M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, January 13, 2003  

The timing of our Austin vacation was a little weird. I complained in Wednesday’s entry about a few minor botherations of our flights down, then learned that the day had seen not one, but two plane crashes. I bitched to Omar about the way our high-end hotel was nickel-and-diming us, and there was a hotel fire in the city within days (not in the hotel where we were staying, thank God). It’s like my complaining prompts the universe to remind me just how good I have it. So I should stop complaining. Thanks for reading, everyone. It’s been real.

No, obviously not.

But yesterday the hotel fire hit home in a way I didn’t expect. I was on my way to get some ice at the Austin Motel (thanks for the tip, Regan), and spotted a two-person news crew taping some footage. They also spotted me.

“Are you a guest here? Is this your first time staying here? Did you hear about the hotel fire here in town? Would you mind if we asked you a few questions?”

That last one was a little late.

“On camera?”

Oh. Okay. I’m in need of a haircut, a shower, a shave, and a shoe-tying, but what the hey? It’s not like anyone knows me in this town. Except Omar, of course, and he’s in San Francisco. Wait, he’s back now. On the other hand, he’s seen me at six a.m., so, again, what the hey?

They just wanted to take a few more establishing shots of the grounds before they shot me, which gave me just enough time to run my fingers through my rain-dampened mop and fill my ice bucket. The Austin Motel is one of those places without hallways, where you pull right up to the door of your room. The ice machine is right across the driveway from the front office. I scooped my ice and stood ready for my close-up.

When they were ready, they asked me to dump my ice back into the machine and scoop it again for the camera. I might have objected in the name of journalistic integrity, but you guys already know I don’t have one of those. So I dumped out the ice and scooped it back in as heroically as I could manage. The news is totally manufactured, y’all.

Those of you who’ve read these pages in the past know of my facility with words, my immense vocabulary, the startling extent of my articulateness. Here’s how that translates on video:

Reporter: When you check into a hotel, do you check and see if there are smoke detectors?

Me: Uhhh…

Reporter: Do you ever test the smoke detectors to see if they’re working?

Me: I…I…ummmm…

Reporter: Do you feel that it’s the hotel’s responsibility to make sure there are working smoke detectors?

Me: Fire bad! M. Giant fear fire!

Reporter: Okay, now we’re just going to get a shot of you walking back to your room. Thanks a lot.

Me: (turns and walks back to room, wishing my black trenchcoat would billow more in the breeze and that I were carrying a pair of smoking Glocks instead of a laden ice bucket, because how cool would I look then?)

From that, they somehow managed to find a few usable seconds of footage, and a few hours later I was watching myself on Channel 8 news while Trash ribbed me mercilessly.

Trash: I think they should ask the man on the street what he thinks.

Me: I think you should shut up.

Trash: But honey, how do you feel about hotel fire safety?

Me: Fire isn’t going to be your problem in a minute.

She’ll ease up on me eventually. The fact that she also mocked me later that night, today at the airport, and ten seconds ago probably doesn’t indicate anything.

Austinites, don’t bother turning on Channel 8 news now. I’m out of rotation by this point. If you happened to see me and wondered, “Who is that geek?” then I’ll claim to have made up the entire thing.

* * *

So we’re back home now. Once again, we didn’t get to do quite everything we wanted to do (including hanging out with Tim, but it’s just possible that I’ll be back for Journalcon 2003. Who’s got a couch for me?

posted by M. Giant 7:38 PM 0 comments


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