"Awesome," Steven said. "I can credit you as 'self-proclaimed Prom expert' if you prefer. Or I can say that anonymous sources pointed me in your direction. That'd make you 'reputed Prom expert Juliana Jones', which sounds a little more legitimate."
He dug through his pack, searching for his microcassette recorder. It wasn't long at all before his fingers brushed it. He slipped it out of his backpack and set it down on the table. He'd popped in a new cassette this morning, and he hadn't used the recorder since, so he knew he was ready to go. Of course, there was the usual courtesy check first.
"You mind if I record this? It saves a lot of time on note-taking and lets me focus on the interview better."
Some people really did not like the idea of being recorded, even if it amounted to roughly the same thing as having notes about them doodled on a pad of yellow paper. Steven could respect little irrational preferences, though. At least, he could respect them if he respected the person he was talking to. Otherwise, he'd usually just assume permission unless told otherwise.
The worst thing was when people wanted to hear what he'd recorded. Steven had discovered that most people really disliked the sounds of their own voices. Well, no, that wasn't quite correct: they disliked the sounds of recordings of their own voices. It had even been a hurdle for Steven himself when he'd started keeping vocal notes. He still wasn't very happy with how he sounded, and he put conscious effort into his speech precisely because of his awareness.
Well, no matter. He'd just hope Juliana was secure or, barring that, disinterested in hearing what she sounded like on tape.