You shouldn’t bleed over the floor of the studio. You’d think that’d be obvious, right? First rule of being a professional in media: no bleeding on things. Or biting, scratching, kicking, screaming or dribbling. No bodily fluids in general, really. This is media for God’s sake, not the Beehive.

PHOTO VERITY JOHNSON

And yet there I was bleeding into the new studio. Because I’d tried to catch public transport to a live radio interview.

Let me take you back 45 minutes. I was in a café, about a five-minute drive from the radio studio, preparing notes for my live panel slot on Newstalk ZB. I finished up, realised I was pretty early, and thought, “You know what, I’m not paying $40 for a five-minute taxi ride. I’ll get the bus. I’ve got time.”

It was only $1.50. What a good citizen I am, I thought, hovering onto the bus on a cloud of golden, fluffy smugness. How environmentally friendly I am, how respectful of the council’s good work and investment!

Roll forward 41 minutes, and the bus had crawled perhaps 500m. I was plastered to the window, pleading silently, as it wheezed through a thousand stops in rush-hour traffic. It was five minutes until I was supposed to be on air. I was still at the bottom of the hill. NZME was at the top. We weren’t going to make it. I’d have to run.

I jumped from the bus, landed in my stilettos, wrenched them off, and promptly stood on a piece of glass. Four minutes to go.
Blood began pooling between my toes. But I was still at the bottom of the hill, and NZME was at the top… So I began to run, shoes in hand, glass in feet, and skirt riding up around bum.

I lurched into the office with one minute to spare, and the host looked at me as though I’d just been spat out from a sewer.

“Hello Verity. in a rush are we?” he said icily. I didn’t have the air, or the dignity, left to respond.

It was as I stood there sweating, heaving and bleeding into the new carpet, that I realised I’d made my classic mistake. Not just that I’d worn the wrong shoes. Nor used public transport. Nor even that I’d had faith in the bus system.

But I’d gotten complacent. I’d gotten smug.

Old me would never have left anything about an interview to chance. She’d have been there half an hour early, glugging the chilled water and folding the napkins into tiny triangles.

But I had done too many interviews, been on too many panels… I’d forgotten to take them seriously, and instead I’d grown blasé. Blasé enough to take a bus that could be horrifically late, not considering the fact that Auckland transport specialised in being horrifically late.

It’s been a couple of years now, and I haven’t been invited back. But while I missed out on future panels with ZB, it did teach me one thing. However talented you are, as soon as you get complacent you’ve lost it.

@veritycarajohnson

verityjohnson.com