Hey, I'm no alarmist. Most mornings, I spring out of bed like a Ninja, snooze button unmolested. Okay, so I more closely resemble one of those wretched Geico cavemen before breakfast, but that's not what I logged in to discuss. No, I want to talk hurricanes. God knows I'd wish one on no land, but the harsh reality of it is WE. ARE. DUE. Yeah, I know the Gulf Coast is the current poster child for beleaguered regions (and rightly so), but I'm enough of a North Carolinian to remember when our own shores acted as magnets for every other storm with a nickname. Could 2005's Ophelia really be the last hurricane I covered? That seems impossible, but once you've spent a few days surviving on granola, Gatorade and gumption they all seem to blend together....
Which is fine by me.
Fact is, I got more hurricane stories than Jim Cantore on a bender (including a certain unplanned swim I'd sometimes like to forget). Huddling in stairwells, racing sheet-metal down empty beach boulevards, standing in sideways rain while some producer tells the talent to 'keep it short': why the memories are as fresh as a slicker-induced heat rash. Come to think of it, if I'm not careful I'm gonna break out in hives, for no matter how cool a war story that storm coverage will one day make, actually being there is an exercise in suck. Sleep deprivation, hotels that kill the power moments after you check in, gas station food. And that's before the headlining wind ever blows on shore. Once it hits, the real work begins. And with hollow-eyed homeowners standing in line for water, nobody gives one plump shit if the logos you're wearing are less than fresh.
It's almost enough to make this aging photog duck for cover the next time the meteorologist gets weatherection that lasts more than four hours. Almost.
But who am I kidding? I'm certain I'll be among the fools angling for marching orders days before the next storm threatens our coast. Why? Hard to say; it's thoroughly miserable business. In fact, the only thing worse than dodging trash can lids on deadline is watching from afar as your friends and enemies do so without you. Besides, who wants to stick around town and shoot bloodmobiles when the real action is on the coast. Not me - which is why my runbag is already packed. I just wonder what all that continuous storm team smotherage will look like in the age of Twitter accounts and flip cams. Will a new breed of iPhone warriors join the stoned surfers and prickly paramedics out there in the rising surf? Will the current generation of reporters be able to go live continuously - withOUT constantly updating their Facebook pages? Will all those hi-def lenses make the reporter's ass look fat? Or just really, really defined?
Lemme get back to you on that.