Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Take the bad with the good

This has not been the best week for my part-time job.

See, I got called by the security company I moonlight with this weekend. It wasn't to work the Joe Satriani concert, which was depressing. But it was two nights of work, not just one; so that was cool. But it was a monster truck show, which was kind of depressing. I'm just not a monster truck show kind of guy, I guess.

This was serious low-rent entertainment. It's possible that there were more people in the audience than teeth. It was in Tingley Colliseum, which seems a little strange (you know, cars, indoor events - just seems a little weird); the Friday night show was about 3/4 full, but Saturday was a capacity crowd - all 13,000 seats. The headliner was, of course, Gravedigger (he even has his own website:; he's one of the only monster trucks I've heard of besides the legendary (?) Bigfoot. If anybody cares (and I'm sure that somebody must), the other performers were el Matador (who happens to be extremely caucasian), the Pitbull (an Albuquerque native), King Krush, and the Ninja Turtle truck.

So no, before you ask, I didn't get to see Robosaurus or anybody like that. There were the monster trucks, some quadrunner racing, and the "street warriors" (time trials with modified street trucks).

The driver for Pitbull is apparently really into charity work - according to the announcer, he's going to sign his entire paycheck over to the Carrie Tingley hospital after the event, and he's going to spend the week with his truck and pit crew at the children's cancer ward at Carrie Tingley, too. So that's kind of cool. He also has hair down to the middle of his back, and (according to the announcer), cuts 10" of it off every year for Locks of Love.

Which would be easier to believe if I had 5" of hair right now, since I shaved my head six months ago. I'm thinking that he might cut off 10" whenever he gets it, but it takes a little longer than 12 months to get there. Unless he's just some kind of mutant freak.

The announcer was reasonably good - during the "Party in the Pit" on Saturday (where the trucks and drivers were all parked down there for a meet-and-greet with anybody who paid extra for their ticket), he lost his temper with kids climbing on the 5' tall tires, or on the brand new trucks that one of the local Ford dealerships had on display, but he had a steady supply of jokes and trivia for the crowd. (He did repeat the line "his truck runs on two squirrels and a mad cat" three times in two nights, but he didn't do too bad overall.)

I guess mechanical breakdowns are a pretty common part of the show - among the monster trucks, Matador's right rear wheel snapped off in a turn, and on Friday night, Pitbull misjudged a hill and ended up on his roof. One of the "street warriors" lost his driveshaft in a jump, and when they brought the front-loader to drag him out the blade punched into the right rear tire and punctured it. (That's what they use instead of tow-trucks: one big front-loader and one small one.)

The quadrunners were two teams of four riders: "Team Albuquerque" and "Team Las Vegas." And they tried to drum up enthusiasm by having a little wrestling drama going on. Team Las Vegas was, of course, the bad guys: they wore black jerseys, "rode dirty" (trying to drive the other team into the wall on the turns) and the team leader came out both nights and talked about how much he hated Albuquerque ("it smells," "this place sucks," all kinds of generic insults) and couldn't wait to take his money for winning and leave.

(Amazingly enough, Team Albuquerque won both nights - I couldn't have guessed that was going to happen. I wonder if Team Las Vegas ever gets to win. I guess they were doing too good Saturday night, because the team captain disqualified himself by cutting across the middle of the track to put himself in first place again. Crowd seemed to enjoy it, though.)

The crowd was reasonably easy to handle, especially when compared to, say, the crowd at Crue Fest. There was really only one issue: at the end of the show, part of the crowd decided to make their own way out of the arena, which would have put them too close to the trucks (insurance reasons - the people can't go close when the trucks are moving). So I had to drive them back and then keep them off those stairs. And, just to make things perfect, there's this drunk lady with her kids sitting nearby, and the son tells me proudly that he has a flag and waves it at me. I congratulated him and went back to dealing with the idiots. Apparently, the lady decided that I was supposed to give her son my entire attention, and starts screaming at me, "He was just trying to show you his flag! This is supposed to be all about the kids! Mr. Big Shot! Mr. Minimum Wage!"

So that was fun.

In the interest of keeping this crappy (and yes, minimum wage) job, I didn't bother to explain to her that, if I were doing it for the money, I would find another job. I do this because they pay me to see shows (admittedly, not one I particularly wanted to see, this weekend, but some of the concerts have been spectacular).

I also didn't ask (and I actually worked this speech up in my head, but held it back) whether, if this show actually was all about the kids, if this was how she wanted her particular kid to remember her, spewing drunken invective against people just trying to do their jobs. (Yes, the actual job that I was being paid for: in this case, her son was reasonably well-behaved, so I was allowed to ignore him; she, however, was falling into the "drunk and disorderly" category. Which meant that, in order to do this job that she was so dismissive of, she was the one I was supposed to pay attention to. There's probably irony in that.)

Next week, I'll be doing security for Method Man, and I'm not a big fan of rap, either. However, the next night, if our company gets the contract, I'll work security for a midget wrestling event.

I didn't even know they still had those.

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