Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Adventures of a Reporter

All I can think to write about is work lately, because it's been consuming my life. Yesterday I worked 11 hours covering imminent flooding in small towns along the Cascade Mountains. Yes, four hours of driving to watch a river that was about to explode, when other rivers were already bursting at the seams, sending water into roads and homes.

When I first got to Concrete, Washington, I was bummed that "nothing was going on." The city felt dead and lifeless, wispy tendrils of mist hugged the foothills. The air was damp, the river about a mile away raging and swollen, churning bits of wood and debris. As I wandered through the desolate the streets with burned out buildings just a few blocks away, I found a few people standing outside a bar smoking cigarettes. Their teeth were yellow and crooked, hair long, beards unkempt. But these were the FRIENDLIEST people I've interviewed in a long time. They smiled and told me all about their flood preparations, how they were moving things to higher ground, and worried about the Skagit River. I walked into the bar to try to find some more interviews, and was immediately tempted to sit down and drink beer and just talk all day. Luckily I avoided the impulse, it wouldn't be very "cool" to be doing live reports drunk.
I love how the people in this small town all know each other, and help each other. It really felt like a real community. When there was imminent danger, these people stuck together. I heard those words over and over again in my conversations. "People helping people." "We're there for each other." I couldn't help but feel a little bit of sadness, in a big city like Seattle you probably wouldn't hear that. And Dick at one bar wouldn't know Jane a few doors down. I feel a little more of this community on Bainbridge Island, where people say hello on the ferry, and the neighborhood barber gossips about the owner of the restaurant down the street.
I had a great time exploring the outlying communties a few hours away from Seattle. I was also surprised by the sheer number of McCain/Palin and Rossi signs. I felt like I was in a different state, it was definately a different mindset.
One thing I love about being a reporter is meeting new people. There are definately some characters in the world, and I feel blessed to have an excuse to meet them.


McJumpguez said...

Yeah, that's what I'd like to find, but I guess we create our own pockets. But, I do think it would be weird to become friends with the starbucks guy, you know? But yeah, I think I'd like that sense of community.

Dan-Eric Slocum said...

Kristin. I've always said, "being a reporter is like taking a field trip every day."

It's a blast. Hard work. But, a blast.

Travis said...

living in the city we have a different kind of community.

I know the guy who checks my ID every morning at the gym.

I know the old guy with the little dog, the asian woman who works out at the gazebo, the blond runner woman all because they're part of my morning walk in the park with Sadie.

I went to the 5th Ave the other night and ran into 6 different people I know.

Today I stopped and talked with Rob McKenna at a news conference.

We do have community in a city..its just a different kind of community...and I do believe we pull together in times of crisis.

Kristin said...

Travis, that is true. When I think of the huge storms a couple years ago, people from ALL OVER the region helped each other out, and that was so good to see.

Colleen said...

The city is for sure a different kind of community. I grew up in small-town Marysville and it wasn't until I lived in the city and then moved back to Spokane (granted a big city, but with a small-town mindset) that I realized the wonderful difference between city and town living. I was blown away by how NICE everyone was in Spokane. It was a humbling reminder of my beginnings. Although I have found very nice people in the city, a lot are in their own bubble, ya know?

Sue said...

I remember being sent to Concrete when their 'police department' shut down. It was one guy who either retired or quit. Talk about small town. My mother-in-law also taught school there! Small town, small world.

danielskiffington said...

I think small towns get a bad rap from us city folk. Sure there are differences, but there is so much to admire about the simple life.