Life’s been hectic.
I’m not complaining. Just stating a fact.
My worlds collided last week, including my newest world — the one in which my child has cystic fibrosis.
Because of that, I met lovely person Alyssa Siler, whose daughter, Hayden, has CF.
Well, Alyssa and her husband are just some of those “on-it” types who like to be the best they can be.
That’s why she went ahead and competed to be Mrs. Oklahoma, so she could spread cystic fibrosis awareness throughout the land. She won. And she did.
That’s why her husband, Ryan, trained for the Boston Marathon, one of the most elite races in the world.
Eli had just gone down for a nap a week ago Monday. I set Laila up with a little Netflix cartoon and ambled around Facebook to procrastinate from the next task, a dreaded one indeed: the dishes. We do not have a dishwasher.
I’m not complaining. Just stating a fact.
As I poked around on social media, Alyssa posted on her Facebook page that her husband had called to say he was OK. OK after explosions at the finish line.
News of this attack had not yet spread.
Well, it did. Oh, it did.
I called. I made sure she was OK. Ryan was OK. She was crying. He couldn’t find his friends.
Then I asked if I could interview her.
I hate being a reporter sometimes.
“You can say no,” I told her. “I’m so sorry you have to go through this right now.”
What was I, demented (?!)
I thought this to myself, as I often do when I request interviews at inopportune moments.
“It’s OK,” she assured me. “You need to let people know what’s going on.”
While we were talking, local reporters started messaging her.
Screw the dishes.
I love being a reporter sometimes.
I e-mailed my editor. She told me to take it easy – it was my day off!
But I didn’t want to do the housework I whined back.
I spoke with Alyssa and then I talked to Ryan. He was a block away, at his hotel, when the blasts went off. His voice shook as he described the fear he experienced when he couldn’t find a fellow runner from Oklahoma.
As you can imagine, runners who train at the level it takes to get to a race like the Boston Marathon are a pretty tight knit crew.
I passed the Silers’ interviews along to the sports team at my work since their people were handling the local coverage. I’m not sure if the interviews made it in the final story, but the sports editor relayed he’d posted Alyssa’s interview online.
I was ambling around on Facebook again today, and found CareerCast ranked newspaper reporter “worst job” in its 2013 study.
With the shrinking job pool, uncertain future and stagnant paychecks…I get it.
Yet I’ve worked worse gigs – plenty of them — to get here.
What was the worst?
Wow. Gotta think on that one.
Others’ dirty sheets. Yaaaay.
Dish washer at retirement home kitchen?
Whose dentures are these…
That last one comes with sub categories: third-shift pizza waitress (annoying, drunk college students), sports bar waitress (annoying, drunk men and their sweaty, grasping paws) or German Oktoberfest waitress (annoying, drunk, non-tipping Europeans).
Hard to say.
I always got to leave. I was working to get somewhere else.
Now I get to tell people what’s going on.
It gets into your blood.
The rumor mill spins out of control when tragedies like Boston, Newtown, Aurora, (and on and on) occur. Misinformation travels faster than ever before.
Someone somewhere described the phenomenon of a rumor spreading as being like feathers from an opened down pillow, blown out into the wind. Poof.
Ya want those back?
Paha! Not happening.
In our digital age, the wind is coming out of one of those weird, extreme hand dryer things, shooting out sharp gales of hot air non-stop. Except these alarmingly powerful hand dryer thingies are positioned everywhere! The bits of information fly all over the world in every direction, confusing everyone!
Laila is afraid of those new-fangled, weirdly powerful hand dryers.
“Too loud!” she yells, covering her ears.
I like to use them – fast and efficient, who wouldn’t? And yet I agree with my 3-year old daughter.
A well-trained journalist can ignore rumor, cut through the noise and verify the truth.
Do we screw up?
Yeah. Oh yeah.
CNN and AP put out an alert that JFK Library had been bombed.
I texted Alyssa this news. There was a third bombing. I told her I had just gotten off the phone with her husband and he was in his hotel, not out in the city.
This created more worry on her part, I’m sure.
Great, the psychos were still out blowing things up in the city where her husband was stuck after terrifying bomb blasts.
The news organizations quickly recalled the third bombing story.
I texted her right away. I apologized for the inaccurate information on behalf of all media.
I was so ashamed.
We reporters need to slow down.
The runners from Oklahoma – around 60 of them — were all OK.
Ryan let me know he found who he was looking for.
I breathed a sign of relief.
It was now time to disconnect.
I turned off my phone, played with Laila, hugged wee Eli.
At the end of the day, I get a family that welcomes me back with open arms from a world gone mad.
Nothing beats that.