When I was performing in the mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, I also had other duties outside of acting. One of those jobs was door duty. It basically meant that you ran the box office in the vestibule, helped the busses figure out where to park, and gave everyone the “Inside the house the year is 1891” speech. Not a bad job, really. Until the Day of Doom.
The Day of Doom started out like any other day. I sold tickets and binged on donuts. And then a bus started to pull into the driveway from the wrong direction! All busses had to pull in from the right. There was no room if you tried to come from the left. So I sprinted up the driveway. And by sprinted, I really mean dashed (you can’t sprint in a corset). But by the time I reached the end of the drive, the bus driver had the door side of the bus in a bush, so I couldn’t get in to tell him to stop. I waved my arms, trying to tell him not to move and that I would go get the manager to tell him how to get out of the bush without making my morning any worse. But the bus driver ignored me, putting on the gas, knocking over the stone border and driving across the manicured lawn, leaving wide wounds of mud. I dashed back up to the house just in time to see the idiot driver pull the bus up under the portico, scraping the roof and leaving scars of yellow paint.
At this point I wanted to cry. The idiot had killed the bush, broken the stones, ruined the grass, and maimed the portico. I made another actor take the school group, who had had a near death experience on their way to the mansion, into the house for their tour while I went to get my boss. I knocked on his door and timidly said, “Umm Patrick, the bus driver ran into the bush, cracked the stone, destroyed the lawn, and pulled up under the portico even though he was too tall. So there might be a little yellow in places now.”
Much to my boss’s credit, he calmly replied, “All right. That’s fine. Just go get his insurance information.”
So, I dashed down the stairs to talk to the idiot driver. But he had already pulled the rest of the way under the portico, leaving more yellow paint, and driven away. I talked to the head of the group, who was appalled that their driver had almost gotten all of her students killed. And though she was trying to contact the bus company, she didn’t know anything about their insurance.
So, I went back up to my boss. “Umm, Patrick. So the bus driver scraped more of the portico and left.”
My boss put his head in his hands and took a very deep breath. Which I appreciated, as it was probably that deep breath that kept him from ringing my neck. “The driver has to come back for his students in an hour. We can get his information then.”
So, I went downstairs and watched the driveway like a hawk, ready to pounce on the idiot driver as soon as he showed his scraped up yellow bus. The group finished their tour, and the bus was still not there. They waited fifteen minutes. Still no bus. They called the bus company. No answer. So now we were stuck with a dead bush, a cracked stone, trenches in the grass, a portico that could have been the yellow submarine’s distant cousin, and a group of abandoned school kids.
So, I went back to my boss. I opened the door, and he spun around. “If you say ‘Umm, Patrick’ one more time, you’re fired.”
I took a deep breath, considered my options, and said, “Soooo, Patrick.”