’re you single?” Paul asked with a hint of mocking sarcasm.
“I…just haven’t found the right girl I guess…what about you Brad?” I said quickly eager to change the subject.
“I’m engaged,” he said flatly.
“Oh…that’s nice, for how long?”
“Wow that’s a long time, have you set a date yet?”
“Not yet.” Again, I couldn’t tell whether Brad was uncomfortable talking about the topic or whether he was just in a bad mood, or whether this was how he normally was. At any rate I dropped the subject. I sat there quietly as we drove still admiring how quaint the houses were as we drove by. We turned a corner and Paul said,
“Alright, we’re here.”