Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Punching the Subconscious Clock

Light Static and Heavy Southern Accents Filled the Air...

It's a dream I've had a couple of times - a particularly frustrating episode that’s more distorted memory than random delusion...

The first sensation is overwhelming heat - sweat pouring down my brow as I realize I'm running down a railroad track. Ahead is a dusky tree line with angry black smoke pouring forth. Blue and red lights dance seductively on the horizon and I am literally hauling ass to get there.

Trouble is I'm packing old-time heat - the kind of three-quarter-inch-tape television gear that documented the early 70's. An old orange and oversized Ikegami camera bounces off one shoulder with every jarring step -- a heavy strap cuts into my other shoulder as the low-slung VCR-in-a-bag threatens to take out my knees - an overly long cable connecting the two devices dances between my feet.

As I struggle to stay upright I sense I'm not alone, and looking around me I see a swarm of fellow news crews from my past catching up. Digging in, I almost lose balance, loping along on uneven railroad ties are not quite finding my rhythm. The sun beats down on my future bald spot, as a corded lapel microphone bounces out of a pocket and trails behind me.

Up ahead, the tree line horizon doesn't seem any closer despite the fact my chest is about to explode from running so hard. Emergency strobe lights pierce the smoke up ahead, flashing angry silhouettes. Radio chatter and southern-fried voices fill the air but I can't make out what they're shouting about.

There's no time to wonder though, since the loosey-goosey recording equipment jostling all around me is about to bounce away. Worse yet, the other news crews are catching up with me - the sounds of their footfalls outpacing mine.

One of them brushes by and is soon followed by a crowd of photogs, each one with smaller, lighter, newer gear. As they blow by me, I hear a few snort about my outdated equipment. Soon the last of them is ahead of me and pullin away, the sound of an out-of-market news chopper echoing my defeat.

Still, I run like a madman, hauling at least 100 pounds of the very finest in 1970's newsgathering technology with me. As the hazy figures of my competitors fade into the distance I curse my bosses and reach deep down inside for one last resolve of strength.

And it works! I pick up speed, begin catching up with the others, closing in on the scene. I see the other crews gather together for the first interview. But there's still time! I kick in all I have, my heels and knees threatening to shatter with every loping misstep along the jagged railroad ties. Just as I'm sure I'm finally going to make it...the microphone cable trailing behind me snags on an upturned nail and SNAP! - yanks me backwards off my feet.

That's when I awaken with a jolt, and wonder why in the heck I'm wasting valuable dream energy on something as mundane as work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just be thankful that you never had to run that particular race for real...as one who did more than once, it was a memory that will forever haunt me. You forgot to add the 2 battery belts that you needed. One to power the camera, which used just a little less power than Cleveland on a normal day, the other for your cine-light. Standard seemed to be about 250 watts...

If you were lucky, you had an interface cord that worked, most likely you had a piece of the thickest coax cable that was available in Western civilization...

The deck usually worked when you whanged it on the top, near the rear of the loading carriage, sometimes it required a little more persuation, a drop from 6 inches if it was feeling perky, from a foot if it was particularly cranky...

Ahhhh yes, the good old days.