The Wide Angle: Working Saturdays is meant with shoes off

Published 9:45 am Sunday, March 11, 2018

This last Saturday was a doozie in terms of what I do day in and day out with my job.

After a rather leisurely morning of drinking coffee, updating the website, and doing some early work on pages, I embarked on an afternoon of near constant running.

Playoff basketball will do that.

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First, a quick overview of why I like Saturdays: The quiet.

Usually, I’m left alone to my own devices on Saturdays. We only staff one person full time because the work load isn’t worth more than one person working so many hours.

On most Saturday’s it’s me doing a few things in the public as far covering things and then the rest of the day I’m sitting in the office, putting the paper together with coffee next to me and my shoes off.

It’s comfortable as I lounge, listening to music outside the cushion of headphones, letting my mind wander where it will.

But days like last Saturday don’t let me do that. I try not to complain much, because it happens so infrequently and it’s the nature of what I do. However, in a day that saw two separate trips to Rochester and back, it begins to wear on one’s patience.

At 1 p.m. I hit the road for the first time, excited to see playoff girls basketball — Hayfield vs. Goodhue, guaranteed to be a good matchup, which it was for the half I was there.

After I left the Vikings put the hammer down and held the defending state champs to only six points. Rushing back into town after shooting a half, I swung over to Echo Lanes to photograph Bowling for the Battle, a fundraiser to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

A quality effort of fundraising but bowling alleys are hard to shoot in. Dimly lit and laid out in a way that makes it really difficult  to photograph. Add in the time factor because I had to get some pages worked on  and get the Hayfield pictures online so it was a 10-minute  flurry of hoping I got something at Echo Lanes.

Hoping you got something in photography harkens back to the good old days of darkrooms and rolling your own film. You show up for an event and use up two rolls of 36 frames and sincerely hope you have something. That hope is heightened because you don’t have that nifty screen on the back showing you that at least you have something usable.

The film days required a certain level of faith in a higher power as you fumbled in the dark to roll the film onto the reels, submerse them in foul-smelling liquid and continue going through the lengthy process of … well … processing.

When you finally got to a stage where you could look at the film, the heart stopped for a second until it’s verified that everything came out okay.

On those occasions where something went wrong one simply turns off the silent and swears silently to one’s self. Or if you’re like me you vent your frustration while simultaneously letting the rest of the staff know through the locked door that something went wrong.

Obviously, if you saw Monday’s paper then you saw that the bowling worked out.

After a quick flurry of this, that and the other thing I hit the road for my second trip back to Rochester.

It gets old going back and forth to Rochester. There isn’t much to look at along the way and the repetitive nature does little to stimulate the mind.

Granted it’s not Huron to Harrold, South Dakota long. That trip does a rather fine job of defining ‘nothing.’

It’s hard to describe really, because there is very little to describe. There is a nifty little bluff near Ree Heights, South Dakota, but it does little to make the surrounding ‘flat’ any more interesting.

It helped the second trip to Rochester had me rushing a little because it was getting dangerously close to tip off in the Austin girls basketball game against Northfield in the Section 1AAA playoffs and Rochester doesn’t make it easy at 5:30 p.m. to get to a downtown destination, but I hit a surprising number of green lights.

This flies in the face of the annoying amount of red lights I hit on the way out of town the first time. And by annoying number I mean every … single … red … light. That’s a long line of mumbling and grumbling. I think you know what I mean by mumbling and grumbling.

But I made it with time to spare. A lot of the fun of going to these events is getting to talk to others in my field I haven’t seen in a while, coaches and even some players during the tournament.

I had time for that and was feeling pretty good about the day. Began marching into the Mayo Civic Center from the parking garage and there it was. Or rather wasn’t. No memory card in the camera, because it was sitting comfortably in the card reader back at the office.

This is where the weariness started to set in. Luckily Rocky, our sports dude, had a camera with him so it wasn’t the end of the world, but after a long day it’s the sort of thing that makes you just want to go home, get a beverage from the fridge an watch mindless TV.

But I couldn’t watch cable news just yet.

Made it back toned photos and began laying out the rest of the paper, but things rarely go right when you’re tired and irritable. I just kept thinking of going home and as 11:30 p.m. rolled up on me I cared very little about anything.

That’s not completely true. Clearly, I don’t want mistakes, but the idea of slamming square pegs into round holes began to get more appealing.

Naturally when I got home I was too tired to do much of anything so I watched mindless TV for awhile.

I fell asleep quickly.