Saturday was an interesting day for a girl whose interviews usually take place in nice offices or at gritty crime scenes. I spent the day on a ranch, surrounded by horses and their (über-rich) owners. I’d expected to find a bunch of snobs, but what I found instead was a group of interesting people.
My first interview was literally dizzying. The woman talking to me was also walking her unsteady horse in circles, around me. In a feeble attempt to keep eye contact, I followed her lead until I’d spun enough to almost throw up.
Next came a series of horseback riders and competitors. They were all so nice that I was able to forget about the awesome smell of horse dung. As cynical as I am (and yes, Russell, I do still question my mother when she tells me she loves me), I found everyone’s kindness to be some sort of deviation of sincerity. And I liked it. One woman I met had won an international horse competition more than a dozen times, yet she stood there and answered questions about horse stuff for 10 minutes.
But the most interesting interview I had was with Fred Imus, the brother of Don Imus and the host of his own talk show, Sirius Satellite’s “Trailer Park Bash.”
A couple of women and their tightly-lassoed husbands told me to go talk to their local celebrity, Don Imus’ brother. They said he was really nice. That’s not quite the word I’d choose.
When I first approached Fred, he uttered something like, “What do you want?” I told him I was with The New York Times Student Journalism Institute and he said: “I hate The New York Times. Do they even have journalists there?” I replied with a laugh. I said I had just a few questions, and he said he’d answer only one. I rolled my eyes and smiled at him, subtly demanding he stop being such a geezer. So he agreed to answer more than one question, although he said he would stop talking to me as soon as I began to irritate him.
The first thing I asked was, “What do you do for a living?” He looked at me and rolled his eyes, as if saying, “Oh, come on.” So I laughed and asked again: “What do you do for a living?” I mean, really, who knew Don Imus even had a brother? He went on to tell me about his once-weekly radio show on Sirius, which he emphasized was the greatest job he’d ever had. As he spoke to me I wondered what his brother would think about his little bro talking to a woman of color. Who works for a living. In a job other than domestic work. But, I erased Don’s face and went on with Fred. I wrapped up my interview after I got the quote I wanted (which I didn’t end up using anyway). I thanked him for his time, and he said I’d done a good job.
In reply, I said: “I know. And I didn’t even have to irritate you.”
— Astrid Galvan