Editors Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Election Day Hex

Leaning Tower of OvertimeAhhh, Election Day! There's no other twelve hour shift I'd rather spend making widgets than the day we put Democracy to the test. No matter where my news camera and I end up, it's usually an exercise in slow-motion. With that in mind, here are a few things members of the media can count on, no matter whose charlatan ascends to power. It's a lock!

A Change in Attitude

Sure, they've been sucking up every commercial break and robo-calling your dog when you're not home, but even your least favorite candidate is about to go all stoic. You'll first notice it at the poling place, where suddenly the guy in all those scathing campaign spots DOESN'T want to talk on camera. Instead, he just wants to look Presidential as he emerges from behind the curtain, hoping no cameras caught him fumbling with the 'Vote For Me' thingy seconds earlier. Give him space, he could burst into tears any moment.

Insightful Analysis

Somewhere around the first noon live shot, the electronic media's political acumen begins looking a little threadbare. First, there's the reporter stationed just outside the polling place who brazenly judges local turn-out by the number of people she spotted in her three minutes of being on-scene. Minus the ninety seconds she spent checking her look in the camera's lens reflection. Or the two minutes she spent coming up with a clever Facebook status update. Take that, Zogby!

Sustenance For All

Let's face it, election day is a long haul. From those useless live shots at 5 AM to the very last dose on speculation near midnight, the only thing not in short supply is all that overtime you didn't really want. Fear not, management is on your side. In fact, they just ordered two truckloads of pizza for your co-workers back at the station. Maybe if you're lucky, the weather guy will hold up a slice during his update. No licking the live truck monitors.

Danger at Every Turn

If you're unlucky enough to be camped out with a local candidate, you don't even have to check the tally to see how your guy is doing. If all is well the assembled throng will meet you with warmth and revelry, but if your candidate's falling behind, expect accusatory stares and the occasional rude hand gesture as those who welcomed you in earlier with a hardy back-slap will now be eyeing you with murderous rage Watch out - that lady in the tiara's clockin' your every move...

Danger at EVERY Turn!

She may look like your Grandma, but wander too close to a voting booth and that sweet old lady with the clipboard will carve a road map in your skull. Not sure why, exactly - but every polling place I've ever invaded has been run by some martinet in a crocheted vest. They mean well, but to a blue hair they're convinced you and your lens alone have the power to end Democracy as we know it. Don't laugh; I once saw a septuagenarian fend off a seasoned consumer reporter with nothing more than a number two pencil and a wicked back-swing.


jimgrey said...

I'd say the hex is the fact that station revenues drop precipitously now that the political ads go away!

cyndy green said...

The Elections Department must mass produce those blue-haired ladies. They were in SF when I worked there and now I'm retired they're at my rural fire station (with muckabouts). Hmmmm....now that I'm at that age, could I enlist???

Anonymous said...

I've been working in Louisiana for 3 years now and STILL can't get over the fact that I can walk in with my lens and shoot away; no questions asked.
I was raised in Texas, where you were lucky that E-Day weather was cloudy so you might get a glimpse of people voting when the door swung open. Or the HVAC unit was on the blink at the armory and they propped the doors open..