25-کرانستونکتاب: زندگی در چند بخش / فصل 25
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متن انگلیسی فصل
I was absorbed in building my foundation as an actor, but I needed a job to survive. I found it on the loading dock at Roadway International, a large trucking firm, near intersecting highways in Vernon, a depressing industrial city five miles southeast of downtown LA. It often seemed that the only residents of Vernon were homeless people.
I worked on a cement slab—a dock—loading and unloading trucks. The foreman only used your last name, screaming, Garcia! McVicar! Fitzpatrick! Cranston! I worked a ten-hour shift—graveyard, 9:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., with a half an hour for lunch. Brutal, but I got paid $14.50 an hour, which was excellent money in 1979. Our rent for a two-bedroom place in Van Nuys was $375, so three days of work and I was covered for the month. Plus it was primarily a weekend job, so I was available during the week to audition.
The job was tough. Everyone was angry, even the punch clock. I’d stick my time card into the machine; it wouldn’t engage. I’d gently maneuver the card to just the right spot. Finally the machine would bark—AAARRRRNNNTTT. That first violent noise was my welcome each night, and it triggered a strong fight-or-flight response. Then the foremen would yell: CRANSTON, PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP, LET’S GO!
At first I buckled down, doing everything I was ordered to do and more. I figured that if I could outwork the others, I’d have a job as long as I needed it. I gave myself over to the physically demanding work. I reminded myself that working nights allowed me to be free to audition during the day. I was paying dues. That kept my spirits up.
We had scheduled fifteen-minute breaks every few hours. At one of the breaks, four of the union regulars (the nonunion guys like me were called “casuals”) paid me a visit. They told me I was working too hard—too fast—and that I needed to slow down. I was confused. I explained that the foreman was up my ass already to speed it up. The regular who’d been appointed spokesman said, “Fuck him. We run this place. You need to slow down or we’re going to have a problem. We gotta work here every damn day, you motherfuckers come in a few times a month. You work fast, it makes us look bad. That shit can’t happen, understand? It’s not your fault, but it is your problem. Slow. The. Fuck. Down. That’s it.”
Message received. I slowed the fuck down. I tried to set a pace so that the union guys and the foreman were both only mildly upset with me at all times. I cut it right down the middle.
“Cranston, get moving!” I learned to endure the foreman’s yelling. “High and tight! High and tight!” That’s how he wanted the cargo loaded. Fill every space. That job is where I learned how to load my dishwasher: high and tight. To this day, I’m the loader of my dishwasher. Please don’t do it. I’ll just redo it.
A lot of actors worked as Roadway casuals because of the pay. I remember working with Andy Garcia. I knew him only in passing. We were all so tired; it’s not like any of us had a lot of energy to make friends. Besides, we were all covered up: steel-toed boots, jeans, hooded sweatshirt, gloves, and a bandanna to cover our ears, noses, and mouths from the swirling dirt and cardboard dust. All you saw were a guy’s eyes. And some guys even wore clear plastic glasses to shield their eyes.
Somewhere beneath all that protective gear, I was elsewhere. They got my body, but I wasn’t going to let them get my mind or soul. I think if I hadn’t been absolutely determined to be an actor, I wouldn’t have made it through. But I was determined.
CRANSTON! When the foreman yelled, I acknowledged I heard him. I nodded, but I didn’t let him in. I just kept repeating a few lines from my inner script. I kept saying to myself: One day I will be able to call myself an actor. Not a part-time actor, but a real actor. One day. One day. One day.
I would fantasize: there’s me driving onto a studio lot; there’s me breaking down the beats of a scene on stage. I was cold and I was getting yelled at, and the energy of many of the guys was a dark energy. Most of those guys hated their jobs, and probably hated their lives. It would be so easy to be sucked into that despair. But I didn’t allow that to come inside. It wasn’t welcome. I wasn’t going to let them clutter my brain. I had something real to hold on to.
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