I sat down. "Everyone hates them, but I don't know if they're that much different from reporters. I went down to the Coloradoan to get that photo taken and walked through their office. Everyone sits in one room at rows of tables."
"They just stare at each other?"
I shook my head. "There's little walls on top of each workspace. But your chair's in an aisle where people walk."
"At least no one can get away with computer games."
"I couldn't concentrate. People sneaking up behind makes me nervous."
He smiled. "Maybe reporters are a lot more relaxed."
"Yeah, right. I think they learn to ignore extraneous things like six other conversations or people taking pictures."
"Probably makes their writing better."
"Maybe." My coffee had finally cooled enough to take a sip. "Or maybe it makes them more callous, like the paparazzi."
"You mean they get used to ignoring stuff so they figure anyone else can? You're stretching. People shoving cameras in your face when you're out on a date is a lot different from a coworker kibitzing your typing."
"Yes, but it's a difference of degree, not kind. There's a continuum from the writers at the Coloradoan working in aisles to hard-bitten national reporters asking nasty questions of politicians to the picture-popping paparazzi."
"So you're going to write a column about how the reporters at the Coloradoan killed Di." He let out a big sarcastic yawn. "Been done. Why don't you write about how she killed herself?"
"Think about it. There were four people in the car. One wore a seat belt; the other three died."
"She wasn't responsible for the accident."
"True, but injuries and accidents are not identical. Suppose I'm driving down the road and run a light and broadside you. Your Mazda flips a couple times, you unbuckle and get out to survey the damage."
"Probably totaled. You get to buy me a new car. Maybe a Porsche."
"Whatever. Now suppose I run the same light and you're some invincible airhead who doesn't use seat belts and you get thrown around inside and die of head injuries or get thrown out and the car crushes you like a bug."
"Then you committed manslaughter, you scum-sucking worm."
"Why? How come I'm responsible for your idiocy? Professional drivers always buckle up and the amount of time Americans spend driving makes us each a professional. Like that ruling called 'suicide by cop,' there ought to be 'seat belt suicide.'"
I shrugged. "I'm not gonna write that Di committed suicide."
"Yeah, you'd be despised by those who don't believe there's a reason collisions are called 'accidents.'"
"People with seat belts still die. My brother did."
"That was a head-on collision at 60 miles an hour. His wife and kids lived cause they were all wearing seat belts."
I stared at my coffee. "Maybe I'll write about something else."
"No. You could start a campaign. Since it's a personal choice to buckle up, people could take personal responsibility. Helping AIDS victims and ridding the world of land mines are good but beyond the reach of most folks. Yet they could remember the princess by buckling up every time they enter a vehicle. Just need a slogan."
"Don't say it."
Seymour grinned. "Don't die like Di. It rhymes."
I stood. "I'm moving to a different table."