I’ve spent 16 years loosely connected to the TV news business. I am also a worrier.
I worried about my 25-year old boyfriend covering the events of 9/11, disappearing into that story for days on end before any of us knew what was even happening. He spent hours on the hill overlooking the Pentagon; my cell phone didn’t reliably function for days. Eventually we found each other again.
I worried about my husband flying on helicopters with Rumsfeld in Afghanistan and Iraq. (A belated thank you to the staff at St. Ex, who bought me a lot of drinks the night of December 23, 2004 as I sat at the bar waiting for Josh to call me on satellite phone from Mosul. Or Fallujah? I can’t remember.)
I worried about my brand-new spouse not sleeping for days on end, surviving on granola bars and adrenaline for a full year of the brutal campaign trail.
I worried over the 3 AM breaking-news phone calls that came into our house line with regularity: trapped miners, murder trials, government leaks, requests to literally travel into the eyes of hurricanes. There’s an Emmy statue in my living room (Josh is embarrassed about it’s existence.) He earned it covering a big story about other mentally ill people with guns: the DC snipers.
These days, the gigs are somewhat cushier. I still have to worry about my spouse as he walks into the middle of riots. I worry about him as he is embedded with important public figures, who are targets of the weapon-wielding general public every day of their lives. I worry about him when he travels internationally, when he goes to the Europe, the Middle East, Guantanamo, wherever. I worry about his co-workers, his cameramen, the other reporters.
I worry about our family because of the open-ended travel; the daily stress that comes with this kind of job; raising our two kids in this environment & family dynamic. After the worry comes the general annoyance at living this kind of life. I worry because the divorce rate in this world is pretty high, and sometimes I see why.
I worry about a day where I might have to tell my children something terrible has happened to their dad, because he is a journalist and that is an inherently dangerous job.
The thing is: I would never think to worry about my husband producing a feature story on a waterpark in small town Virginia at 6:30 in the morning.
24 years old and 27 years old. It’s unspeakable.