By the time this is posted on the Internet and telephone issues will have hopefully been resolved for Mono County and the surrounding areas. It was quite the cluster “you-know-what” when on Tuesday morning around 7:15 am a dairy truck managed to yank down several utility poles near Rovana Elementary School. Shortly thereafter locals in the Town of Mammoth Lakes started a barrage of telephone calls to KMMT and all I could do was to tell everyone that, “We are on it!”
I must have fielded over two dozen calls with most people asking the same questions: What happened to the phones? Why isn’t the Internet working and best of all, when will it all be fixed? Up until 11:15 am that day I had no idea what happened because the people I called were the local first responders and they were just as much in the dark as we were. When we were told that the problem would take at least a day to fix and we announced it as often as we could but other than that there wasn’t much more we could do. So why then did people continue to call and ask me when the problem would be fixed and when I told them that I didn’t know, I got an attitude from some of the locals because I didn’t give them the answer they wanted to hear?
Maybe this is a good time to remind the readers that the job of most media personnel is to report what happens. We are the middle people between and event and the public who wants to read- about or listen-to such events. We cannot fix what happens nor do we cause what happens…most of the time.
Up until Monday I was a bit oblivious about who actually listens to our local radio station. I was in shock and awe at how many folks came up to me, many of whom I did not know personally, and asked me when the Verizon problem would be fixed. At first I was civil and said that I did not know when the crews would be able to get the phones and Internet back on line but as soon as I knew then we would announce it on the radio.
Then a local crossed the line. I don’t know who she is but I know I’ve seen her around town for years. I was standing in line “somewhere” getting “something” and she approached me like a bull in a china shop. She bombarded me with question after question about the fiber optic situation and was irritated that I didn’t have up to the minute information because as she explained, “You are the media and it is your job to know everything,” Whoa! What? At that particular moment I had had it up to here and there with questions I could not answer. I whipped out my cell phone and said, “Do you see this? My carrier for this cell phone is Verizon Wireless. I love Verizon Wireless and know that as soon as Verizon can fix the problem they will. If my answer isn’t good enough for you I suggest you get into that car of yours, drive down to Rovana and ask the technicians yourself when they will piece together the fiber optic cables. If you do that and you have the answer, then please call me at KMMT and leave a message.” Even radio folk have their end zones.
Here’s my advice: Next time you can’t spend hours on the Internet or playing around on your Smart Phones or Blueberries, be grateful. Some things that happen in our world of technology are out of our control. Take the down time to spend time doing things that get pushed by the wayside or saved for another day because you are too busy with your technology.
I was delighted that my cell phone was out of commission for a several hours. I took the time to explore my neighborhood and found a trail that I never knew existed. I made brownies with my granddaughter and introduced her to her first bowl of lickable chocolate. We then worked off the chocolate by dancing around the living room to the Fresh Beat Band.
But whatever you do, don’t kill the messengers when we give you information you don’t want to hear. We are just the media. Not clairvoyants.
*Published in 4/27/12 edition of MammothTimes. Go to www.mammothtimes.com