To his day, I have yet to come up with a good thing to say about Rapid City, South Dakota. I've been trying for years.
This was the absolute nadir of the Journey, for me. Granted, I was not in a good place, mentally, physically, or in the sense of being in Rapid City. Besides being exhausted from a long day's drive the previous day and another poor night's sleep, and heartbroken over the loss of my kitty, nothing seemed to go well today.
We got out of the hotel a little later than expected, then stopped for coffee, as is our usual routine. Since I usually have the most set-up, and don't drink coffee, I wasn't in the mood for this routine. It was, apparently, terrible coffee; that left everyone a little grumpy.
On first stepping inside the building, we were greeting by some guy yelling at us about using a different door. This was promising. We then entered into a long, narrow room with long, narrow tables running its length. This was to be our room, with our space being on one of the extreme ends and everyone else sitting facing perpendicularly to us at a great distance away. This was even more promising. To add to the allure of the experience, the room decorator took the bold step of choosing to evoke a sickly, dying version of a 1970s middle-class kitchen.
This was one of the most work-intensive set-ups of the entire trip, for me, as the room had nothing prepared and the walls were too cluttered and hideous to project anything against. So, I set up the cameras, as usual; but also the speakers, the sound mixer, the lights (it was dark in the back), all the extension cords, and my green screen -- turned to cover up the emergency exit and leave some space for projection. Then the wireless mic started malfunctioning. Then the speakers (heavy) needed to be moved. Twice. Then the lights needed to have the bulbs checked, as they were acting oddly. Then I had to work out a deal with the guy on the upper floor who was planning on using the day to run his floor buffer. Then we ran out of batteries...
Luckily, timely success or failure really didn't mean jack, as no one showed up, including the original coordinator -- she had gone on vacation. The new coordinator, after maybe an hour of waiting, got out her cell phone and started calling everyone in her address book to see if anyone wanted to "stop by." Three hours after the start-time, there were enough people to carry the Hoop and the Staff, so we went through the whole ceremony, finishing late.
Looking at my pictures, I guess some people spoke. I don't remember anything of what they said. Then it was time to drive back across the entire state of South Dakota for our next ceremony. I couldn't remember what I was doing on this trip. I wanted out. I wanted a full night's sleep. I wanted to bury my cat. I wanted to show up in a town and feel welcomed; to work hard for the benefit of appreciative people. I wanted badly to shoot some film in something other than "live" conditions; to not have my labors give fruit to hours of film with ugly backgrounds, inconsistent lights, and speakers who wander around while they talk, going in-and-out of focus and dropping out of the frame entirely if I happen to be tending the other camera.
I hate Rapid City, and this whole Journey isn't looking so hot, either.