Friday, August 10, 2007


D., the photographer, finally achieved the impossible this morning: after 20-plus years of working together and being friends, he made me fly into a rage of truly epic proportions.

I was, however, nice enough not to do it in front of anyone else.... But I did dredge up some words I seldom use even in impolite company.

And what misdeed caused the outburst?

He totally screwed up while setting up the job we were supposed to do.

He has what you might call "selective" hearing. I laid down a number of non-negotiable conditions under which I would do this story, mainly having to do with things I need to know in order to write a story about something that is, on its face, not all that memorable. Unless I am the first to write about the particular subject, I have to go a bit farther than other writers in having something to say.

The person we were dealing with knows this very well. It is not the first time he has been involved with one of my articles.

But he either promised D. that we would have opportunities for info-gathering and photography he couldn't deliver, or D. simply didn't listen to what he said.

Or -- and I choose not to believe this -- D. wanted to do the job and figured if he could get me out there, he could talk me into using my ability to spew bullshit and make up a story. After dozens (hundreds?) of repetitions of my tired old mantra ("I will NOT do any more fake stories!"), he should know better.

So we made the trip early this morning, an 80-mile (I checked) drive to an area I would never venture near if I wasn't being paid. The land is arid and dusty, and the air is foul. It was already uncomfortably hot when we got there.

And nothing -- nothing -- was either prepared or possible. The individual we were dealing with hadn't made proper arrangements -- under the circumstances, he probably couldn't anyway -- and what we were left with was a chance to take photos in a bad location.

I declined the offer and said we'd get back to the guy later. D. had to stop and talk to a few of his pals who happened to be there, but I finally dragged him away and we got back in the car.

He was not a happy passenger on the way home, let me tell you.

I wound up by telling him that I will never again do a story he sets up. If he finds something we just have to do, it will get done after I talk to the person(s) responsible and am certain I will get what I want and need.

We are, however, still friends. Even if I am still pig-biting mad.


lowandslow said...

I've always found most ultra-creative people are very particular, even anal, in having things JUUUUST right, and for a very good reason. It's THEIR reputation on the line, and they are consummate professionals. Point is, good for you for doing your very best and insisting others do, too. :)

MrScribbler said...

l&s -- I can compromise, but only so far. In this case, I was offered an insultingly small amount of access for my needs.

Besides, they kept me from having any fun!

Justfly said...

If you still friends, that is really nice.
Sounds like your friend desired the outburst.

John said...

You did well not to drive off and leave him there. Your civility is commendable.
It only makes sense to assert your conditions like that. Otherwise, profession becomes unproductive, unpaid hobby.
Sorry he punked out. Somehow your stories of this guy remind me of Kramer on Seinfeld.

Sunny said...

Looks like he needed that. Maybe he will straighten up and do right next time.

joan said...

Aaaargh. Glad it hasn't completely destroyed a long term friendship. Those are hard enough to come by.

DAL said...

Even friends need a "good talking to" now and then. It's good that he can handle it with only a bit of sulking...