I can't believe I left my press pass at home. One of my cronies -- as my husband refers to my journalistic-ally bent friends -- told me to flaunt my credentials. Pathetic as they are, she reminded me, a press pass is the key to the city.
How many times have I told students, even their high school newspaper's press pass carries weight. Everybody, everybody, EVERYBODY wants to talk about themselves to a professional listener.
And although my hair is still dark and my face somewhat leaner in the laminated photograph, I do have a press pass and -- albeit from a company no longer in business -- IT WOULD HAVE WON ME THE RESPECT OF THE GATEKEEPER OF SALVADOR DALI'S HOUSE.
But no. I didn't listen. I pulled that ancient old laminated press pass out of my wallet more concerned with the Tel Aviv airport than thinking about Salvador Dali. I took it out of my wallet and I KEPT IT AT HOME! Digging before the gatekeeper I discovered I had I kept my government pass in my wallet. WAS I CRAZY? No one in Tel Aviv asked me a thing about credentials. They just kept asking the origin of my name and if anyone had asked me to deliver a package out of the country. Then they'd asked me again, about 20 seconds later, like maybe it had slipped my mind.
How can I be offended by that. Obviously I am slipping. Turning into a non-journalist -- because who else would leave their press pass at home. So many of us former journalists are slipping -- some becoming flaks, others complete sleaze-bag journalists others sanctimonious. By this I mean, lean toward the sleaze-bag spirit of the old days and even if you have to use your kid's computer software and the laminate-kiosk at the nearest mall: DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT YOUR PRESS PASS. We're talking about Salvador Dali's house.
Oh, and a small flashlight. Press pass or not, likely you're still in that economy hotel room down a hallway without a single electric light bulb. Some things change when you lose your credentials. Some things stay the same.