Say what you will about Dubya; the guy’s on time. He and Air Force One swooped down from the heavens right on schedule today, rolling to a stop in front of a camera platform filled with shivering press. I was but one among them, a flinty lenslinger squinting into the morning sun as jet fumes permeated my every pore. That’s right: I got sucked into the mix. What can I tell ya? One day I’m stalking housewives at a discount thrift store, the next I’m being felt up by a guy in camouflage while two of his buddies fondle their wands. Turnabout’s fair play, deputy- but unless there’s more in my pockets than a couple of half-dead Double A batteries, can we skip the orifice probe ... please? I am a married man. Hmm? Right - where was I? Oh yeah, freezing my tripod off in front of the Decider in Chief. Yeah, by the time he emerged from the depths of his most tricked-out ride, I’d been on scene for nearly three hours. But I hadn’t spent the time daydreaming...
Instead I tore through my morning with Presidential zeal, deciphering the many conflicting edicts handed down by men with sunglasses and sour dispositions, grappling with testy electronics and - as always - carrying out the mission and whims of my perceived superiors. There were times this morning I feared my cell phone was going to burst into flames from sheer overuse Who gets dragged off to Guantanamo Bay if that happens - HMMMM? It won’t be the weather bunny. Anyway, let’s review: It was an early morning and quite the cold one. I presented my credentials and entered non-negotiations with the Secret Service on the matter of where we local folk might park our TV trucks. After more than a few furtive gestures, it was decided we could perch alongside the tarmac’s edge and thread our cable over the fence. This we accomplished quickly, despite a flurry of calls telling us A.) they’ll break into programming the moment the pilot throws that jumbo jet in Park, B.) the 5 and 6 o clock producers both want separate packages and C.) Can the chatter - we’re streaming this live to the web and that last knock-knock joke was borderline offensive!
As for the President, he came, he waved, he went. Sure, he presented some elderly women with a service award, but the details of their exchange were lost to the echoes of the tarmac. From where I stood, she could have been Leslie Nielsen in a dress and a shawl, I dunno. What I do know is, no matter how I might gripe, I’m well equipped to ride this flatbed trailer bound for nowhere. The people beside me are cool - if not a bit smart-alecky and who really needs feeling in your face this early in December, anyway? Pointing a camera at an airplane doesn’t require too much skill and after a nice quiet Thanksgiving break, I’m just the man for the job. I just worry about Chad. All was going well with my reporter for the day until those civilians took one look at his sensible dark suit and mistook him a Secret Service Agent. At first he laughed it off, but now he’s talking into his shoe again.
Hope he’s ordering a pizza.