>Uh, I had more questions . . .

>Interviews are always a gamble. You run into people who talk too much or too little, people who have one angry theme and people who are just trying to get free advertising. You have to cope with kids, cats, PR people and other distractions. And some are perverts. Caution: Try not to put yourself in situations where you are alone with a stranger of the opposite gender with no other people nearby.
Yesterday was a different situation. I was interviewing an audiologist and a hearing aid specialist. I wanted to know all about them personally, as well as how they test people’s ears and what kinds of hearing aids are available. I wanted to know how you know you might need a hearing aid. I had a lot of questions. However, apparently the receptionist who scheduled the time didn’t understand that this wasn’t a 15-minute deal.
First, the door was locked. A receptionist in a flowered smock hollered that they were at lunch. “We have a 1:00 appointment!” I hollered back. After she let me in, I hung out in the waiting room long enough to check out the hearing aid brochures before another receptionist escorted me to a tiny room full of computers and hearing aids. Hmm.
I nosed around a while until the hearing aid guy, JG, appeared. Where’s the audiologist? He left and I heard him explaining now at the last second who I was and what I wanted. It was probably 1:10 before all three of us were in the same room.
JG wasted another five minutes talking about how he had met me in my writing class. Finally I got to start asking questions. These guys were talkers. Thank God for tape recorders.
We were making progress. This was good stuff. Then I heard from the hallway: “Both of your 1:30 appointments are here.” Damn. I told her I needed at least 45 minutes. My interviewees were already halfway out the door. I waylaid them long enough to shoot three pictures and get their e-mail addresses, then walked out shaking my head.
I’m sure the little old ladies in the waiting room hated my guts for making their doctors late. But hey, why don’t these folks make some slack in their schedule?
As a result, I have a phone interview tonight with LM, and I’m going back for another shot at JG tomorrow at 1:30 before my interview at a chowder house 20 miles up the road–where the owners will probably be in the middle of some sort of chowder crisis.
I could see both hearing experts again next Wednesday, but that’s when the story is due. They are both great people, just overbooked, and now, so am I. Moral of the story: Make it very, very clear how much time you need and plan ahead just in case things fall apart.
By the way, does anybody else get paranoid when interviewing health professionals? The eye guy keeps trying to talk me into Lasik surgery. With hearing aid people, I just know I have a hearing loss, and with shrinks, I’m sure they can tell I’m crazy.

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