Save Me

July 23rd, 2006

I love doing photo assignments for work.* I get out, I take some pictures, chat with a few people and get on with my day. Everybody wins!

Except sometimes I have to take photos with my personal camera if the photo editors have the company ones with them, and it’s shit. (The wonderful people I work for are getting me one of my own for these situations, God bless them.) It’s fine if I’m just noodling around taking pics of Sunny frolicking at the beach or Snapper on top of the cabinets, but if there is any quick movement or inadequate lighting, then what we end up with is a giant gray blur. And on work assignments, it can be embarrassing just to be there. You’re standing there with a point n’ shoot next to a professional dude from a competing paper with a six-foot lens and a belt full of special attachments while you’re just trying to act like you aren’t someone’s mother.

So, fast forward to Friday. The assignment in question is some sort of skin-diving/lifesaving training that the local fire department is putting on or putting themselves through or whatever. On my way there, I realized that they were nowhere near where I thought they going to be, which left me wandering around the beach a full half-mile away from where they were doing the training, so by the time I found the site, I was about 10 minutes late. They were already in the water on some sort of giant inflated boat-like thing while a bunch of dudes were in snorkeling gear sniffing around the water. Shit.

Oh my God, I was going to miss it. No! NOOOOOO!!!!! Ugh, the events in retrospect are humiliating.

Um, I swam out to them. In my clothes. And shoes. I launched unnecessarily into Serious Photojournalist mode for reasons that are still completely foreign to me. I went into the water and started swimming, fully clothed, khakis and polo asunder, camera over my head (POINT AND SHOOT, MIND YOU) clicking madly away in the general direction of the snorkelers. People were staring, but I was not going to be deterred, because I am a professional! Bad camera? WHO CARES? I AM A PHOTOJOURNALIST! Would I be less of a writer if I only had a typewriter? Um. Right.

By jove, I was going to get that photo come hell or high water! Or both! God, I was so serious about it. The firefighters – who are all dangerously hot and muscular – were staring at me, this completely insane rogue swimmer in a POLO SHIRT AND SUNGLASSES taking pictures of them while they’re trying to load some dude onto a floatable gurney as they’re banging into me as I tried desperately to maintain control of the camera. God, I was just trying to keep my pants on.

But dude, I got the photos. And, um, then they politely yelled at me to get out of the way as they turned around the boat, picked up the divers and headed back to the beach, because this was apparently only the first in at least four hours of drills and um, would I like to come on the boat later to take pictures instead of swimming in water up to my neck, which was entirely unnecessary?

My God. I was standing there, my sopping wet clothes clinging to me with the grace and forgiveness of too-small Spandex. I was wearing khaki pants and a frigging black thong that seemed harmless under normal circumstances, but sopping wet? Not so much. Hello, thong, nice to meet you! Love, the firemen.

Enter the boat. Or should I say, enter me entering the boat. I tried to climb in, but with my rubber pants, could not properly figure out a graceful way to get in without sticking to the buoy-like orange sides. So I had to roll on my belly and shimmy my way over the edge like I was crawling over a log, which meant not only baring my full, wet behind to an entire cadre of hot firefighters, but it also meant that once I got INTO the boat, I couldn’t regain control. I ended up splayed out face down on the bottom of the boat, completely vanished from the firefighter’s view as they yelled, “Um, photographer lady? Are you there? You okay?” I popped up like a piece of toast and tried to act cool (“Here I am!”), which was impossible in silicone khakis, a black thong and a soaking polo shirt that showed my nipples.

Once I got on the boat and we started to ride out, they handed me a life vest, citing, “you don’t have to zip – “

“I AM ZIPPING IT.” I strapped myself in. I was so nerdy about it, but I wasn’t about to DIE for this photo, for God’s sake. So there I am, wearing Saran Wrap clothing with a giant orange vest zipped up to my earlobes, praying I get out of this assignment with a single shred of dignity intact.

How about a resounding “no?” Sound good?

They casually mentioned they were going to “clear out some of the water,” as we launched off, which meant, unbeknownst to me, that they were going to drive around VERY VERY FAST, which meant that I fell again, and ended up stuck on the bottom of the boat, my notebook in my teeth and my camera over my head A-FREAKING-GAIN, while they panicked and apologized. Through the course of the boat ride, I fell some more, almost fell in to the water again while taking pictures and baring my ass, ended up hugging some strange (and hot!) firefighter’s calf for dear life, fell again, etc. etc. blah blah freakin’ blah.

I came, I saw, I fell, I died. Story of my life.

*Edited to add for the love of God, I am not a photographer, really. I pitch in as needed. Do not expect brilliance in Flickr. Lord. Lord no.

