People don’t think much of TV news crews but when they do, scenes from local station promos come to mind. It’s true; my cohorts and I regularly bound down courthouse steps, gesture emphatically and race off out of frame - but for every staged segue there is an interminable lapse in action. Take the other day, when Chad Tucker and I decamped near Clemmons, where a week earlier, a bedtime tornado had eviscerated parts of a leafy neighborhood. No one lost their life that night, but sheaved off treetops and a vengeful wind laid waste to countless houses. When another TV truck pulled up Friday morning, the fine folk still picking through the wreckage stopped to talk. Sixty minutes later Chad and I had all the interviews and footage we could squeeze into a ninety second slot and after wishing our new friends aswift reconstruction, withdrew to our rolling billboard. It was then that time stopped.
Okay, it didn’t stop, but it damn sure slowed down. Fresh with impressions of the storm-wracked cul de sac, I climbed into the stale cockpit of yet another live truck and felt the morning's momentum roll to a stop under the seat. There with the half-eaten bag of Cheesy Poofs and crumpled Visitor badges, it sat like a stone, no matter how I tried to dislodge it on the way to lunch. Hey I'm all for desperate measures but there are only so many nasties one can sling with pork chops and cornbread in mind. Hey, does that waitress have a moustache?
URP! ... 'scuse me. Ya know, there's just something to be said for the culinary buckles of the Stroke Belt. Anyhoo, two blue plate specials later, Chad and I stumbled out to the sunlight and made our way to the TV van at the end of the gravel parking lot. Fumbling in my pocket for the keys, I felt the earth's orbit slow up just a little as I lunged in slow motion toward the door of our mobile newsroom' . By the time I got it open, I barely had the strength to lift my bloated carcass up into the seat, let alone steer it across town. Somehow we made it though; Chad and I picked out a lovely hilltop spot across from the affected neighborhood and settled in for the afternoon. He cracked open a laptop and began transcribing our footage. I set the truck up for a live shot, eventually flipping more switches than it took to throw Han Solo's ride into hyperspace. When I was done, Chad still had lots of material to digest - so I decided to help him. I threw the seat back, waved off a few mosquitos visiting from a nearby sewage plant and popped off a shot of Chad hard at work before briefly losing consciousness.
You won't see that in a promo.