Recently I've been called a crisis junkie.
And I have to admit its a kind of a sexy accusation. And I also know that its true. This is not news to me. I do like a crisis. I operate at maximum efficiency in the face of catastrophe. My aim is sure. My hands are steady. During rehearsals for the Super Bowl Half Time Show at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, I was a wreck. I was the PSM (production stage manager), the head honcho. Under my command I had a Technical Director, 2 Stage Managers, 1 Costume Designer, a crew of about 50 Production Assistants, 200 dancers, and about 1,000 cast members including a team that was in charge of "cold fire."
Cold fire is the term used for stage explosives. I was also responsible for 4 tons of soft goods. I couldn't sleep at night, and when I did, in my dreams, I checked and re-checked all the pre-sets; all the props, costumes etc. that needed to be in place long before the football game started. On the day of the game,the cast and crew were housed in what looked like a jail beneath the stadium. But I had been there since seven in the morning. Checking and re-checking, just like my nightmares. My palms were sweaty. Often I'd go into the ladies' room and put my feet up, so that anyone searching for me couldn't locate my tell-tale red high top sneakers.
I wondered if I could handle the pressure. I wondered whether or not I would crack. Billy Joel walked by with Christie Brinkley. He looked like an Italian leprechaun next to her cool blond goddess. He was singing the national anthem. Finally half-time arrived. The show started, and I took to the seas with the grace of a swan. Every element of the show went off smoothly, perfectly. I was in perfect sync with the world around me. I was high on my ability. I never wanted it to end. Yes, it was strange to be in charge of a show that spanned an entire football field, and stranger even that the people in the stands weren't watching. This was strictly for the folks at home, watching it on TV.
Afterwards, I was so tired, I was like the living dead, a zombie. But dammit I was going to stay awake and go to the party on Ocean Drive. At about 2:00 a.m., someone offered to drive me home. But I lived just down the block, right on the ocean. Along the deep blue sea. I said no. I was afraid that if I stopped moving, even to sit in a car, I would pass out. I walked home as the sun came up. Slept for fourteen hours. For months I had the same dream over and over, checking and re-checking the soft goods. Soon this dissipated, along with my intricate knowledge of a football field.
So yes. I do like a crisis. I like the pressure. My mind is clear. My hands are strong. My nerves are steady. I feel most alive.
I am a crisis junkie.
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