On being in the wrong place

There’s not much you can do. Sometimes you have to leave your patch. You can’t watch it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It might be a holiday. Or training. Or it’s an assignment elsewhere in the world. You try to read the runes as best you can and, if there’s nothing better brewing at base, you leave – usually with an anxious glance over your shoulder.

No journalist wants to miss a story an hour’s drive from his or her house.

But it happens. No-one can predict the future. Sometimes lady luck is not smiling on you. It’s just one of those things. On an intellectual level you tell yourself that these things balance out – that for every chance scoop so too one goes the wrong way, a bit like the ref’s whistle. Nothing you can do about it, bar chaining yourself to your desk. Not your fault. No-one’s to blame. That’s the rational discussion, the reasonable interpretation.

That doesn’t change the fact that I am racing from Benghazi back home to Islamabad holding back the enormous urge to vomit my churning guts all over my shoes.


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