A former newspaper reporter that I knew from my journalism days was recently in the news. She has moved on from news reporting and is a big, important deal now in another field of work.
I have not thought about this woman in many years. I never liked her. I generally abhor people who use a pretext of friendship and betray trust for personal gain. This is possibly sour grapes on my part because she is rich and famous and I am not.
As a reporter, she had that ability to size you up and cut you down inside five seconds. When advantageous, she projected a sweet-as-pie, engaging persona. She could make you feel like the most important person in the world and was so interested in hearing every teeny little detail about every tiny little thing in your life. This gal had the ability to empathize, sympathize and commiserate to get her story.
And predictably (to me, anyway) anything you said could and would appear in print, in generally a most unflattering light, impartiality optional. I saw more than one hapless victim gob-smacked when the morning paper arrived. I heard more than one dazed plaint, “but I thought she liked me. I thought she understood my side. I thought we were frieeeeeends.”
[Note to public – reporters do not have friends. They have sources. They do not have conversations, they conduct interviews. They do not want to be your friend, they want a scoop. Just saying . . .]
This story sparked my imagination as I ruminated about a now ancient time spent chasing down “the story.” My old acquaintance is perfect for serving as a template for a recurring adversarial role as my protagonist’s personal nemesis. Research done –details changed. One more character comes to life!
Is this making grape-aid from sour grapes? I will settle for a lovely Bordeaux, instead.