**Remy Zero

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20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kristin  |  July 23rd, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    OMG! Thank you fro the laugh! I am in the midst of a very depressing day -I logged on tonight hoping to see a new entry from you. I am sorry it was not a great experience that you had -but thank you for being a light in my long day!

  • 2. allison  |  July 23rd, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    holy CRAP! This entry made me laugh my ass off. Seriously, I cried a little bit. That is a completely awesome story. Glad you got the pics though and you know those firemen had something good to talk about that night!

  • 3. Heather B.  |  July 23rd, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    “I came, I saw, I fell, I died. Story of my life.”


  • 4. Jamie  |  July 23rd, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Let the record show that I read this post with my hand over my mouth, not only in sympathy, but also in that “holy jebus fucking christ, you have got to be kidding me, i’m embarassed just READING about this.”

    You’re my hero.

  • 5. Martha  |  July 23rd, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    I’m so glad I found your website. Were I a photographer (which I’m most decidedly not), that would TOTALLY happen to me.

  • 6. carol  |  July 23rd, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    I’m sitting near my dad (who is visiting) and trying not to laugh out loud reading this as he doesn’t need to know about my “imaginary” friends in blogland.

    You crack me up! How do you get yourself into these dilemmas???

  • 7. christine  |  July 24th, 2006 at 6:26 am

    Oh my god…I’m so sorry that happened for you, and yet shamefully thrilled it did, because the entry made me crack up. You poor poor thing, but hey, at least there were the calves of cute firemen involved.

  • 8. Lawyerish  |  July 24th, 2006 at 7:50 am

    So. Funny. Oh my God. This is so exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me.

    There is no graceful way to enter a boat from the water. NONE. I spent a great deal of my young life hauling myself in and out of boats, ending up with all manner of bruises and abrasions, and frequently landing splayed out in the way you describe so perfectly. Thankfully, there were never any hot firefighters around.

  • 9. -R-  |  July 24th, 2006 at 8:05 am

    I am laughing hysterically in my office. This is not good, as I am attempting to look productive. Damn you and your rubber pants!

  • 10. jonniker  |  July 24th, 2006 at 8:25 am

    Kristin: In retrospect, it’s funny, but at the time? I was horrified. HORRIFIED.

    Allison: God, I didn’t think of the post-mortem the firemen would have.

    Heather: Happy to know I’m not alone.

    Jamie: I read your comment out loud to Adam, because that was PRECISELY his reaction when I showed up in the middle of the day wearing soaking wet clothing.

    Martha: God, the worst part is that I’m not even a photographer.

    Carol: I DO NOT KNOW. It happens ALL THE TIME.

    Christine: Tanned calves. Gah.

    Ish: No graceful way to enter these boats any way at ALL. They were all inflated and buoyed and shit. OMG.

    R: It was awful. Oh god. The wet pants.

  • 11. Jen  |  July 24th, 2006 at 9:28 am

    Holy crap was that funny. I consider myself slightly a photographer, but hell if I’d ever venture into the ocean fully clothed for a shot. Well done. Even if you didn’t have the equipment, you had least had the right motivation to get the shot!

  • 12. GG  |  July 24th, 2006 at 9:51 am

    I wish I had some rubber pants right now, since I’m going to need them if I pee from laughing so hard. Damn, girl, you are funny.

  • 13. Leigh  |  July 24th, 2006 at 9:54 am

    I’m so sorry. Really, it sounds mortifying. But this post is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. I’m dying here and trying to pretend that I’m working.

  • 14. Yez  |  July 24th, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    Only you, Jonna :-} Standing O from one shutterbug to another! That would totally be me, except that the waterlogged Polo shirt’s 2-nipple-salute would be glaringly asymmetrical, and Hot FireDudes would dive over the side in revulsion & horror rather than award hugs and apologies.

    BUT YOU GOT THE PHOTOS! Atta photojournalist!

  • 15. Whinger  |  July 24th, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    So I read this earlier today, and laughed and laughed, and then did the cardinal sin of blog reading: I WENT AWAY AND FORGOT TO TELL YOU THAT YOU MADE ME LAUGH AND LAUGH.


    You made me laugh and laugh this morning.

  • 16. dub  |  July 26th, 2006 at 7:34 pm

    Bravo! Bravo!

    Feeling like a fool: temporary
    Having a kickass story to tell: Totally worth it

  • 17. amyjami  |  July 28th, 2006 at 9:27 am

    at work reading this –

    laughing so hard that my stomach muscles are getting sore from laughing.

    laughing silently when i usually cackle like a maniacal chicken so i’m actually crying from the effort.

    this is HI LARRY ASS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 18. claire  |  July 28th, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    oh my god, jonna. oh MY GOD. I. too, read this with a hand over my gaping mouth. i can’t believe you did that.

    *clap clap* you are way braver than I. I hope SOMEONE appreciates what you did for this story!

    totally hysterical..

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