Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fumbling to Florida

I had two hourlong speaking engagements in the Miami area scheduled for 10/23/13; both at synagogues, one starting at 5:30 p.m, the other at 7:30 p.m. Here’s how most of it went wrong:
  • My shuttle to Reagan Airport in DC was supposed to arrive between 7:56 and 8:11 a.m. It came just past 8:30. No big deal, especially compared with what was to come.
  • There were two people on the shuttle: a woman and me. Her terminal drop-off was first. There were two bags in the back: hers and mine. Guess which one she took? If you guessed hers, guess again. This mirrored an incident in May, when another person accidentally took my bag off the back of an airport shuttle; arranging the switch caused me to miss my flight. The person today did so even though her bag was gray, not black like mine, and even though her bag DID NOT HAVE A HUGE ORANGE PIPE CLEANER ATTACHED TO THE HANDLE.

  • Around 10 a.m., my 10:55 a.m. direct flight was canceled. Guess how many other direct flights they had out of Reagan to Miami that would get me there in time for my first talk? If you guessed anything other than zero, guess again. My only option was shelling out $80 (!) for a taxi to Dulles Airport to take the 2:25 p.m. direct…which would arrive after my first talk was set to start. Luckily, American Airlines did rebook me and luckily the earlier venue was able to reschedule me for later during the same trip. But still…hugely aggravating.
  • Of course the 2:25 p.m. flight was delayed. Luckily, only 30 minutes.
  • I landed in Miami around 5 p.m. I had to walk to Mexico—or so it felt—simply to get the monorail to the car rental center….where, of course, the line was longer than any I’d seen in recent memory. I took a chance and went straight to the kiosk in the garage, where the kind man helped me even though they usually send people back to the counter inside.
  • Of course there was traffic. After all, it was Miami and it was rush hour.
  • Luckily, I did make it to my 7:30 p.m. in time…but not in time to change in (let alone check in at) my hotel. So for the first time ever, I wore a collarless shirt to present. Luckily, the audience was cas, too.
  • It was a small, Reconstructionist synagogue whose parking lot was dirt. During my talk, it began pouring. Dirt + downpour = mud. And I was wearing dress shoes. Solution:

And here’s what went right:

  • The audience was warm and engaged.
  • I met Bruce Wayne. Yes, this guy’s name is really Bruce Wayne (Wayne being his middle name, but he introduces himself that way). He even offered to take a close-up photo of his license to prove it, but I didn’t want to compromise his privacy for the sake of my blog.

The talk was part of the Miami Jewish Book Festival, whose program cover had some cool type design.

Thank you to all who helped get me to Florida and get me back to the hotel with non-muddy shoes.

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