There are certain rules in the news game. One is that you can go for weeks becalmed in a virtual Sargasso of slow news, with endless school and planning meetings and perhaps a stray dog to report -- or two, if you're lucky.
And then the News Gods flip their switch and everything unravels. And all at the same time.
And what does it take to trigger such an avalanche of news? The most insignificant things -- a restroom break, a casual conversation with a neighbor, or a luncheon invitation.
Such was the case Tuesday when your editor threw caution to the wind and accepted a rare luncheon invitation with a colleague (Walnut Creek's Lance Howland) to talk about new best practices and the "old days" of Patch.
Big mistake. Your editor was actually trundling his trusty laptop into the war wagon to keep the meeting when his iPhone lit up like a Christmas tree and a string of Patchers called in to report a news story in Orinda and another in Lafayette. At the same time.
Of course the Orinda incident turned out to be that in a decade. A resident in Lafayette reported at that very instant a resident had come home to find a burglar in their residence on Old Tunnel Road and chased them out of the front door.
So, we sat back down and dialed in, working the phones for information and dealing with the tragic news of the day -- just like it says in the job description, putting thoughts of Mssr. Howland nosing a nice Merlot out of our heads. In the end, rain checks were issued, Patchers continued to check in with tips and theories -- and any thought of lunch was forgotten. A drippy burrito was procured by my merciful bride, the remnants still next to the computer, awaiting disposal.
Lost in it all was some good news we hope to get to today, with local kids continuing to shine, and one of those lost dogs we mentioned finding its way home thanks to a kindly local couple. On a normal day we would have covered the reunion, but good news gives way to bad when the News Gods say it isn't to be.
Thanks for all your calls and emails yesterday, Patchers. We appreciate it.