Crash

I have an audition for a commercial (!) for The Container Store. The role is Katie, an employee of The Container Store. She’s “warm and inviting; approachable; girl next door.” I’m excited. Especially because it’s a commercial. I love commercials. I can totally be Katie. I immediately think of those AT&T commercials with that young brunette girl. She’s been in so many now, and I haven’t been super impressed with her (until this last one… she was pretty funny). 

The audition is in Studio City, which would usually be a pain because it would take me 45 minutes or an hour to get there, but I stayed over Brian’s last night and can just go from his place, so it’s only ten minutes away. Score.

The audition is at 11:50am, so I leave early, as I usually do, because I certainly don’t need to be stressed out that I’m running late. So it’s 11am. Plug it into my GPS and I’m on my way.

It is so close! I can’t get over how close it is. I’m not used to auditions being right around the corner. I’m about five minutes away, and I’m driving in the left lane of a two-lane road. There’s a car a little ways in front of me, in the right lane. It starts to slow down a little as we near the on-ramp for the freeway, on the right. I cruise past, probably going about 35mph, when my car is slammed into by this car. Just comes over into my lane, and hits my right side.

I’m shocked, not really knowing what just happened. I slow down almost to a stop, and try to look out my right side view mirror, but it’s completely turned into the car, so I can’t see anything. I look in my rear view mirror. The car has stopped and is now creeping forward, following me to the side of the road.

Fucking bitch. Are you fucking kidding me right now??

Typically, in a situation like this, I would be really worked up right now. Heart racing, possibly shaking, not knowing what to do. But I am surprisingly calm. Mostly just stewing that this just fucking happened. Also, when I open my car door and get out, this little Mexican lady gets out of her car and is on repeat. “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” At this point, I do NOT say it’s OK. I’m still taking in the situation. She’s probably in her late 30’s/early 40’s (actually maybe younger, the way she’s acting), and I can’t get a word in if I wanted to. She’s definitely scared as she keeps repeating the same thing over and over. “I’m sorry, this is my aunt’s car, I was just trying to take my daughter to the hospital, I don’t know this area, this has never happened before, I’m so sorry.”

Wait, you have to go to the hospital right now? “No, my daughter has a cast on her arm, I was just trying to get her to the hospital.”

I do feel bad. Sort of. Still not telling her it’s OK. I just say, OK, as I walk around my car to see the damage. Ugh my brand new beautiful car! You suck, lady! The side mirror is wrecked, there’s three huge scratches on my passenger door, and some dents on the right side of the front bumper. I try to open the door. It does. Good.

She keeps saying sorry. I just look at her, and gesture to the car. I’m like, OK, it’s OK, I still have to call the cops. When I say this, she really loses it. Crying, covering her mouth with her hands. Like, what does she expect? She’s just upset and freaking out.

Now this weirdo guy pulls over in front of me and walks over. Also Mexican. (God knows neither of them are Mexican and I’m an idiot.) He starts asking if I need anything. What do you mean? Then he starts pointing at my car and talking about the damage but not in any way that I actually know what he’s saying. Does he know this lady? Nope. He’s just here. I try to wave him off as I call 9-1-1.

As I dial, I’m like fuck, where am I? Because I never know where I am. The last time I had to call the cops because of an accident, I was with my Mom in OBX. We were pulling out of a spot as an old lady pulled into the spot next to us and crashed right into the brick building. I called as Mom ran over to make sure the lady she was OK. The dispatcher asked, “What’s your location?” I ran a few steps to see the name of the liquor store sign. ABC Liquors?? “Which one? In Manayunk?” Oh Christ, no, not in Philly. She’s basing this off my cell phone area code. I guess there are many ABC Liquors…. in the world. So I say, Outerbanks…. North Carolina. Nice, Lynn. Way to narrow it down. Idiot.

So anyway, we’re right in front of the on-ramp to the 101. And I know we’re on Vineland because I had just turned down the street using my trusty GPS. I look past the freeway ramp and see a street sign for Bellflower Ave. I totally know everything I need to know for where I am. Boom. (Is this really my win for the day?)

The dispatcher tells me that since no one was injured, and nothing else was hit except our two cars, that our insurance companies can handle everything. We just need to exchange license and insurance information. I walk over to the lady. She sits in the driver seat on her phone. I tell her the deal. She’s still in panic mode. Tells me she can’t get her aunt’s insurance information so she’s trying to get hers. Whatever. I can wait for you to figure it out (no I can’t). I notice that not just one girl is in the car with her. There’s three. One in the front, maybe 8 years old, two in the back, one maybe 5, the other 3 (again, I really have no idea).

