Do you have those days when you feel like you are operating in a parallel universe of some kind? As if you are working the script of one movie (most often Lifetime) and other people are living the scripts of some other movie (like a Coen brothers film)?
I have had a couple of those experiences recently, both with creative connections...one obvious, one less so, but...
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Boston for the Crime Bake conference. As usual, this one was great, with the extra bonus that I had volunteered to be a time keeper for several presentations. But the real drama began when I arrived at the Boston airport for my direct flight home. It was a little before 6 a.m. and I had just dropped off my rental car and had been deposited at the terminal (always a scary thought to me). So when the attendant told me that my flight was canceled, I just knew that the rest of the trip would be memorable.
I was re-booked for a flight a couple of hours later, no longer direct. This time I would have to connect through Philadelphia, where my past experiences (and probably past life experiences, as well) were never positive. But, at least my thinking could be...I resolved to go with the good.
In Philly, waiting for my 1220 flight, at some point around 11:15 it was announced that the flight was canceled. People scurried to the one ticket counter (about 20 gates away) to rearrange flights. Being long legged, I was the second person to arrive at the counter. Next flight? About eight hours later.
After much debate, great inactivity, some arguing by other passengers, and the winds of fate, it was decreed that ground transportation would be arranged for the less than two hour land journey that would be needed to get home. But, oh! The baggage!
We were directed to get our bags so we could take them on the bus when it arrived. We were sent to an area where there were two carousels, and nobody knew which one would deliver our baggage. So, periodically five or six bags would be spit out of one area, and everyone would move to that side and wait. After fifteen minutes or so, the other side would spit out several bags and the behavior would repeat.
It was somewhere in the midst of an hour and a half of waiting for baggage that the most surreal event occurred. I was standing (remarkably I hadn't succumbed to fatigue) and watching for anything that might help me get out of that airport, when who should walk my way but Garrison Keillor, author/pundit and midwestern representative. He was wearing a trench coat, sweatpants, and red Adidas sneakers with no socks. He stood beside me and eventually plucked a red suitcase from the carousel and was on his way. I think I stood with my mouth open for a few seconds, watching him go. It was a punctuation point of an unreal day.
By the way, the baggage never arrived on either carousel. We were eventually told just to get on the bus, and that our baggage would be in the Harrisburg airport awaiting us. Of course, it wasn't. Mine arrived somewhere around 1030 pm by a beleaguered airport representative.
I will save the directly related creative story for the next entry!