As if there weren’t enough indignities attached to procuring video already, starting today we news shooters have to do so while dressed like a crossing guard. Okay, so it only applies when your alongside any ’federal-aid roads’ (whatever the hell they are), but the fact of the matter is the photog in your life has a shiny new addition to his or her wardrobe. I’m not talking about those shirts with the hula girls on it, and those mud colored corduroys have been a part of photog attire since the early seventies. No, I’m talking about the safety vest - that highly reflective armless wonder sported by road crews and parking attendants the world over. And to think I gave up an aborted career in radio for this!
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why wouldn’t a responsible, suburban father of two like myself be happy about a little increased safety? Really, I am. If swaddling my torso in neon green is what it takes to get me home each night, then bring on the day-glo! I’m just a little concerned that this new vest regulation is more about protecting someone else’s red tape factory than my lowly sack of bones. Then again, I’m well past the age of fascination when it comes to fender-benders. We got lots of interstate highways here in the Greater Piedmont Googolplex and I’m happy to keep off each and every one of them. It ain’t so bad at 70 miles per hour; but playing Frogger across six lanes just so I can shoot video of some jackknifed semi is no longer one of my career goals. Then again, my idea of proper rain gear is to stay the hell inside. Hey, aren’t we supposed to get smarter as we age?
Don’t bother answering. Just know that I’ll rock the lime-green girdle ever time I think to dig it out of new Unit 4. I just hope I don’t miss getting footage of that smoking spaceship in the middle of I-40 ‘cause I’m still wrestling with the cursed thing! The other day it took me ten minutes to wiggle into it and that was without the smell of bent sheet metal in the air making me all dizzy. By the time I did get it on, that imaginary sinkhole had all but dried up. I can see it now: ‘This ninety seconds of silence brought to by photographer Stewart Pittman - who can’t seem to get his arms back up over his head!’ Just call me John McCain...
Anyway, it ain’t like I got much of a choice. I’m told roving patrols of federalistas will be out looking for an media crews operating sans jerkin. What kind of fine or punishment they may levy is unknown, but I don’t want to be the first photog who has to do fifty push-ups while choking on live truck fumes. So laugh all you want, Mike James! I’ll be crawling over concrete barriers out on the bypass, fighting the urge to go round up grocery carts and hoping no stoner plows me into 60 miles to the gallon 'cause he thinks I'm the guy who helped him park his hybrid at that Widespread Panic show the other night. Now help me get this thing off, wouldya?