Last April, I got my beloved Tascam DR100-MkII field recorder, and I was itching to go and record stuff. This was a few months after deciding to create a podcast. I had only done one interview so far (for a story not yet produced -- yikes), and I was scared of getting interviews on the street. Hell -- I'm still too scared to do it. So the only recordings I had made at this point were...
- A windstorm rustling through my yard
- Rain falling onto my garage roof
- My washing machine
But as luck would have it, Donald Trump was going to hold a rally in Hartford. My Facebook was alive with folks urging people to join the anti-Trump/Pro-Sanders rally outside. Rumors of politically-charged violence swirled about.
Hartford is a relatively quiet city. The local Occupy Wall Street protest was miniscule. The Black Lives Matter protests paled in comparison with other cities. So, I doubted there'd be any real worries. But I'm sure it would be interesting. So, off I drove into East Hartford, packed my gear into a backback, and rode my bike across the river.
The crowd was relatively small, yet vocal on both sides. I took out my recorder, and did something unforgivable -- I recorded the scene without headphones. This, my dear reader(s), is horrible for two reasons. 1) it might be illegal, and, more importantly, 2) my levels were unchecked and off. The recordings are largely unusable.
At one point, though, I ventured away from the crowd over to a small grassy mound where a few scattered people were hanging about, chatting and smoking cigarettes. I sat down by myself among them, took out the recorder, and secretly pointed it at the far-off crowd, hoping in vain to get good far-crowd audio (spoiler: my levels sucked).
I could hear two or three people having a low conversation behind me. "Look at all those cars," a woman said in-between puffs, referring to the line of cars heading into the paring garage and into the rally. "It's a new day. We're getting strong."
Trump supporters. Determined, angry Trump supporters. Hanging out on a quiet lawn. A great place to record. People willing to be listened to. The proper equipment in hand. Hell, I even had my headphones in my bag with me!
It was the perfect storm for an on-the-street interview with a hardcore Trump supporter in a decidedly blue state. But I chickened out. No recording. No interview.
The morning after the election (this morning, that is), I thought back to the last several months. I was so sure Clinton would win. The polls lied to me. The media lied to me. Facebook lied to me. But, then again, the signs were there. If you opened your eyes and ears, the subtle signs were there.
I wonder if I had gotten the nerve to introduce myself, would I have discovered sooner where the elections would go.
If anything, it would have been a topical, interesting interview.
I started reading Elna Baker's The New York Regional Mormon Singles' Halloween Dance tonight. In the beginning of the book, she talks about her philosophy of saying "YES" to everything to counter saying "NO" to sex, drugs, alcohol, and caffeine. I need to say "YES" more often.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikipedia Commons