It’s time to be fitted for my uniform. Teamsters on movie sets wear whatever they like, and often they like to wear very little. Teamsters at the theme parks, however, are forced to wear a uniform you’d expect to see on a soda jerk: polyester black pants paired with a red shirt-trimmed in black.
The outfit barely breaths. Polyester actually magnifies the suns rays. The only upside is that we get a cool silver jacket styled after the one Burt Reynolds wears in “Smokey and the Bandit.” The only difference is ours feature the World Wide logo emblazoned on the sleeves. Show Teamsters tend to laugh at us because, well, we look like dorks! But it’s a living!
After picking up my costume from wardrobe, I’m shuttled back to tram dispatch to meet Iris, the lead dispatcher. We have a brief, friendly exchange that makes me think we’re going to get along. He’s all smiles as he says, “Go get suited up next door, your up soon!”
“Super!” I say, fairly pleased to be friends with someone most everyone else here dislikes.
I head to the locker room and am surprised to find it’s a unisex facility. My locker is next to Tricia’s, who’s pulling off her leather boots as I fuss with the combination on my locker. Tricia’s talking to another woman in uniform, Tilda, and I introduce myself to them both.
In walks Hollywood Don, which immediately makes me feel more comfortable now that we’ve got gender parity in the locker room. As we all finish buttoning up, I hear my name over the loudspeaker. It’s Iris requesting that I go out as soon as I’m ready. It’s almost as if he’s been watching us, because he summons Don next. Tilda and Tricia scatter as Don and I head to break-room to consult the map of the tram route.
A set of commands blares from various speakers. “Veteran Don, tram on the left! Rookie Don, tram on the right! You two look like twins, by the way!” Iris says with a laugh.
Iris sounds enthused at having some new horses in his stable. Hollywood Don also likes Iris. I think he’s going to be a pretty easy guy to get along with, and I’m glad we’re in this together.
With no shortage of pride, the two of us walk out of the break-room and into the slanting, morning sunlight where our loaded and waiting Glamour Trams are parked side by side.
Once on my tram, I meet Laurie, who’ll be my first tour guide ever. I shake her hand in front of 125 tourists as she introduces me as “Don, our driver.” I hear the same thing happening on Veteran Don’s tram a few feet away.
Some guests immediately notice the similarity between the two Dons. “You two drivers look like twins. And you have the same names!”
And so we begin, two Glamour Trams with two drivers named Don. I’m grateful to have the veteran Laurie as my studio guide. I can’t help but notice how attractive she is. Over on the other tram, Hollywood Don has a veteran guide named Ross who speaks in a relentless monotone.
Beachboy Donnie and hot little Laurie follow in behind Hollywood Donnie and Ross as the trams get underway.
I distance my tram from his as we start off, knowing I’ll have to wait for his to experience the “Galactic Encounter.”
Safety rules are spooled out by Ms. Laurie as I cruise ahead slowly. Laurie is a polished professional. I watch with admiration as her hatted profile speaks softly and alluringly into her microphone as I tug on my genie.
We’re just killing time, waiting for our cue from a traffic signal hidden in a bush.
The green light appears and we enter the menacing space ship. I watch the chaos of an intergalactic space battle, pausing occasionally to glance at Laura’s face. She’s a looker. It’s no wonder these space men are shootng their rays guns so excitedly. I imagine it’s all a feeble attempt to win my guide over before we disappear under a cloud of liquid nitrogen.
“Let’s get out of here!” Laurie shouts.
No sooner are we out of the fog than we’re confronted by a mansion that bursts into flames. The firemen are nearby, waxing their trucks, and everyone waves to one another like old friends.
I pull my Glamour Tram alongside Hollywood Don’s after I’ve lost Laurie to the Robert Wagner experience. We briefly chat as we close the gates on our vehicles. We have no other guests ready for departure since it’s still early, so we’re obliged to make the long drive back to dispatch, our trams empty and guide-less. Hollywood Don and I make a race out of it.
I can still smell Ms. Laurie’s perfume lingering on the air.
My next tour will be a complete tram route escapade, but this one was the first of a thousand to come. . .
Written and lived by Donnie Norden…page 11