All professions have a key thing that makes their job go.
For doctors it be might years of training and a stethoscope. For lawyers it might be years of training and a flexible approach to the truth. For the modern journo, thrust into the agile hot-desking world of the smartphone/laptop, its the earphone, with a mic.
Technology has tamed the tyranny of distance. Physical meetings are a thing of the past. We no longer have to be in the same room, town, state or country to bore each other senseless.
Video hangouts have become the norm, bringing the art of feigned engagement, or in some cases overt indifference, to a new height.
But the key to it all is earphones with a mic. No good sitting in without being able to hear and contribute. Well there is, but its frowned on.
Such was the mighty dilemma I found myself in the other Monday. Caught short without my earphones a failure of process.
Normally theyre there 24/7 because Im obsessive about making sure no daughters or wives ransack my bag over the weekend so they can save themselves the trouble of finding their own earphones.
That was the accusation. The denials were blunt. But that wasnt helping in the moment. (The headphones ended up being on the kitchen table where I left them.)
I should have seen it coming. Riding to work Monday morning heading up the same hill I have to confront each day in low gear, my chain comes off.
Bad omen! Eventually got to work a bit oily, a bit flustered, but well in time for the weekly work video hangout I knew was coming.
Cue the earphones. Reach into the bag. Gone!! Usually there as reliable as clockwork. For some reason this particular morning, nothing. Recall the bad omen.
Immediately blame the crew at home and text as such, receiving in quick time retorts about having a boys look.
But that had already failed. Twice.
So I turned to IT and asked if there were any spares in the builiding. None, Im told. Work throw them all out once theyve been used because works not going to facilitate the spread of ear tinea. Fair enough. But work is prepared to facilitate self-reliance.
Advised to hotfoot it over to Office Works. Get there. Sold out. Would you believe it.
Didnt matter what I believed. Fact.
Advised to hit Telstra across the road. They might have some. They did. But $40. No deal!
Headed up to Big W. Joy. Only one question the $2.50 earphones or the $5?
Go the $5 because you get what you pay for. And I do. They work, like sticking a grasshopper in your ear, only slightly poorer audio, but they have a mike. Into which I feel like saying: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears, or better still, make it your ear phones.
Not as straightforward as it might seem in this era of unsung, misplaced work essentials and legitimate, yet very inconvenient OH&S issues.