I’m not sure why I’m sharing this story, other than it popped in my head the other day and gave me a little giggle. Not a full on LOL, mind you, but a light GOL. It’s not even my most embarrassing moment working in television news, or even that embarrassing at all.
But I find it amusing, and it speaks to the perils of being a one-man-band; juggling all your gear and driving from story-to-story by yourself.
It all started when I drove to a local Santa Rosa movie theater to cover one story or another (I don’t remember! It was either about the premier of a local documentary on fishing in Sonoma County, or it was at that point in down economy that the “Movie Theaters as a Staycation” story was hitting the news cycle hard).
In any case, I was outside the theater waiting for the management to arrive and getting some establishing shots of the theater when I heard an obnoxious car alarm going off. It was seriously ruining the NATs, and it was going on, and on, and on. I assumed it belonged to someone dining in the nearby restaurant, which was on the other side of the movie theater, and wondered why nobody was going outside to turn it off. It just continued to drone on: “beep… beep… beep…”
And then I saw a man approaching me in the distance. I was pretty sure he was one of the diners. As he neared he asked, “Are you TV50?”
“Yes,” I said, looking sideways at my camera and tripod.
“Your car alarm has been going off for a while.”
Oh. The beeping car that had been annoying me and everyone around me for a good ten minutes was the station vehicle! It was on the other side of the movie theater, the same side as the restaurant, so it was out of my line of sight.
It was obvious what had happened. When I was trying to juggle the camera, tripod, mic, XLR cable, and papers, I jammed the keys in my pocket, which triggered the “panic” button on the key fob.
I fumbled with the key fob and turned off the alarm, giving everyone’s ears a much-needed rest.
Little did I know my fob-fumbling unlocked the cargo gate on the station SUV.
When the shoot was done, I put the gear in the back seat and started on the drive back to the station. It was a very short drive, but on some of downtown Santa Rosa’s busiest streets. And the tailgate started opening. Slowly, it just kept creeping up. By the time I was just a couple of blocks from the station, the rear gate of the door was all the way up, giving all the drivers behind me a front-row seat to the back of our SUV. There was nothing to see, but I’m sure everyone was thinking what an airhead I must be to not know my rear door was up. You see, my mom had the same car, but it was a much older version. Hers only opened from the window up. This one, the entire rear cargo door was for most part opened up, meaning drivers could not only see the floor , but there was a huge tailgate towering over traffic behind me.
Needless to say, I made it back to the station ok, and in time to share my airhead story with my co-workers.