Thursday, April 27, 2006
No Joy in Mudville
Note to Self: The next time it's been raining for three days and you're in a hurry to park the live truck, KEEP OFF THE GRASS! Not doing so turned a fairly pleasant day into an arduous exercise in aggravation. I was trying to establish a microwave signal with one of our receive sights when I static forced me to move the van. So I did, and after encountering the same hiss and fuzz in a second location dropped the mast to try a third. That's when the fun began. I'll spare you the ugly details but this swath of rain-soaked turf, a ticking deadline and the jeers of nearby junior high kids made for one very l-o-n-g afternoon. But it doesn't end there. My fellow photogs back at the shop, on the verge of losing control of their collective bladders at the aspect of Idol Boy struck in the mud, pelted me with a deluge of taunting text messages. Thanks Fellas!
Luckily I didn't notice the torrent of good nature abuse until later. I was far too busy trying to coax my logo'd behemoth out of the muck to notice my cell phone buzzing. I tried everything, from rocking the truck back and forth to reciting a certain George Carlin refrain to enlisting the aid of a passing football coach with a pick up truck and a willingness to help. Nothing. I even sacrificed an on-board sandbag, splitting it open and pouring the grainy contents under the 2 (two!) mired tires. While I cajoled, ranted and tasted the finest in Alamance County mud, intrepid reporter Caron Myers sequestered herself inside our immobile newsroom, hammering out the script to our piece that was due to air in ninety minutes, stuck truck or not. When she noticed her photog flailing in a whirling dervish of brown splatter, she got on the horn with a nearby cop buddy.
A half hour later, a mysterious tow truck appeared on scene, its driver sizing up the situation with quiet mutters before attaching the winch and signaling me when to gun it on cue. A few minutes later, we were free of our grassy shackles and the tow truck driver disappeared with only our eternal thanks and a nice tip from Caron. Whew! Still, the fun wasn't over, as we had to race off to a secure location, edit our piece and set up the signal before our trusty anchor team threw it to Caron - only to see snow, color bars, or worst of all...black air. Of course, we made our deadline (it's what we do), and those viewers who caught Caron's live shot had no idea her fancy schmancy reporter shoes were the color of cow dung.
As for me, I've recovered - though even as I type this my clothes hands and outlook remain soundly brown. May tomorrow be a brighter day, one that offers perhaps a little less to blog about. Finally, kudos to Caron (wife of Chocolate) Myers, who saved the day while I contemplated wandering off into the distance in immediate search of that long-delayed mid-life career change. As tempting as it was, that ain't the way I wanna go out. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go scrub the mud from my nostrils.