As I drove into Raleigh, North Carolina, my cell phone rang and my boss Riff purred at me with a sarcastic tone. "Is this Bill?"
"Yes Riff, it's me."
"Is this Bill Thomas?"
"What can I do for you, Riff," I asked with just a twinge of impatience.
"The Bill Thomas who drives cars badly and pisses of our clients wherever you go?"
"What does that mean?"
"It means I got a complaint about you, butterball. You asked that guy in Memphis to use his bathroom."
"Now wait a minute Riff, that guy said to be there at 10am sharp and he didn't show up until 11am.
I was waiting in an office and asked the receptionist politely if I could use the facilities."
"Oh, I get it now. You're a complete moron and can't help yourself. Haven't you ever heard of the rule where you never, ever ask to use the bathroom at a customer's office."
"No I do not know that rule. And I was waiting for an hour."
"Dammit, I don't care if you're waiting for ten hours. If you have to go, just squeeze your butt cheeks together and hold it."
"Not possible when I have to go."
"Then go out to the freakin' bushes or behind a tree, but don't you ever go to the bathroom again." He hung up on me, and I wondered if he had meant EVER... for the rest of my life?
I was driving a mobile TV studio installed in the back of a big van. It had a sattellite dish on top that extended up high for remote broadcasts. I found the studio I was to deliver to in Raleigh and jumped out of the van. I walked into a side door marked for delivery. A big, blustery man with a bright red face and a shock of white hair came marching up to me and said, "Did you bring the donuts?"
I was confused, and assumed this was a case of mistaken identity. "No, no donuts."
He looked flustered and shook his head with an air of disappointment. "That's a bad start to your first day. Take care of it." He walked away, fairly exasperated. I turned around to see a frantic woman running towards me carrying a large box. She shoved it into my arms. I was baffled.
"Get these to editing room eight right now!" she shouted at me.
"For God's sake, we are on the air in ten minutes! Hurry, go, now, now, now!!"
I ran off in search of editing bay eight, and when I found it a guy opened the door and grabbed the box from me. "Took you long enough!" he said, without one ounce of gratitude.
Then I heard a herd of people coming towards me, led by an aggressively nervous man who was barking orders at those following him. "Second bank robbery this week in downtown Durham. Get over there, get interviews, talk to the cops, you know the drill." He stopped right in front of me and pointed a finger in my face. "You!"
I demured. "Me?"
"Yes you. I need you to drive the crew over in the news van. We just got a new one in out back."
"Yes sir, but you should know--"
He quickly interrupted. "All I need to know is that you are on your way to take my crew to cover the bank robbery. Go, go, go!"
I didn't have anywhere to be, and thought maybe this could be an adventure. Heck, nearly every day on my job is one big adventure. I got back into the van I had delivered, and the crew climbed in the back. I followed the GPS directions to downtown Durham, where it wasn't hard to find the bank with all the cop cars and emergency vehicles all over the place. I watched with fascination while the beautiful lady reporter interviewed cops, victims, eyewitnesses. And for me personally, it was cool to watch the technicians in the back of the van running the machinery that made it all work.
When we finally got back to the station, I was greeted at the door by the station manager. In my absence, he had figured out who I was and what had happened. He was extremely nice to me and full of apologies. I explained that it was an interesting experience and that I only hoped I would not get in trouble for it. He said that he'd rather it just stay our little secret, and I was happy to agree to that. He gave me a station jacket, then said he'd have to go. But he encouraged me to watch the bank robbery report on the news.
I nodded and chuckled. "Film at 11?"
He looked at me gravely serious and said, "No, no, this will be on the noon news."
Then I saw the red faced man who had been searching for donuts earlier headed my way, and decided to make a quick departure.