Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kisses and Curses

Danger AheadSpend enough time behind the wheel of a marked news unit and you’ll elicit every type of reaction possible - from the adoring gaze to the pantomimed death threat. I’m not sure which one skeeves me out the most. On second thought, I do. When the driver next to me is thrusting their middle finger upward and mouthing obscenities at 70 miles per hour, I get it: they hate me - or at least what they think my logo represents. Sure I could try to explain how that dreaded ‘F word’ on my hood has little to do with the perceived evil cabal they’ve deleted from their cable line-up, how I’m more likely to profile Easter bunnies than demonize the far left, how I’m probably the most apolitical member of the Fourth Estate they’ll ever meet - but what good would that do? I may as well try to convince a Guilford College student that regular hygiene will still be in style l-o-n-g after the angry shepherd look falls out of fashion. Yep - seething hatred I can handle with great aplomb - though I once did almost cause a VW bug full of hippies to run off of the interstate by returning their vitriolic shrieks with gooey kissy faces.

Wide-eyed adulation however, throws me for a loop. Hey, it’s perfectly normal for a passing motorist to gun the engine to see if the news car up ahead contains that guy with the hair they see in their living rooms every night. But nine times out of ten, all they see is some bearded nobody polishing off the last of his dollar menu cheeseburger while staring holes through his windshield. A look of disappointment I understand; fevered waving and ecstatic shout-outs make me slowly reach for the power-locks. I remember once when I pulled into a corner gas station in a very small town. Lost in thought as always, I proceeded to fill up the tank when that unmistakable sensation of being watched caused me to look over my shoulder. There, standing in a semi-circle around me, was a collection of good ole country folk with wide eyes and scarier grins. Seems they’d never seen an honest to God news car before - let alone some scruffy dude in a wrinkled Hawaiian shirt. By the time my tank was full, I’d signed autographs, kissed a few babies and fondled the 9-1-1 pre-set button on my cell phone. Watching my new best friends grow smaller in my rearview mirror, I made a mental note not to stop there the next time I was blowing through town with an anchor riding shotgun.

Yeah, I’d much rather someone just flip me off…


Femme Fontanelle said...

Hi. Nice Blog.
I spent a few months trying to fend sycophantic young teen females off the cameraman, when the cameraman happened to be my father (I was his sound "guy" for a while!). It turned my stomach I can tell ya; wierdos - fancying MY DAD (or to be more specific lets face it, they fancied my Dad's Camera). Strange, Joe Public arent they?! Glad you got out of Smalls-ville alive anyway!

Matt W said...

Nothing against the "mother ship", but I got a few glares and nasty looks while wearing the 3 letter logo. Some people just don't see the difference and depending on their political view they immediatly judge.

You always get a few bad apples your way at any station.