"Did you just feel that??"
I look at my colleague, who's now wide eyed, standing a couple feet away from me, wondering what the hell he's talking about.
"No... Feel what?"
"The ground shake!"
"I'm tellin ya, the ground just shook!"
Well, we are in California after all and the occasional earthquake is the price we pay for living in perpetual sunshine. Still, I was standing right next to the guy and hadn't felt a thing.
We both instinctively look at the ground, and I notice his foot's on a piece of 220v cable that's powering up the 20K light we had just set up. While such a thing isn't enough to make the ground tremor, there's enough current flowing through that cable to make it "hum" a bit, and you can definitely feel the vibration through your shoe if you're standing on it. I was just about to suggest to him that perhaps it was the cable he felt and not the earth moving, when he shushed me.
"Do you hear that?"
We both stand in silence for a moment.
It was faint, but it was a sound any juicer worth their salt would instantly recognize. The paddles connecting the cable to the light was arcing.* Easy fix. I just pushed the two connectors in more and the sound stopped.
"You didn't notice that before I pointed it out, did you?" asked my co-worker, in a somewhat accusing way.
"That's something you should've noticed on your own if I wasn't here." His voice and body language now oozed with smugness. As if somehow, I had failed the test in detecting the non-threatening situation on my own and thank goodness he was here or else the whole building would've burned down and we would've had to stop shooting.**
At that point, I was completely confused on how this conversation turned such a sharp corner.
"No. I didn't notice it." Honesty. Yeah, let's try that for a second here. "I was more focused on wondering why you felt the ground shake."
That's when things got weird and he gave me a quizzical look.
"What are you talking about?"
"You said you felt the ground shake a second ago."
"No I didn't!"
He continued on. "But you didn't notice that loose paddle, did you?"
I stood there, even more confused than I was before, trying to figure out what the heck I could even say in a situation like this. But before my brain could even form the words, "You said you felt the ground shake!" the guy gave me look along with a "you better shape up" finger point as he walked away towards crafty.
The only thing I could do then was just stand there and wonder, "What the fuck just happened??"
*Long, electrical mumbo-jumbo short, the pieces of copper in the paddles weren't connecting properly, but electricity was still "jumping" from one connection to the other, which we call "arcing."
**Not all arcing on set is non-threatening, but this one was. The worst damage it could do if it was left like that for a long period of time is maybe wreck a replaceable paddle. Granted, it's much better if it was detected before that happened, but this was also on a show where we were basically disconnecting, moving, and reconnecting the cables every half hour or so, which doesn't leave much time for any damage to be done before it's repositioned again.