PILGER — If one didn't know better, it looked like a new small town popped up overnight this week along Highway 15.
The highway on the west side of tornado-devastated Pilger became Mediaville, population of about 100 journalists from all over the country.
With them came dozens of cars and vans, more TV cameras and even more cell phones.
They came from places like Washington D.C., and Chicago, and represented national TV stations like CNN as well as independent storm chasers.
At times, they resembled a herd. They stuck together. Then, one person would stray and the rest followed — without perhaps even knowing where they were going.
At other times, they resembled chickens. Law enforcement would toss out a bit of information and reporters pecked and pecked, fighting to get their share.
Being restricted to a small area just outside of town, it was easy to hear what many of the visitors were saying and thinking.
Remember, these folks travel a lot, and get dropped into many places each month or week. Local and area newspaper and radio reporters have an advantage.
So, here’s a peek into Mediaville.
It is by far the most-used word this week.
Are you Tweeting? Should we be Tweeting? That guy there, he’s Tweeting. Hurry up and Tweet. OK, who Tweeted? Aw, how did they Tweet that before us? I thought we Tweeted?
— Coffee, please.
Someone actually said this.
“Where am I? Can someone tell me where I am? I’m where? OK, where’s that?”
And, then there was this one.
“I need a coffee shop. Is there one here?”
A Pilger resident said, drive a few miles and stop at a cafe or a gas station.
“No, I mean a coffee shop. You know?”
The resident grinned and repeated: Drive a few miles and stop at a cafe or a gas station.
— Definite disconnect.
Sometimes, things that are obvious here can be completely foreign to others.
“My boss told me to go and talk to people at a co-op. What is that? And, is there one around here?"
And, of course.
"What do you call those big metal things that have stuff coming out? That's corn on the ground, right? Right. OK, and those holders are called what?"
— Geography disaster.
A TV reporter from Washington, D.C., asked a local man, "How far is it from here to Omaha?"
"Oh, about a hundred miles," the man said.
"What? A hundred miles?" the reporter said, looking extremely worried and distressed. "Oh, my gosh. Do you have any idea how far that is?"
"Yeah,” the man said, trying to keep a straight face. “I believe that it's about a hundred miles."