On Being a Journalist: Deadlines, Bloody Deadlines

BEING A JOURNALIST sometimes just involves waiting in a state of wretched anxiety while something you desperately need to happen doesn’t happen.

It’s not unusual for me to be sitting hunched over my laptop, stomach acid flowing freely, feeling like it’s burning a hole through a vital organ or two, praying that a simple question I asked seven hours ago to an indifferent press officer is being handled. Knowing but denying the truth that it’s sitting feebly in an inbox about as likely to be read as a letter from the bank.

Here I am, in exactly one of those moments. Several hours late for a deadline, cursing myself as I always do for not thinking ahead. Cursing everyone I’ve ever dealt with for somehow being a part of this sadistic conspiracy.

I have a date in half an hour which I’m going to struggle to enjoy because the same damn problem is going to be there during and after, and when I go to bed, and when I open my eyes and a rotten breakfast of fear and impotence greets me in the morning.

I begin to hope there will be some major global-killer of an incident right this minute. An unimaginably big meteor, an alien invasion, an earthquake so devastating that it splits the planet into two, sending what’s left spinning off into space like a crudely beheaded skull.

Or perhaps the internet could somehow unravel. That would be good. True, it would be a nightmare of boggling proportions long term, but it would be worth it to have a good excuse for missing my deadline. And I could enjoy my date.

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