||September 18th, 2008|
Elsewhere in this edition you will find an account of our recent trip to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. We were attending a Travel Writer’s Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, followed by a familiarization trip to Lake of the Ozarks.
It was a fantastic trip; well organized, beautifully structured, with an opportunity to meet a lot of top drawer people in travel. Chamber of Commerce folks, Business and Convention Bureau folks, owners of hotels, resorts, state assocations, city associations (and, yes, San Diego was represented at one of the booths). All wonderful folks with lots of great story ideas that you’re likely to read about in future editions.
And then there was Ron.
Ron is a New Yorker and is used to getting his way. He is demanding, arrogant, and a royal pain in the butt. He is self indulgent, inconsiderate of others, and, indeed, tries the patience of those around him, including we fellow journalists. He is the type of person who brings light to a room by leaving it.
Journalists are used to dealing with all types. Hard nosed cops, corporate executive types who think they rule the world, goofy folks, politicians who relish their power and abuse it whenever they can get away with it. We tolerate them all. Some of them even get to be pretty good friends. So, it was unusual that most of our little press corps were fed up with Ron and avoided sitting next to him and thus avoided one sided conversations . . . or, more likely, pedantic lectures.
One tries to make do with the group you’re stuck in and for the most part, we did. More than once, however, I would have welcomed a chance to grab Ron by the lapels (or the throat), squeeze tightly, and say, “now, Ron . . . we are going to behave ourselves aren’t we? And we’re not going to act the ass for the rest of the trip, are we?” It was as though we had a spoiled little boy along on our trip.
Ron was a piece of work. Whenever our host or hostess would begin a presentation about their product or service, Ron would barge in with a question and then, essentially, hijack the presentation, stealing the thunder, as it were, from the host and hostesses. At one point I took our hostess aside, gave her a hug and whispered in her ear, “you’ve got the patience of Job. I couldn’t put up with what you’ve tolerated. Hang in there. This press trip will eventually end.”
She smiled but made no comment. She can’t. She’s a professional public relations and marketing person and her job is to entertain the press, no matter how much of a boor they are . . and Ron was, and is, a boor. He is a Mister Know-It-All, a demanding stereotypical New Yorker, pushy and demanding. I’ve met other New Yorkers and they are quite pleasant people, for the most part. Now and again, however, you meet a Ron.
I’m hoping Ron won’t get invited back to next year’s Travel Writer’s Convention. Problem is, he’s a half decent writer. I just hope I don’t get stuck in with him.
The other journalists we met and worked with were professionals. Some gregarious and jolly good fun, others quiet, businesslike, but neat people . . . creative, talented writers who could take the most mundane travel brochure and turn it into an exciting account of travel. And none of them were ugly.