You there, with the wrinkly fingers and soaking wet logos...is THIS what you envisioned when you wormed your way into television? Standing watch outside some rattling live truck as a reporter sprays the interior in cliches and hairspray? I sure didn't. Then again, I was in naval boot camp a good week before it dawned on me I'd soon be living on a boat. But I didn't log in to plumb the depths of my perception. Rather, I wanna talk about the rain. You know that predictably liquidity that every so often drenches the hinterland? Seems to me mankind should be used to it by now, but when what was left of Hurricane Ida parked over the Piedmont this week, we in the media truly acted like the sky was falling. I guess it was.
According to one Axl Prescott Rose, 'Nothin' lasts forever, even cold November rain'. Codswallop! The fifty seven minutes I waited between newscasts the other night spanned several lifetimes. Then again, I was hunched over the business end of a heavy cable I'd stretched from truck to tripod, cap jammed low over my wet head as I cursed an ornery power strip and my current fate along with it. Speaking of currents, when did it become okay to thread extension cords through standing water? I've wired up live shots in hurricanes, flurries, blizzards and beach music festivals and never once fully understood how I didn't come away the brighter. Look Up and Live, I get; those power lines overhead could undo your day should you raise that the truck's mast into them. But orange drop cords and swirling blacktop? We need another slogan.
Of course erecting a set in the middle of a monsoon is only part of your continuing team smotherage. When you're the tip of the soggy spear, you gotta do it ALL: scour the lowlands for stagnant water, chase city crews as they unclog storm drains, suffer the cracks of a half dozen plumbers as they explain to a housewife why her basement playroom now has a swim-up bar, or - my personal favorite - hopscotch trouble spots for signs of flash flooding. A word on flash flooding: Nothing gets a newsroom suit more juiced than a voice on the scanner droppin' the F bombs. No sooner than that alliteration pierces the news cube than I'm back out in the elements, jonesin' for a really cool whirlpool like a junkie in need of a hit. It's time like this, when my very skivvies take on water weight, that I think of the viewer - that hapless taxpayer who - without my best efforts - might not know the sky has turned to water. It's then I ask myself...
"Don't you people have windows?"