Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Little Things

It's amazing how a small inconvenience can snowball into a thunderous rage.

Monday heralds the demise of the weekend, but brings with it the potential for a week full of stories into which a shooter can sink his creative teeth. A certain orange cat sees Monday as a day better spent at home, because it is usually the worst day of the week. I stroll into the station somewhere in-between. My recent stretch on-call was quiet, and it is with glee that I return the pager to the assignment desk, where it will wait until the next hapless soul takes on its burden.

As the weight lifts from me, I fell my shoulders straighten and my spine lose the bow it had assumed. Unfortunately the pistol shots sounding from my joints give away my position to the Assignment Editor, who happens to be looking for a lens-jockey to send to an apartment fire. No one is home or injured, so I arrive back at the station in short order, wondering what fate is being assigned to me.

A few months ago, Ace Reporter Scott Satchfield and I did a story on the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Along with LA State Police, they were creating a database of the vehicles that had fallen victim to Katrina's floodwater. Now some of those vehicles are showing up on car lots in other states, from sea to shining sea. We've got an interview set up with the NICB guys, but it's not for a couple of hours, so we head out to see if any of the used car lots in town are checking the cars they take in. As expected, none of them want anything to do with this story, but it was worth a shot.

Lunch is next on the agenda, and where the day starts to go downhill. Short on cash, and time, I decide to eat first and hit the ATM after the interview. It's a quickie, as promised, but then we have to follow the guys to another location to get b-roll and a stand-up. I'm a little dry, but I can wait until we get back to quench my thirst.

Our arrival at the station goes horribly wrong. I'm met at the door by the Ass. Ed.(sic) and told that I will be leaving soon with another reporter. Her photog is out shooting something else. The one and only V soon informs me that we are off to shoot a package on the PD's Fallen Heroes Golf Tournament. Hmmm, it's 3 PM and my first story is in the 6 PM show. Since I'm picking up this shoot, I'm sure the desk will just assign the other photog to edit my package. Not the ideal situation, but it happens often here.

The shoot goes well, except that I still haven't had a drink since the milk from my cereal bowl. To top it off, everywhere I look is a golfer with a frosty beer in his hand. A longing look lingers on every can, but I'm on the clock, and unfortunately the only water I see is the condensation clinging to the cans. A-thirsting I must go.

At five o'clock the Nextel squawks out a request for my ETA. "About ten minutes," is my reply, to which I'm told that my package is ready and waiting at the desk! After picking it up, I learn that it is also the lead. I throw it together and walk out the door with my shift over and the show open rolling; thoroughly disgusted at the inablility of The Desk to properly allocate resources. A caffeine deficient photographer is a dangerous thing, and luckily no one gave me cause to haul them out of their car and beat them, but a few came close and the mighty Titan roared away from every stop sign in the last five miles of my trip.

I guess my truck will get to drink heartily at the gas pump.

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