Journalism is a unique business, there’s no doubt. That’s why what happened to me last Wednesday may be one of the most unusual things ever.
I can honestly say since I’ve been in the media business I have done some unusual things. There’s the time I did radio play-by-play from the top of a press box in Mt. Dora, Florida — yes I said top of the press box, I’ve written stories in the lobby of hotels, at a table in a convenience store and even in a McDonald’s or a truck stop restaurant.
It wasn’t until Wednesday’s North Carolina Department of Transportation presser about a new program that I was able to add another unique notch in my journalistic pistol grip.
To make matters all the more unique, it took place in a couple of places you wouldn’t really expect.
The press conference took place in a rest area on Interstate 40, in front of the door to the restrooms. Yes, you read that correctly, the door to the restrooms.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in NFL locker rooms, race car garages and even people’s living rooms, but never have I had the chance to experience watching people enter and exit a restroom with absolutely no clue what was going on.
Throw in the visit from the GEICO Gecko and you have some stunned and astonished looks on faces.
For example, as one of the speakers was finishing his remarks, the audience — which included only two members of the media, myself and a guy from Raleigh — a young man about 14 or 15 was walking out of the rest room at the exact moment the applause for the speaker began.
Once the young man got past the puzzled and stunned deer-in-theheadlights look on his face, he began to applaud softly as well.
With a “why am I doing this?” look on his face he stepped out and watched until his father walked up to him and said “let’s get out of here” and they walked out, both with smirks and looks of amusement on their faces.
Prior to and following the press conference, the Gecko made his appearance. Don’t mean to be a spoiler here, but the guy in the suit must have been about ready to drop since it was most likely about 20 degrees hotter inside the suit.
When he walked outside for pictures, the faces of people in the rest area varied from sheer amazement to total confusion.
Never have I every been in a press conference before Wednesday and have to step aside so someone could get to the bathroom, wow.
If the men were looking rather astonished, the women were in another level of astonishment all their own, considering those outside the restroom was mostly male and mostly just standing around.
One lady in particular walked in looked around and started to leave before someone from NCDOT told her the restroom was open and it was OK to go in.
As she entered you could tell she was debating whether or not some alien life forms had landed and were looking for prisoners.
As for the Gecko, he was drawing the most unusual looks of all those present. Many were wondering why he was there and others were showing signs of feeling like they were in a hidden camera commercial.
As for me, I will likely never again complain about sitting in a meeting room listening to someone talk about budgets and financial processes.
Well, at least not until the next time I go to a meeting. Rick Curl is a reporter for The Daily Record. He can be reached at 910230-2037. He can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.