Looking up from my Bangers and Mash, I took the lady in. She was one of a half dozen women crammed into the booth at M’Coul’s Public House - each one resplendent in Saint Paddy’s Day green. Together they giggled and gossiped over the traditional Irish breakfast being foisted upon them by the wait staff - a raucous crew in various forms of leprechaun dress. When not plowing through that heavy fare, The Lady couldn’t help but watch the TV reporter and her photographer as they alternated between going live(!) and gobbling any and all free food passed their way. When the furrier of the two looked her way, she stated what most certainly HAD to be a fact.
"Ya’ll have fun jobs."
"It has its days,” I agreed. “But then there are the icy overpasses, the County Commissioner meetings, the midnight calls to the ghetto." Setting down my coffee, I gestured to the packed house of allegedly Irish patrons - many of whom were making love to stout vessels of Guinness, despite the fact it was 7:15 in the morning. "Granted, this crowd loves us, but there are times when a camera on your shoulder marks you as the biggest asshole in the room. I remember time at a triple homicide this lady in a housecoat threatened to shove my camera straight up ---"
It was then I locked eyes with Shannon Smith, my on-air partner for the day. No stranger to hard news or my incessant ramblings, she gave me a look that’s normally only shared between oafish husbands and their irritated wives. Having escorted Shannon through Hollywood junkets and Piedmont jungles, I took her unspoken cue to shut up. Turning to our admirer, she flashed the kind of smile that landed her on the news in the first place and returned the lady’s good will.
"Don’t listen to him. We usually have a pretty good time in the mornings."
With that, the lady seemed satisfied and turned back to her chattering tabletop - no doubt to whisper to her nearest friend what a total windbag the camera-dude was. Damn! The next time a bystander remarks on the intrigue of my occupation, remind me to just smile and nod. Sure, I consider myself something of a pundit for the photog nation, but nine times out of eleven, most folk aren’t looking for a dissertation. It’s kinda like when people ask “How ya doin’?”. They’re just being nice; they don’t really want to hear about you Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So, the next time some yak tells me what a cool gig I have, I’m gonna quietly agree and keep my rambling anecdotes to myself!
Hmm? Yeah, you’re right. That’ll NEVER happen.