//Ad libs: An editor's life

Friday, March 03, 2006

An editor's life

I never know what's going to happen when the phone rings at my desk. On a good day, it's an oboe player telling me about an upcoming Palo Alto performance of an orchestral suite. Oboes are cool. On a bad day, it's a publicist from an area code somewhere east of the Smokies.

"This is Rebe-"

"Yes this is Gretchen-Heidi LaTorte from Wheee PR calling to confirm that you got my six press releases about Two-Speed Girl the exciting new washboard-maraca combo..."

I try to derail the train. "Is the band from Palo Alto? Is it playing locally?"

"Locally? Oh, yes, yes, yes," Gretchen-Heidi assures me. "In Yuba City (she pronounces it 'Yubba'). That's near you, isn't it?"

Sometimes it's a call somewhere in the middle: a little off-topic, but sweet. The other day, an older lady wanted to know "who that doctor picked on television."

We don't write much about TV, I said, but obligingly tried to figure out what she was talking about. Turns out she was wondering whether
"The Bachelor" chose Moana, the freaky California chick, or Sarah, the nice Tennessee kindergarten teacher. I'm the A&E editor. Apparently I must follow these things.

The woman didn't have Internet, so I looked it up for her. The winner was Sarah, and the woman was tickled. "Good," she said. "He should pick a girl who has the same roots." She had a lot more to say about the show and the girl, but I didn't bother trying to find a local angle. Sometimes there's something endearing about someone's rambling. Just not on deadline.