So, you’ve whipped your viewers into a frenzy with talk of winter weather and now it looks like the snow’s not even gonna come your way. What do you do? Simple, you call in a guy like me: some grumpy cuss you know will bring back the goods - lest anyone claim he can’t. Like a grizzled hit-man, I said little when the call came late Tuesday. The voice on the other end spoke sparingly too, for we both knew what was expected of me. Hanging up the phone, I ran down a mental checklist of gear, gas and trajectory. After that, I put it out of my mind, knowing only that executives were hedging their bets by launching me into the void. Eh, it’s a living.
And a damn fine one too, for not once today did I rearrange any staplers or fondle my TPS reports. Instead I saddled up shortly after dawn and headed West. My orders: Find some freakin’ snow. Trouble was, the only accumulation was up in the Blue Ridge Mountains - a hundred miles or so from my humble suburban home. 'Not a problem', I thought, a covert sortie into the hills is a splendid way to spend a Wednesday. For the first sixty miles it was; I cranked some Jane's and followed a ribbon of asphalt over undulating terrain. Knowing it might be the last time I drove Unit Four into the breech, I savored every mile - when I wasn't daydreaming about a desk job, that is. But that ended an hour into my voyage, when the wind picked up, the snow fell down and the landscape took an ever steepening pitch.
Soon after the weather got dirty, my destination changed. "Don't go to Boone, try West Jefferson instead", said the cell phone. I nodded in agreement and plotted a more Northern course. I should have kept going straight, as while there was snow in West Jefferson, the only beings I could find to comment were of the bovine variety. Cows make for lousy TV (unless you're floating over them), so I kept trudging up what was now a snow-covered mountain pass. As always, Unit Four performed heroically - compensatng for my lead foot and poor vision with its superior handling. Only once did we almost steer ourselves off a cliff, but hey - when the music's over you gotta find another CD, right? Don't answer that; just know that I traversed perilous ridgelines with one eye on my stash of tunes and the other on all those 'Falling Rock' signs. Let's see, what's some good music to be crushed to death by?
I never could decide. By the time I'd navigated countless switchbacks, dipped into Tennessee and found my way back to Boone, tunnel vision had set in. With only a couple of snowy vistas committed to disc, I was in dire need of soundbites, characters and 'moments'. Minutes after arriving in one of my favorite mountain towns, I found all three. Locals, tourists and other yankees shivered along the frigid streets. Seeing my camera, most cavorted on-cue. 'Boo-YA!' I thought but kept it to myself. Not wanting to scare off any civilians, I found a shopkeeper with a moustache that screamed to be on tee-vee. I was halfway through my first dumb question when I felt it: the presence of another lenslinger. Looking around, I spotted a distant red speck talking to a tripod. I moved in, to see if I could help. Shooting your own stand-up can be a real bitch, especially when it's only eight degrees. But to his credit, dude had it covered.
He must be a January Man, too.