Conversation Avoidance

[ed. note: Watch Harrigan's special 3-part series, "Venezuela's Slippery Slope" by clicking the video tab to the right.]

Feb. 3, 2005 1:19 p.m.

On the bus from the plane three men in suits were talking. The man opposite me had loafers with tassels. He had his legs crossed, and his pants rode up. I looked at his socks and looked at his tassels.

"Risk," one of them said, in a dramatic voice. It was early in the morning. His theory was that modern people did not take enough risk in their lives. That, he said, is why they got divorced and changed jobs so often.

"To get the juice," he said.

I like to fly in a hooded sweatshirt. Pulling up the hood serves the dual function of discouraging conversation and frightening other passengers. It can also provide a slight cushion for the head and block overhead light.

It's not easy to avoid other people's conversations. A woman was telling a man about Taoism the other day on my walk into work. I tried to speed ahead, but at green lights they and their conversation kept catching up to me. She said Taoism was like judo, where you use the other's force. I then sped ahead.

A man in the gym told another man the following:

"My mother lived a wonderful life."

The other guy was stretching and was not sure how to take it. The first man said it again. He boomed it out in the locker room.

"My mother lived a wonderful life."

The man kept stretching his leg. The first man talked from behind the lockers. They could not see each other. The man stretching said "I'm sorry," in an uncertain way, with the last syllable rising.

E-mail Harrigan

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Steve -

You are one weird and interesting person, tell us more!

— Barb (Fort Worth, TX)

Good morning Mr. Steve.

I am a Venezuelan woman living in the United States. I just want to thank you for showing the reality of my beloved country, Venezuela. Finally an important news channel showed the hardships the Venezuelan people are suffering. I pray that programs like yours will help to raise the awareness of the world of the true situation that Venezuela is living in now.

Mil Gracias,

"There is a way to roll an audio cable..."

You're right! Thanks for noticing. It's is the small things.

— Jeff (Birmingham, AL)

re: rolling an audio cable

Wow, it was so refreshing to read about this simple thing. Being an ex-pro musician I know first-hand the frustration of trying to explain this process to well-doers. ("'re making a big deal outta nothin") They want to wrap the cables from around their hand to their elbow, because it's faster (so it must be better) not understanding the delicacy of, or, the time/cost of repair of these cables. Wrapping this way can, and does break the tiny wires inside.

That 'nod' you received was a subtle acceptance of and thank you for the respect you had just given.

— Dan

Dear Mr. Harrigan (Steve),

I can relate to your search for a good martial arts instructor. The first school I scoped out had the right attitude, but a tendency to promote to ensure "no hard feelings." The second one was instructed by a man who liked to belittle students for imperfections as if it would make them work harder. Like the third bowl of porridge, the third school was just right.

Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog and hope you remain safe no matter where your travels lead you.

— Gena (California, PA)

Dear Fox News:

I just saw Steve Harrigan on "The O'Reilly Factor." He was commenting on the upcoming election in Iraq. I was extremely impressed with his no-nonsense reporting. It was refreshing to see. We need more reporters like him. I could see the intensity, honesty, and passion in him. I've never written anything like this before but after seeing him I just had to send in this e-mail. Whatever you are paying him, he deserves every penny and more!

Bob Cook

I just watched your interview of Steve Harrigan on "The Factor" this evening. His visible emotion regarding the dangers faced by Iraqi citizens and journalists was very telling. Mr. Harrigan did more to "cover the story" in Iraq during those few moments than all the network news blabber combined. Bravo!
— Steve (Independence, MO)

Dear Steve,

I watched you today on "FOX and Friends" as well as "The Factor" with Mr. O'Reilly.

I have enjoyed your reporting for the past two years. I just wanted to tell you how moved I was by your honest report of the upcoming elections. I wish more people would have told us what REALLY to expect on Sunday. PLEASE take care of you!! We need truth-bearers.

— Dawn (Washington, NJ)

There isn't anyone who can bring us the news out of Iraq like you do. I was surprised to see you on FOX this morning and I hope it is your choice not be in Iraq at this historical time. You certainly have played a major part in the history of this war. Thanks for doing such a good job keeping us informed. Stay safe.

— Karen

I am a former Marine Corps Officer and my son is an active duty Marine on an Abrahms tank crew who rotates to Iraq within 45 days.

It is these people he will be fighting for. Thank you

— John

I caught you this AM on "FOX and Friends," which quite frankly, I rarely watch. I appreciated your frankness and honesty as you tried to paint an accurate picture of the situation. And I really laughed at your "lawyer" comment to Kilmeade. Good one. Stay safe.

— Steve (Glen Burnie, MD)

Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.