She could’ve knocked me over with a feather. “Hey,” she’d said in a breezy email, “I have a last-minute scheduling conflict. Could you host the show? It’ll be easy.”
It was an author friend from California. I’d been on her radio program before; twice, in fact. But I’d never sat in her chair; never been the one asking the questions. Being an interviewee was one thing, but being the interviewer was — well, that was a horse of a different stripe.
It must’ve been brain fever, for in a moment of weakness, at my husband’s urging, I said yes. Then spent the next few days alternately paddling myself and sweating bullets.
True to form, I “processed” this out loud in Mr. Schrock’s presence during our nightly walk. And true to form, he zinged me a good one that left me spluttering.
“I don’t know why you’re so nerved up,” he said blithely. “You’ve been interviewing me for years.” Here, there was a pause as I gathered my wits and climbed up out of the ditch I’d just pitched into.
Interviewing him, huh? If asking questions about his day constituted an interview, then I was guilty. Apparently, wondering aloud who’d called, who’d come in and which, if any, family members he’d talked to was interrogation. To hear him tell it, I stopped just shy of waterboarding. The way our little chat was going, I was ready to consider it.
My world, after all, was pretty narrow. For nine years, I’d worked from home with limited adult contact. The physicians didn’t count. For hours, I’d listened to them slurp, burp, sigh, mumble and blow explosive sneezes that shattered my eardrums and sent me swinging from the rafters. By no stretch could this be mistaken for meaningful adult conversation.
Then, too, I was raising boys. Precious little furballs that they were, our interactions consisted of spiritual training and parental exhortations with a dash of Seuss thrown in. This, while wearing my ref suit, nonunion, with the whistle around the neck.
By evening, I’d be hungry for news from the outside world. Where other adults “lived and moved and had their being.” Where their father “lived and moved and had his being.” Where no one had to be wiped, either end, or needed their food cut up. That world.
I’ll admit that I may have pounced on occasion. May have put the squeeze, so to speak, on the poor, tired fellow, all in the name of gathering the news. And I did it to his kids.