html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Still reserving judgment, 'cause I don't un-decide things.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Still reserving judgment, 'cause I don't un-decide things.

At any party in Northern California, you can always talk about the Bay/Delta.

In the comments below, Francis finally prompted me to tell y'all why I am this close to writing off television news reporters.


I was so lonely when I first moved to Sacramento. My then-boyfriend had just left for a year in another country; I liked my co-workers but they were all grown-ups with families; I wasn't playing Ultimate yet, so I didn't know how to meet people. I was painfully lonely. I knew it would end when school started in eight months, but for a few months I had no one on the weekends. I used to go on five hour walks, just so I wasn't sitting home lonely.

I joined my garden and met a very nice couple of exactly the sort of people I like. I was so thrilled when they invited me to a party, which I assumed would be with more people of the sort I like! I could make friends! I went to the party and forced myself to talk to people. I know y'all think I'm the extrovert, but even for me, chatting up strangers at a party is hard work. So I was trying. I was being friendly and following up on small talk and walking over to people standing alone. It was hard, really hard, but I didn't want to miss the chance at local friends.

I was eavesdropping on a circle of five or six strangers when one of them mentioned CALFED, the agency working on Bay-Delta issues. This was IT! I was IN! CALFED? I can talk CALFED. Shit, I was working for the FED half of that at the time. So I said, all friendly like, "Oh, are you guys talking about CALFED?". The pretty woman standing next to me turned, said in a scornful tone "Don't ask me to explain CALFED to you." and stepped in front of me to cut me out of the circle. It was astonishingly blatant and Heather-esque.

That was the end of the party for me. I just left. Anyway, she'd been introduced to me earlier and she was a TV news reporter. So that was strike one.

Strike two came years later, while I was waiting for a friend at a sushi bar. The super slick, super image-aware guy who'd struck out with a couple girls came over to sit by me. I don't think he was really hitting on me. I'm not polished like the other women he'd tried for. I think it was just habit for him to chat up women, keep his hand in. So he was alternately telling me how very much he was paying in rent for the new trendy apartments upstairs but it was so worth it to be in the scene, you know, and chatting up the bartenders, who all knew him. One was pissed at him for getting an underage girl a drink, but the guy said he didn't know she was underage, man, he just came upstairs and she was all naked in his bed! and what could you do, you know? So he bought her a drink after. Hey, did the bartender get her name?

He also told me that as a student at an international school in Switzerland, he made friends with a guy whose father was a diplomat in South Africa, which is how he got to be there when Nelson Mandela was released. It was deep, you know. Just... so... deep. Like, to be there, at history. He said he's in the background of pictures of Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and he'd blown one of those pictures up past life-size and it was the wallpaper on one wall of his apartment. I was inclined to believe him; I certainly had no doubt that he would turn such an incredible image of human hope and resiliency into a vanity project. I was glad when my friend showed up, although a trifle curious what other tool things the guy'd have told me if we'd talked longer. Anyway, he was a TV reporter too.

My only two encounters with TV reporters were both extreme, and while I don't want to rush into any decisions, one more like that and I'll be done with TV reporters.


Blogger Marcus said...

This makes total sense.

5:35 PM  
Blogger jens said...

Generalizing from two encounters...bu t then the second one was both a reporter AND a former about a twofer!

6:44 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

Of course this indicates you don't watch TV news.

Otherwise you'd have been done with them YEARS ago. At least as soon as you say any story about water management.

7:46 PM  
Blogger fasolamatt said...

Once is happenstance...
Twice is circumstance...
The third time, it's enemy action.

(Goldfinger in "Goldfinger" by Ian Fleming)

I think your allowance and tolerance for fools is more than adequate.


5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this small-to-midsize college town, the guy on the next street is a tv reporter. He does sports. I met him because I was buying a bag from his cameraman.

The only thing that struck me as odd was how humble they were. True story.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hmmmm. Counter-example. I don't know if it outweighs the party rudeness and the slickster talking about himself. But, I am still open-minded on this one... pending a third outrageous tv reporter.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Did you find out through other means that the sushi bar dude really was a TV reporter, or did he just say he was? It wouldn't be surprising if he used that as a pickup line.

Though the naked underage girl in bed is a really strange line for a pickup artist to use.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Francis said...

I really (to the nth power) prefer talking to print press. They tend to be much more engaged in the topic.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

Print journalists hate television reporters, so I'm a suspect source. for what it's worth though, I had to go to dinners with a lot of them. There were some really great people. But a lot more of them were just incredibly insecure and rude. I think the ratio was about 1:3. but I did notice that the people who made it along time were the great people. The new ones, the lower ranked ones, were the godawful human pirahnas.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Dagon said...

As a strategy, what is your reason for preferring to only have one final judgement, which you delay because you never un-decide things? I'm doing my best to have early, low-confidence judgements that I'm free to change as more evidence comes in.

I un-decide things a lot. It's pretty liberating. Or at least that's my opinion today.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Oh Dagon, I don't have an intellectual strategy for that. It is just how I work. There's no middle ground for me. I forgive anything, give anyone the benefit of the doubt, trust anyone, until the day I am DONE, and then I am DONE with that person and they may as well have died for all the attention I ever give them again.

I'm like that with a lot of things. I can't watch a little TV, 'cause I would watch TV ALL THE TIME, so I don't have a TV. I have no inbetween setting, so I have to choose between the extremes. I am pleasant and easy-going, and there is a huge amount of stuff I just don't care about. But for the stuff I care about, I usually have a very strong opinion.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Television reporter or television anchor? My brother (who has been both and has a general disdain for "news readers") would strongly insist you have to distinguish between the two and the later better fits the stereotype of your experiences.

And I will make a small plea for understanding on the grounds that I believe most local television reporters have miserable jobs. They are not paid that much, they can be replaced in a heartbeat for any reason including gaining 5 pounds or the boss not liking your hair cut (the later happened to my brother, they kept him off the air until he got it basically buzzed), and at the local level they basically get to follow the police around to auto accidents and murder scenes until they burn out. My brother started off in Iowa and as the youngest reporter got to be the storm chaser following tornadoes around to interview people who just lost their houses (he once had to take cover in a slaughter house, funny story if you are not cooking or eating meat at the time). Then he moved to a larger market and they told him to go with a camera crew and cold call on the houses of folks who had lost relatives in the war. None of which excuses basic incivility, but if there was ever a job other than police officer or divorce lawyer that could give you a sour personality, I think this is it.

Sorry for the length of the post.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Next you guys will be telling me that people's experiences as ex-pats can be very different and that I shouldn't pre-judge entire groups of people and that I should meet individuals with an open mind, even if they are ex-pats or tv reporters. That's just too much. Who could live that way?

8:53 PM  

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