Walk back over to my car to get my information. This guy is still here. He starts talking to me nonstop. In hindsight, I should have asked him if he saw everything and would testify as a witness if need be. But I can’t understand anything he’s saying, anyway. He’s pointing at my car, speaking words of some kind. Now I’m starting to feel paranoid. Like he’s distracting me on purpose, and this lady is going to speed away. Because of course that’s where my mind goes. I keep looking back to make sure she’s still there. She is.

I can’t concentrate with this guy in my ear. I try to be polite, but I finally just walk away. OK, OK, I gotta go. Thank you. Bye. Walk back to exchange information with this lady. Her name is Monique. She keeps apologizing. I mean, I get it. If the tables were turned, and I fucked up the way she did, I wouldn’t know what else to say, but I can’t listen to her apologize anymore. She gives me her number. Promises to call me because she doesn’t have her insurance information. Whatever. I took down her license plate number and address. I know where you live, bitch.

The little girl in the front seat peers over at me, smiling from ear to ear. She’s beautiful. Like seriously, an adorable little girl. The two girls in the back sit quietly. The youngest one is in a car seat. She has a little cast on her arm. Aw.

Monique apologizes for the millionth time. I tell her, It’s OK. Is everyone OK? “Yes.” OK. It’s OK. Drive safe.

I get in my car, unable to look out my right side view mirror, and pull away. I’m surprised that I’m not nervous to drive. Oh wait, that’s because I didn’t do anything fucking wrong!

I drive straight to my audition and arrive, still 20 minutes early. I want to call my Mom. I want to deal with this (so what if they go hand in hand?). But I really just want to focus on my audition first. I know that this is a test for me as an actor. You need to be able to leave your shit at the door. Go in there, and do your job. But I’m definitely frazzled. And it’s been too long since I’ve had an audition. I’m not nervous, but I’m not in the right head space.

I walk up to a house. A very pretty house. Weird that this is a casting, but I see the sign, “Container Store Casting.” I walk past a girl looking over sides, reading out loud. She looks up and smiles, says a very friendly hello. This is that moment at an audition when you start to doubt yourself. That girl is so friendly and cute! God dammit. And she’s wearing really nice shoes.

I walk up to a landing and there’s a sign-in sheet. I make my first mistake and sign in right away, then grab the sides. Read them. It’s less than a page. Quick, bubbly, friendly. Not too much dialogue. I grab my stuff and walk down the steps, away from pretty girl, to say the lines out loud. I do this once. Pretty girl peers her head around the corner. “Lindsay! They’re ready for you!” Oh. Fuck me. OK.

I’m like, why are they calling me before her. Ohhhh right, because I’m an idiot. You never sign in until you’re actually ready. I know this. I should have just grabbed the sides, went and practiced, and THEN signed in.

I wasn’t thinking. And now the casting director is standing at the door, shaking my hand and inviting me in. I think for a second, I could just say, I’m not ready yet. But I don’t, because I don’t know; it feels unprofessional in the moment, and also the copy isn’t hard, and also sometimes it’s better to just go in cold and not worry so much about having it memorized. I’m kind of just like, fuck it, go for it.

I walk in and it’s this man who greeted me at the door, and a woman. A huge living area. I comment on it. This is really nice. He thanks me. He and his sister live here. And they’re having a casting session here. That’s awesome. They are both super friendly and making me feel comfortable. The woman tells me about the commercial. It’s nice because she’s telling me about what they’re trying to sell and how they value their employees and it’s just more than what you expect when you walk into an audition. They have me go through the copy. There’s no camera set up. The guy tells me, if I need an eye line, to use him. This means that if I don’t know where to look, or can’t decide where to look, I can just look at him. So I do.

I say the lines. I don’t feel great about it. I don’t feel terrible, but I don’t feel great. As soon as I finish, he says, “Can you do it again, and this time, do it Disney.” I nod. Yup. He goes into further detail. “Really over the top friendly, big. We would never have you actually do it like this, but we just want to see it.” Right. Got it. Not the first time I’ve heard to go Disney. I do it. Feeling cheesy and big and over the top. He laughs when I’m done. “Yup. That was over the top. It’s funny, every time I tell actors to do it Disney they know exactly what I mean.”

This tells me that he is telling every actor that comes in here to go Disney. So it’s not special to me. Not a good sign. Not a bad sign, just nothing out of the normal. We say our goodbyes. He says something about actors never being on time and I do admit that I came right in after I got here. You know I want to tell him that I just got in a car accident, but that feels like asking for sympathy. Which I’m not, but it’s almost funny. Like, my dog ate my homework.

Nobody cares.

I leave. Call my Mom. Who tells me to call the insurance company.

Right. I knew that.

Hey, so it wasn’t a great audition. And I got in a minor car accident.

Tomorrow is a new day! And I have another audition!

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