This morning, I left my car at the repair shop because the brakes were kind of…pulsing when I used them. Recognizing this as abnormal and possibly dangerous – because let’s face it, brakes are kind of a cool feature to have in a hulking half-ton vehicle - I figured I ought to have them looked at. The diagnosis was a whole bunch of things that needed to be done that cost the equivalent of two car payments or 40 huge bottles of Bombay Sapphire or 200 Happy Meals or approximately 800 iTunes tracks. And that’s just the total of the things I agreed to let them do.
Nevertheless, I decided that this would not ruin my day. The repair shop is next to Metro, and I arranged my appointment so I would have time to hop on the train, go one stop north in time to make a meeting with a potential new client. Because I am chronically early for appointments (except for when I’m late), I arrived with time to kill and set off in search of the nearest Starbucks, toting my laptop bag so I could find a place to steal access some WiFi and do some work this afternoon while the repair shop raped me returned our vehicle to its roadworthy state.
I’m wandering around, trying to engage my Starbucks-radar, when a really pretty woman with blonde hair, big brown eyes and impossibly white teeth, and a microphone and a cameraman, stops me and asks if I’m familiar with the $520 million budget shortfall facing our county, and the proposal of permitting ambulances to charge an $800 fee for service which, if one has health insurance, could be passed through it, but if one does not, would be one’s very own responsibility.
“Well,” I said, appearing thoughtful and concerned and trying not to stammer or say “um”, “If I’m calling an ambulance, I’m probably going to do that first and think about the bill later, but it would be a shame for someone in that situation to have to think twice before calling for the help they need, or having to deal with a big bill later.”
Then the camera man ran a few paces down and asked me to walk towards him so he could “get a shot” of me walking. At least he didn’t instruct me to “act natural.”
DC-area readers – all three of you – this was Channel 7 and I have no idea whether I’ll make the cut to tonight’s news, but check it out. She made me spell my name and everything. There’s a story about it on their website now, but I’m not in it; if I make the later version, I’ll post a link here.
Now, you might think that because I live in the Washington, DC area, I get stopped for man-on-the-street interviews all the time, but the reality is, it only happens once every 13 years. When Bubta was but a wee baby, Soup Husband Curt and I used to strap his chubby body into a stroller and go for after-dinner walks. As it happened, we lived near a Metro station, it was early summer, and there had just been a couple of after-dark muggings in the vicinity.
The reporter was camped out in the neighborhood across the road from the Station, and he and his heavily made-up face hopped out of his van and asked us if we would care to comment. Sure! We agreed. Then he proceeded to ask us both if we were concerned for our safety while walking in the area.
“Not really,” I said into the microphone. “I don’t often walk after dark with the baby, so it doesn’t really worry me.”
Next he asked Curt a question, then one more for me, and off we went to soothe the baby who was starting to fuss. Imagine our surprise, then, when the story that aired on the late news contained exactly none of Curt’s comments and twisted my words to make it seem like I was Really! Freaking! Out! about this imminent threat to my safety.
“WE SPOKE WITH MEG AND CURT MCCORMICK AS THEY WERE OUT WALKING WITH THEIR BABY [cut to cliche shot of us pushing a baby stroller] – AND IT WAS DEFINITELY ON THEIR MINDS!”
After that experience, I have no idea what the Pretty Talking Head will do with my comment. Guess we’ll have to tune in and see. Meanwhile, look for me next on the news in the year 2022, when I am asked to comment on how the calamity du jour is affecting me personally.
Filed under: DC, Minutiae, news of the weird, perspective, sign of the times, social norms, updates | Tagged: ambulance fee, car service, Channel 7, man on the street interviews, news reporters | 8 Comments »