I was up to my elbows in half-crafted passages when the edit bay door slid open. "Can you break away long enough to shoot Howard Dean?" I glanced up and gave the shadow hanging over me a sour look. "Won't that get me in trouble?" The shadow shrugged and moved on, leaving me to collapse timelines and gather my discs. Forty-five minutes later I was perched on a camera platform at Governmental Plaza, the sun beating down on my thinning hair as I twisted knobs on the mult-box at my feet. Through my headphones, a party-approved U2 anthem warbled and blared. I was just about to join Bono in the chorus when a garish tour bus rolled up and spared the crowd from my soaring falsetto. 'Their loss,' I thought as I hopped off the riser to join my competitors at the curb. The mob of supporters cheered as the bus rolled to a stop as my fancycam and I wove a thread through their excitement. Many of them wielded their own recorders of course, including one that captured the curbside cluster in question. That's me, pausing to reflect at 0:34
I only wish the phantom camera has continued to roll, for once thed Chairman of the DNC got off the bus, the real action began. Okay, so it wasn't exactly talent show pandemonium, but there was enough paint-tradin' to keep it interesting. Truth is, the biggest barrier between me and my bounty at these events isn't the guy with the Sony on his shoulder and station logo on his tit. It's the housewife with the handy-cam, the college kid with the digital SLR, the tax attorney with the magic Blackberry. Hey, I'm all for citizen journalism (really!), but if you're going to wander into the scrum, could you at least observe some protocol? I can backpedal down a spiral staircase with three other guys I don't even like and still not spark fisticuffs. Can the cat lady with crochet-covered camera-phone please dig her elbows out of my spleen? I got a family to feed!
Anyway, when the former Presidential candidate finally took the stage I untangled myself from the weaponized electorate and slunk back my spot on the camera platform. There I joined my colleagues for a little tripod catnap, a time-honored tradition among the photog nation. It's not that I don't pay attention, but pointing a camera at a talking head ain't exactly laser eye surgery. I for one can concoct whole operas in my head while still catching every cliche in living color. In fact, the only thing that would have pulled me out of my trance was a repeat of the screech that ended this physician''s presidential hopes in the first place. That didn't happen of course, though Dean did draw a laugh when he began listing states - only to stop himself, lest he make that gay cowboy sound again. When he didn't I looked around and saw Tom Lassiter, slowly rotating. Figuring he was making another one of his 360 degree masterpieces, I struck the appropriate pose.
That's me, in the middle of the riser, pretending to be awake.