My aunt Vera called tonight to tell me that she probably can’t be interviewed this Sunday because she’s planning to be on a bus headed to an out-of-state conference during the time that she’s supposed to be on camera. I told her the producer could fly her to her conference after the interview. She said she wasn’t willing to drive in a strange city. I told her they’d get a car service for her. She said she wasn’t comfortable with that. She then said, “Can’t Kat just represent the both of us?”
At a few minutes before midnight
time, I called David Zellerford, the producer. He sounded exhausted. As plainly and as calming as I could, I told him about my call with Vera. New York
After two beats of silence he said, “Well, that just f---s everything up.” He went on to express his frustration with a raised voice, more choice profanity, and an in-depth explanation of his ability to deliver anyone, to any major city in the world, at any time.
I just sat there holding the phone and wishing that a gust of wind would suck me into a hole in the space-time continuum and deliver me to any other moment besides that one.
Thankfully, oh, thankfully, David worked it out before I had to respond. Like always, he started thinking of solutions. They could film my mom, my aunt Vera, and me late Saturday night. He thought of creative ways to convince my aunt to let us fly her to her conference. If we couldn't interview her he said that maybe that’s the story. Why won’t anyone talk about Booker Wright? We could focus on family and its complications. Maybe a camera follows me and my cousin around while we try to get someone, anyone to talk to us about my grandfather.
Then he started explaining that he wasn’t upset with me and so on. But he didn’t have to explain. I get it. He’s spent countless hours figuring all this stuff out. His staff made arrangements, calls, etc. Before a single plane ticket was purchased I had a solid yes from M.W., from her daughter, from my mom, my dad, and my aunt. Now it was looking like only two of these people were going to be interviewed. I’m frustrated and embarrassed. I promised that I could deliver my family, now it seems that I can only deliver myself and a whole bunch of cancellations. My stomach is in knots.
By the time we got off the phone, David's concern over possibly having upset me was much more prominent than his frustration over the fact that he’d made so many plans around this interview and now it was falling to pieces. I always tell people that I adore him. This is one of the reasons why.
Even though David is exhausted and knows that he won't be going to sleep tonight - I think he has to catch a 4AM flight and he was still packing when I called to dump this pile of mess on him – we managed to get off the phone laughing. I am so lucky to be working on this project with such amazing people.