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it really is the little things sometimes

parties aren’t always intended to be just for fun. for shyer guests, and those who can see through the broader pomp and circumstance, the rigamarole that is in some ways deemed necessary is often painful to endure. mentally speaking. usually.

for a while, gatherings intended to be celebrations became visually as important as the work that brought people there to begin with. perceptually, anyway. those who know always know, though, which is thankfully more obvious now. but with that shift in purpose, cottage industries for services ranging from wearable accoutrements to chauffeured travel offerings sprouted up all over. seemingly overnight.

sorting through that mêlé was its own orchestration of landmines to navigate as affiliations determined allowed users. the little that remained or could be reserved was coveted. and with so many more of us employed, we inadvertently muddied the waters as we tried to keep our jobs. it wasn’t long before the smoothest talkers and biggest promisers became the ultimate tool to have access to in some circles. and that cycle of desire and access started all over with each supposed advantage.

as the visibility grew, though, each of us had more responsibilities to be aware of. to keep in the front of our minds. those who didn’t were hit with the accompanying sore ramifications eventually, if not immediately. when someone didn’t get a part they thought they were a shoe-in for. or when rumors were spread around town about certain actions in certain moments. before we all had camera phones, more could be gotten away with. the secrecy that veiled the legitimate goings on seemed untouchable. opaque. but in the more gossipy circumstances, that was usually only for a short while.

awards shows were the highest echelon for such unexpected shenanigans. what would be worn dominated actions for months leading up to the nights in question. holds were placed on desired hair and makeup teams farther out than the nomination announcements in hopes that they would be needed for the night of. everyone in town wanted an invitation, but rules kept in-person seating to a hand-picked minimum.

the rest of us typically ended up standing in tents scavenging for water and whatever free sustenance happened to be nearby when the hunger pangs took over. we waited in hopes of feeling needed for the momentary opportunity of a reaction in the press. empty lives were blatant before we all could text to avoid uncomfortable interaction.

as the categories wound down, the numbers of on-site worker bees dwindled. those of us remaining collected mostly by the companies we worked for as the winners of the final categories were called out for the telecasts. the energy waned as the more experienced watch dogs shuffled away from the chaos of the momentary festivities. we would all learn when we could most easily depart eventually, but the hope that always remained present was buoying. we almost always knew the outcomes, but you truly never really know until it’s spoken.

like unevenly matched baseball games with more boring innings, crowd attendance was many times predicated by the excitement garnered in the rooms backstage. odd pairings that would never be designed by studios for films could be seen all the time as notable people coalesced for presentations of winners. to rehearse, or rewrite not-great scripts together. in hindsight, without the pressure to represent the winner, being corralled into a so-called “publicist tent” was worth it for that alone.

what was said during group bathroom breaks was made public knowledge almost immediately. actors quickly became aware of that, and those in the know acted always as if they were on a set break wearing a hot mic. at any time, anything overheard could be made into fodder for something. by anyone. and with as many comedians around as there were, and with all the other uncomfortable personalities present, it often was. as much as we feigned otherwise, privacy in real-life application was non-existent.

when fewer cared about what they thought they could glean from the myriad nuances they witnessed, the distinctions of who was who weren’t as needed. hair was let down among trusted confidants. shepards at such gatherings were mostly discreet. but those who had been burned stayed away from the tempting flame, and discomforts that required separation to address were kept at bay as long as possible.

at the parties, sometimes only the leads were promised access. but all involved wanted to go. the pack mentality was strong, and while they didn’t always accommodate the full group up front, networks relished in their access to fuller casts.

one year, the tertiary cast members of a popular, award-winning television show saw the line of cars ahead of us for a party after a show and panicked. the men of the group remained at a quieter level of their elevated vainness, but were still relatively unconcerned. a strong fear swept over the women, though, and murmurs of early call times and wanting to head home to avoid the hubbub were heard above the din of the shouting vehicle directors in the nearby drop-off area.

the automatic, uncensored, offer of my nearby apartment for a bathroom stop fell out of my mouth before i thought any better. i lived alone, and had had a recent visit from my housekeeper, but they were all far above my life pay grade. that i could get access for and drive a few of them to an event that my top-of-the-call-sheet client was attending was one thing. but knowing none of them well enough to feel comfortable having them in my home was something else altogether.

the sense of relief that washed over the camp was immediately palpable. and with that, the off-hand mention became a decision cemented for me. ball gowns and tiny purses ascended the stairway to my single working-gal apartment. it looked as if mary tyler moore got stuck entertaining on an episode of her sitcom. but far faster than it would have taken at the party venue, we were done and heading back more comfortably to the red carpet.

photos that night were filled with genuine smiles. it was as if the cast had realized they’d won all over again. as the lines for restrooms and mirrors spilled into the event room, our earlier detour became an inside joke among the group. they were now reunited in full, and a few of the most notable cast members thanked me effusively as they watched other groups be dismantled by bathroom breaks.

awards aside, perhaps that night we all took away a most valuable experience. what makes things easier for others doesn’t always need to be overly comfortable for us. but doing what’s best for all one is usually what ends up being the best for all involved. and small grievances are but a tiny price to pay for group peace. for restrooms or otherwise.


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