Saturday, July 04, 2009

Millions of Peaches

I'd barely stepped foot in the newsroom when someone glanced at me and uttered the P-word. I didn't fight it. I just crawled back into my mobile cocoon, popped in a favorite CD and kicked it to Biscoe. Actually, I drove w-a-y past that highway hamlet, coming damn near Candor before finding the sort of emporium I was looking for. Johnson's: a roadside oasis boasting cold ice cream, sweet people and super fruit. It was there I gorged for a full forty minutes, filling my lens with plenty of Prunus persica before striking out for the orchard that bore those glorious orbs. That's where things got sticky. See, what used to be silent laminate wedged between the seats is now a smug touchscreen insisting I ignore the new by-pass and twelve miles of clogged logging road instead... Okay, I got a little lost, but I'm tellin' ya, that smarmy bitch inside my GPS don't know squat about Montgomery County! That - or I got distracted by that peach cobbler ice cream concoction I juggled over the wheel ... Turbulence or not, THAT thing was righteous!

Anyway, by the time I barrelled into the orchard I was fat, dumb and unhappy to be late so I sprayed the place while shouting questions the man who ran the place, a nice old chap with hearing aids in both ears. I tried to smile a lot to let him know I wasn't dangerous, but he had to wonder why the rumpled TV man with sherbet on his chin was in such a gol'durn' hurry. (Sorry, Pops, I'll take the whole tour later.) When finally I did roll up on El Ocho, I was saddle-sore and still swatting fruit flies, but I had to finish the task! Sooo, I locked myself in an edit bay, sliceed out a few soundbites and clumped a fee cliches around them. Soon after I popped out of my bay to find Bob Buckley wandering by. With little more than a "How do you do?", I jammed my new words into his hand and pushed him into an audio booth. The next fifty minutes I spent hunched over a candy-colored keyboard, watching a timeline form at the flick of a sticky fingertip. I'd hoped to go funky with the musical bit, but I barely had enough time to fill in the black...

Still, I sent it to the servers down the hall with no great degree of shame - a good minute and a half before it eventually aired. That's a lifetime in my business and - deadline aside - my finished piece was no great shakes. But as I headed for the door, I couldn't help but feel like a winner anyway. I even noticed a co-worker's raised eyebrow of respect as I brushed by her out the door.

Of course it could have been the chunks of waffle cone stuck in my beard.

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