Tuesday, July 10, 2012

shit sandwich with the crusts cut off -part one

The assignment was straightforward: go to the Greenbrier, watch the concert, write about what I saw. But just going to the show was a huge investment of time: two hours down, two hours back. I'd bill for mileage.

My editors wanted a second story out of me, which seemed fair, and we agreed I'd talk to some of the people who'd helped put the concert series together about dealing with the aftermath of a series of storms which had blown through a few days before. Thousands were still without power --yours truly, included --and the Greenbrier golf course had sustained damage. The wind uprooted trees, downed lines and made a huge mess of things, which was a problem with the PGA coming to town.

But a couple of hundred volunteers lent a hand. They cut trees, dragged debris, raked and swept and restored the course in not much more than a day. It was a feel good kind of event --ordinary people pulling together to help millionaire athletes play a televised game at the state's most posh resort --uniting for the common good.

Repairing a stage, on the other hand, seemed more complicated. Dealing with sound and light would tend to require more technical knowledge than how to hold a chainsaw.

We agreed this was a pretty good story for me to do.

But there were problems right off. Something was up at The Greenbrier with getting my credentials. Weeks before, my name had been part of a list submitted for press badges. The badges came in a week before the Greenbrier Classic --mine was not among them.

An oversight. Not a big deal. The sports guy overseeing our coverage said he'd already talked to someone at the resort. They were sending it.

A few days passed, he said he wasn't sure what happened, but they were supposed to be sending it. He told me he'd check.

Still nothing.

Calls were made. Assurances given and my press badge was going to be FedExed, then they said a courier would bring it to us. Neither happened, then the storm hit and I began to think I wasn't going anywhere, which didn't seem like such a bad thing. Power at my house was out and my planned interview with Lionel Richie had tanked. His publicity people had gone from being encouraging to being evasive.

They'd been proper passive aggressive assholes about the whole thing, stopped returning e-mails and phone calls and really just refused to give an answer.

Finally, another reporter brought the badge back from The Greenbrier after she'd gone down to do an advance story. It arrived the night before I was supposed to leave.

Just to be on the safe side, I was given a contact name and number.

"If you have any trouble, give them a call."

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