October 10, 2006

On Not Bringing My Camera To Work

This morning has been rough. I woke late after having been plagued by nightmares of failure at work. Nothing special there. After dragging myself out of bed I realized that I was likely to be even later than I suspected in my morning schedule, as my car required more fuel to get me from home to work. While gassing up I inspected the beverage and snack food aisles of the station's mini-mart, but left empty-handed, finding nothing that looked even remotely appetizing.

The freeway was blissfully free of traffic jams. On the way in I briefly considered taking a drive through the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast - but the mere idea of a Sausage and Egg McMuffin caused my stomach to bubble with resentment. I arrived to work early, and took the chilly walk from the parking structure to my office building.

By then I had decided my appetite would have to be satiated by a toasted English Muffin purchased from the Backlot Cafe, a mere hop, skip and jump (well, about a minute's walk) from my cubicle. So after safely clocking in, I meandered back out into the chilled air of the Universal City morning. The line at the Cafe wasn't completely ridiculous, so I decided to wait it out at the end of a line of rough-looking grips.

It was then I noticed a large truck, complete with a big metal trailer with air vents, parked across the street in front of Stage 27. At its side was a pair of crew guys babytalking through one of the vents. A moment later a man slides open the trailer's side door, and, slowly, out walks a pair of elephants.

A Pair of elephants...

They were cuter than cute, and they drew attention from all passersby. As soon as the second one slowly, carefully emerged from the truck, they were led away in line, the second one grasping with his trunk the tail of his front female companion. They were joined by a second trainer from behind, and each trainer wielded a frightening-looking metal stick - which I presumed to be some sort of taser in case the animals decided to behave in a manner unbecoming of a trained elephant.

The sight of possible torture-sticks disheartened me, but that quickly passed as I saw the trainers corral the elephants to an adjacent area of the parking lot in front of the stage, and proceed to carefully groom them. A slight touch of the hand to a rear leg and the elephant lifted their foot back for the trainer. A hand motion, and the elephant would step forward and lower himself to the ground for a back-brushing.

The elephants had to look their best, as they were preparing to be filmed. They're shooting the Bruce Almighty sequel, Evan Almighty (starring Steve Carell as a modern-day Noah, tasked with building an Ark) here at the lot, and we've been seeing all sorts of crazy animals being trotted out to the stage: camels, giraffes, a baby chimp, even some yak!

The normally gruff, cynical people on the lot melted and turned into big kids around these wonderfully out-of-place animals. Burly men were out in the street taking snapshots with their cameraphones, and drivers drove past with huge grins plastered to their faces, necks craning to preserve the view as long as possible. As I stood watching all of this, waiting to order my English Muffin, I quietly chided myself for not keeping my point-and-shoot digital camera with me at all times. Otherwise I'd be able to end this post with an indescribably cute photo of some elephants. But I'm not. I'm sorry.

posted by julie at October 10, 2006 09:36 AM

things people have said

SOme have mocked me for always having a camera in my purse. Your story reminds me that sometimes elephants happen. I hope you have the camera with you now cause I want pictures when they bring the big cats in.

so said: Karin at October 13, 2006 11:18 AM