Tuesday, August 01, 2006
"BUT I'M A VJ!"
In CNN's cash-strapped, budget-minded, leftover peanut-devouring atmosphere, transportation also suffered. There were all sorts of run-down, oil-leaking, trashy cars in the parking lot, and people had to play clever games to get their parking validated, as rumor had it Ted Turner himself (this time mom was right) wanted employees to take the MARTA public transport system.
Now, I have never possessed a driver’s license, so MARTA was always going to be my lot in life. I took the subway during the daylight hours, and cabs when I left work at four a.m. Naturally, there aren’t many cabs patrolling downtown Atlanta at that hour. So I’d call in advance, and wound up depending on the services of one particular Moroccan cabbie. After a month of regular service, he stopped charging me and I knew I was headed for trouble. Then one Tuesday he turned up and presented me with an elaborately embroidered pink muumuu and matching pointy slippers. He also threw in a decorative brass plate. The disturbing part was that the slippers actually fit.
Sufficiently creeped out, I took to sleeping on the sofa in the lobby of the 14th floor until daylight hours so I could take MARTA. I chose the 14th floor because the sofa there looked the plushest, cleanest and most comfortable. Unlike the one in the break room, it didn’t look as though there were years of Cheetos powder and earwax slathered all over it.
This arrangement worked well for about two weeks until one morning I opened one eye at around 5:30 am to see a tiny, shriveled up little lady staring me down. She quickly turned and ran out. I shut my eye again. I opened them both ten minutes later to find the same lady flanked by two huge security guards, pointing her knotty finger at me. The security guards seized me. One grabbed my left arm and the other grabbed my right as they hustled me out to the elevator. Nervous, I kept flashing my badge, insisting,
“But I’m a VJ! I’m a VJ!” as though I were a D-list celebrity being booted from a Soho nightclub.
I quickly found out that I had unwittingly chosen Ted Turner's office floor to use as my sleeping quarters.
"That Ted Toor-ner.” said my mother when I told her. She had nothing to follow it up with, and just shook her head this time. Apparently he had some nerve placing the most comfortable sofa on his floor.