On weekends I change from a mild-mannered cubicle dweller into an ace newspaper reporter, which is my true identity. I do not have a cape, but I have 7 pens, a steno pad and a slightly expired press pass that never fails to get me a good parking spot.
After so many hours at my regular job, sending emails that keep getting forwarded from person to person while no one claims responsibility ("Perhaps Bob Smith can help you on the project. Bob?" Bob: "Sorry, this isn't my area of responsibility but Andrea Carter knows about this." Andrea: "Since the reorganization I don't own this area any more"...and so forth) it is refreshing to get out and look people in the face and talk to them. Besides, most staff writers would like Saturdays off, instead of going out and cover goofy stuff like parades and food festivals.
I reported on Memorial Day today and was determined not to make the rookie mistake of getting a blistering sunburn at the event. I slathered myself in sunscreen, stuffed 400 kleenexes into my purse (allergies are kicking my butt), grabbed my notepad and took off.
The event was easy to cover, a piece of cake. Except for the fact that it was hot, and I guess I was sweating, because sunscreen got in my eyes.
I was already a little runny from my allergies and being outside standing in a field of grass, but then the terrible pain in my eyes began and I started crying. Not a little dab-at-the-corner-of-your-eyes crying, either. Full on tears, flowing freely down my face, unstoppable.
Some people mistook my heaving sobs for overwhelming emotion at the sacrifice of our service members and nodded approvingly in my direction. For one moment I was seen as a super patriot, not as a despised member of the America-hating, peacemongering, liberal media!
I interviewed one woman who turned out to be a nutcase. This happens every so often as a reporter. You walk up to enough strangers and start asking them questions and some of them are bound to be off their tree.
She took a look at me crying and decided I needed prayer. She did a laying on of hands and beseeched the Lord on my behalf. I thanked her kindly, because she was right. At that point nothing short of a miracle could have helped me.
I peered at the program through my tears. We were only on the Civil War and we still had both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq to get through. I was okay until the bagpiper came out and then I knew it was time for me to hit the road. A girl can only stand so much suffering in one day.
Anyway, I survived. A day in the sun, commemorating our fallen appropriately, and a couple dollars in the bank. But next time, I'm getting the sweatproof sunscreen.