I’ve been off the news desk for two weeks due to medical leave.  It’s always daunting to go back to work after just a few days off of work.  News never stops.  The job never stops.  Often hours off the desk leave you running around trying to catch up on all that has happened and all of what you need to do to continue the news coverage.  Just earlier this summer when I returned from speaking at a conference it felt like I had walked into the middle of a dance and had no rhythm.


Today (so far) has been completely different.  First, a coworker slid his shift so he could cover a couple of more hours into the evening to help me out.  Second, I was welcomed back with hugs and well wishes and questions of concern, so I didn't go right back to work.  Since my coworker had my back by arranging news coverage that I would normally arrange, I was able to enjoy the hugs, appreciate the well wishes and answer the questions of concern.  Third, there was no breaking news.  Today (so far) has been what we call a slow news day because it consists of covering scheduled events, following crime stories and airing special project stories that didn’t come through the news desk.


The scanners were loud when I eventually sat down and immediately my heart raced and I felt anxious.  Loud scanners for me typically mean breaking news.  I logged into the computer at what we call the hot seat because the scanner banks are on either side of the computer, so I was surrounded by static and dispatcher I couldn't hear because it was all so loud.  It took me a bit to wake up my scanner ears and to find the sound levels that work for me. 


We all hear differently so each of us adjusts the levels that work best for us each to hear when we’re in the hot seat.  When I’m monitoring a specific situation, I turn up the scanner(s) where dispatchers are talking about what I want to hear.  Once the levels were adjusted the anxiety that had been building inside me ceased.  I had turned them all to the same level; there was no breaking news to monitor


The phones rang, but not every line was ringing at the same time.  I only had one crazy caller and frankly, this is what made my first day back, truly feel like I was back.


Caller: I understand there’s a meeting right now about marijuana and I assume you guys are there and think this is news.


Me: Yes sir, there is a news crew there and the reporter will have live reports in both the 5 and 6pm newscasts.


Caller:  So, another meeting on policing medical marijuana huh? Let me ask you, how much money do you think is spent on these meetings and the policing of medical marijuana? Is the same amount of money used to spend on cops going after illegal pot growers?  What do you think?


Me: Sir, these are good questions but I don’t have…


Caller:  No, I’m asking your opinion.


Me: Sir, I’m not going to give you my opinion…


The caller interrupted me again and continued to ask me questions and make statements about current senators who he claimed used pot before entering politics.  I tried to answer, address his comments.  He just wouldn’t listen.  He eventually told me that he wasn’t teasing me specifically so I shouldn’t get offended.  He continued to tell me he was mocking the issue.  As he continued to talk I spoke over him, “Sir, if you aren’t going to let me talk, answer your questions, and you feel so passionate about your opinions you should be attending the meeting instead of calling me.  But, you’ve called me and I will not give you my personal opinion and you arw now wasting my time by your need to mock the issue. Good day!” Click.


Ahh, to be back on the news desk, where each day, each hour and even minute to minute is different.