In an effort to make the insatiably dull seem somehow intriguing, I offer you the weird-but-true present tense timeline:
9:30 AM Stroll into morning editorial meeting only to be told you’re on ‘VoSot Patrol’ (like ‘Soul Patrol’ - but even worse). Spend next hour and fifteen minutes working the phones, chatting up co-workers and casing the last two Payday bars in the break-room’s rather persnickety snack machine.
11:15 PM Pull up to nearby convenience store, where two lottery wonks are busy fastening ‘Powerball Today’ placards to their state-owned vans. Pull out camera and wait for ensuing bum-rush. Enjoy the high-decibel stylings of incredibly loud gangsta rap group emanating from idling low-rider.
11:28 PM Cell phone begins vibrating, followed by a familiar voice telling you there’s a ‘working apartment fire’ on the other side of High Point.. Jump in Unit 4 and drive ever so safely across town, scanning the horizon for tell-tale smoke plume and wondering what a ‘working apartment’ may look like.
11:35 PM Pull up to address and park behind a small fleet of hastily-parked fire engines. Judge from lack of flames and firefighter body language that little rush is needed. Schlep gear to perimeter. Frame various shots from sole position and press ‘RECORD’ sporadically. Reflect on 1, 673 previous apartment fires you’ve attended.
12:20 PM Return to convenience store and mingle amid lunch hour crowd as lottery wonks whip them into Powerball frenzy. Gather shots of free t-shirts, carnival-barking pitchmen and downtrodden clientele. Answer ’When will this be on?’ a dozen times. Retreat as loitering prostitute offers unprintable services in exchange for close-up.
12: 45 PM Return to station to find out you’ve inherited three more assignments, all of them in neighboring Greensboro. Bite tongue as other colleagues hold up pesky air conditioned walls as you grab two fresh batteries and hit the door. Spend next few minutes convincing yourself a studio job would drive you nuts Good luck with that.
1:00 PM Take shelter in favorite diner with the last chapter of “A Death in Belmont”, Sebastian Junger’s highly satisfying tale of a youthful interlude outside Boston, when an old white lady neighbor was murdered, a local black man went to prison for the crime and a drifter soon to be known as ‘The Boston Strangler’ did odd jobs around his house.
2:00 PM Enter Sam’s Club and explain to greeter the manager is expecting you. Pin lapel microphone on manager and interview about the collection they’re taking up for co-worker’s son who was killed in Iraq. Stare through viewfinder at Adam Lucas’ picture and wonder if the young Marine ever saw it coming.
2:40 PM Arrive at Elon University’s new law school building in downtown Greensboro and shoot video of construction workers milling about the exterior. Keep eye on ticking catch and illegally parked news unit. Scarf copy of ‘Yes Weekly’ from nearby box. Answer ’When will this be on?’ a half dozen times
3:00 PM Meet local missionary outside Natty Greene’s to discuss the horrible plight facing the survivors of Indonesia. Listen as interviewee tells how the worst is yet to come for Indonesians if the volcano that usually erupts after earthquakes begins to spew. Make mental note to pull file video of said volcano. Thank God you were born in America.
3:45 PM Enter newsroom and spend next ninety minutes, picking sound-bites, assembling footage and writing scripts. Enjoy snack machine’s last Payday bar as you whittle a full day of shooting into five separate computer timelines. Send to server down the hall and leave the building as the first of your stories air. Don’t look back.
5:15 PM Climb into personal car, pop in Etta James CD for maximum relaxation and pull out of parking lot. Spend next twenty five minutes battling for supremacy on crowded interstate. Stare through windshield and wonder how people with desk jobs spend their day. Worry that you’ll have nothing to blog about after the kids go to bed...