These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, August 19, 2005

the buzzards hover

i always feel sorta slimy when i have to talk to relatives of someone just freshly dead from a vehicle crash or a fire (thank goodness this one has yet to occur for me).

a reporter doing this is akin to a buzzard flying over a carass in the m iddle of a two-lane that has been hit by a car. they circle and circle, lower and lower, until they have to come down and take a piece of the carass.

this has happened at car crashes when i have attended as a reporter because i have to. i try to get what i can as soon as possible and get out. the cops usually don't have specific details until later anyway. and it would be uselss to remain as a scene for 2 to 3 hours sometimes because i'm not going to know any more than i did when i first arrived.

so i try to minimize my appearance at such a scene. but, these scenes do attract their spectators, who stand around watching, wide-eyed and mumbling stuff to each other, occasionally pointing at the scene. when dennis and i arrive at a scene, there are people there snapping photographs, presumably to sell themt o insurance companies.

at one such scene, a woman (who'd dennis had seen before at similar things) was snapping away with her young child by her side. that's so pathetic. and what compounded it was that several small children were involved in the car crash. this lady's kid's gonna have some great memories of his childhood.

coments have even been made about us showing up at a car crash or fire. the media circling in for the kill. what these people fail to realize is if i didn't have to be there for my job, i wouldn't stand around watching a grotesque scene like a car crash or house burn down. i'd rather be home. my imagination is strong enough that i dont' need that fix of twisted metal or the smell of burning shingles to give me a high.

brings me to my point, which is probably now very minor. we found out about this man who'd died in a motorcycle crash. we managed to find out the individual's phone number and i had to call. i prepared myself (usually it never helps) and called. i was surprised, though, how well it went and how quickly i managed to get the informatino. i even went to the parents' home and got a photograph of the son, giving my condolences to them.

that time it went Ok. but i still felt like a buzzard. luckily i don't have the hungry eyes some people do.


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