Other Stuff: The World is a Wonderful Place

by Lynn on October 5, 2014

in The Passionate Playgoer

The World Is a Wonderful Place.

Various Observations.

• In the Times Square Subway Station, people rushing everywhere, a woman sits on a chair, making wonderful, eerie sounds as she plays her amplified saw.

• At the Atlantic Theatre, New York City, two senior ladies sit in the downstairs lounge before the show. One says to the other: “I keep on getting these e-mails on the internet on dieting. I must have pressed something and I get these notes on dieting. From who? (she asks herself rhetorically) From God?”(She says this in a wonderful New Yawk accent; and she doesn’t need to diet.)

• The first lady’s friend has her own story. “There is a phone for deaf people. It’s from a company in Kansas. You have to fill in forms and the doctor has to confirm it. I was reading the instructions on the web. They were upside down. And in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish. I pressed English and got Spanish.”

• In Toronto. I walk toward Tim Horton’s for a vanilla cappuccino and a toasted everything bagel and cream cheese—my breakfast of choice when I am embarking on the long drive to Ottawa to visit my cousins. I pass by a guy, dishevelled hair, unshaved, dirty clothes. He is pacing back and forth in front of the place. I go in and place my order, pay for it and stand to the right of the counter, waiting for my order. The dishevelled guy comes up beside me and says to the cashier: “I don’t want to buy anything, but I want to donate money to the children’s fund (he drops some coins in the box for this fund at the cash register). Can I sit down, take my aspirin and collect my thoughts?” The young cashier looks at him inexpressive, blinks and says yes.

• I went to the funeral of the mother of a friend of mine. Always a sombre situation. I was early and two fellahs of a certain age from the funeral home were sitting outside, waiting for the mourners to park in the lot. If they were going to the cemetery they parked in a certain place, neatly in lanes, and if not they parked elsewhere in the lot. I passed by one of them and asked, “Busy day?” He nodded and said “Yes.” I noted there were to be a lot of funerals scheduled for that day. I replied, “That’s life.”

• A weekend in Boston. I was going home to Toronto after seeing Finding Neverland at the American Repertory Theatre, and Karen MacDonald in Doubt –she’s a friend. We support our friends. My flight was 5:30 pm on Sunday. I thought it was for 7:30 pm. but luckily saw my error the day before I was to leave for Boston. I was fortunate I didn’t book a theatre ticket for the Sunday afternoon.

I checked out a famous Boston bakery in the area; bought some pastry and left for the airport at about 11:30 am. I was hoping the airline would put me on an earlier flight. There was a flight at 1:00 pm and one at 3:00 pm. I was hoping for anything earlier than 5:30 pm.

I approached the women at the counter and said I hoped to be put on an earlier flight but not have to pay a penalty. She said she would look but that I might have to pay a penalty. (I so love it when people listen to you!”). It would be $150 extra. No thank you.

I checked through security with my carry on suit case and my backpack with my computer. I moseyed over to The Earl of Sandwich to buy a ham and cheese sandwich. Then over to the Hudson Newsstand for a Peter Paul Almond Joy bar and a tube of Rolaids—to be safe. Then over to the Starbucks for a bottle of water and an Earl Grey tea. I worked on my computer and got some bits out of the suit case to write. I was there about 45 minutes then gathered up the bag of pastry, the wrapped sandwich and the tea and sauntered over to the Porter gate. I put down the bag of pastries, the cup of Earl Grey tea and the still wrapped sandwich. I read the Boston Globe. Good stuff in it.

About 2:30 pm I prepared to approach the Porter Desk to see if I could get on the earlier (3:00 pm) flight but without penalty. Backpack on my back. Suitcase at the ready. Suitcase?! No suitcase. Not fallen on the floor. Nowhere. Panic. I retraced my steps, even going into washrooms I never was in. I went to the Hudson Newsstand. Nothing. The Earl of Sandwich. Nothing. I asked the lady at Starbucks if she saw a suitcase and she hadn’t. But two burly guys with walky-talkies did. They said that the police came by with a sniffer dog and sniffed it and even called the phone number on the identification tag. It of course was my Toronto phone number where I was not. The police took the suitcase about 10 minutes before. I twigged to the fact that I had just forgotten to take it when I left! Where they took it was the mystery.

I was redirected to the security check in. The nice guard called someone who said that the suit case was probably on its way to the Lost and Found. Where was the Lost and Found? The guard said was in another terminal, about 10 minutes walk from there between Terminal B and C.I was to turn left out of the building and follow the curved sidewalk until I came to Terminal B and C. I was now in Terminal E.

Out through security; past the people waiting in line to have their bags checked; through the terminal to outside and then to the left to follow the curve of the sidewalk until I got to a part between Terminal B and C. I came to a place between Terminal B and C and found no sign for a Lost and Found. I asked people for directions. I was told to go back to one of the terminals. I said I was told it was between Terminal B and C. The guy I was talking to told me to ask a State Trooper. They are clearly recognizable. They are all from Central Casting. All wear sunglasses. All have a car with their lights flashing. The cars are parked but the lights are flashing just so that the public can see them. Each terminal has its own State Trooper. The one I approached was standing outside his Rover. He carefully gave me directions. “Do you see that sidewalk that curves along the building ovah theyah? (they all talk like a Kennedy). Follow it around until you get to Terminal B and C. Go up the stayahs and follow a hallway around and there is the lost and found.”

And he was right. But when I got there the door was closed. I knocked. Nothing. Panic. The room was supposed to be open. I saw a phone to the side of the door and called a number in case of emergency. While it was ringing, I realized I hadn’t actually tried the door. I’m such a Canadian. We don’t just barge in….The door was open. A glass partition separated the public from the people on the other side. I told the young man I had left my suitcase about an hour before at the Starbucks in Terminal E. I was told the men who took it would bring it there. He asked when that was. I said about half an hour before. It was now 3:00 pm. He said that he had been there since 11:00 am and no one brought in a suit case.

He went to the room where luggage is brought; stood in the door-well and looked and said it wasn’t there. He suggested I go outside the building and wait for it to be brought. I asked how long that could take and he said a couple of hours. I said that my plane was leaving in a couple of hours. He didn’t seem too concerned.

Frustrated, overheated from the rushing around, and panicking about what to do, I went down a side set of stairs, (different from the stairs I went up), was confused about where I was but found my way out. Over by the far curb was another State Trooper’s car with flashing lights. The Trooper was inside. Sunglasses, large bottle of orange juice resting on the shift panel, and he was smoking a cigar. I had to supress a smile. I told him my plight. The suit case was not at the Lost and Found. Could he please make a call to wherever, to see where it might be? Bless him, he did. He began punching in numbers on his iphone with his pen, but got confused. “Now you’re going to make me put on my reading glasses.” Which were on a cord around his neck. He put down his cigar. He took off his sun glasses and put on his reading glasses with a bit of being tied up in the cords etc. He called the number and explained the problem and still no sight of the suit case.

He said that they would find it and it would be returned to me. He said that it might take a few days—it had happened to him—but it would work out. Because my plane was at 5:30 pm and it was now about 3:30 pm he suggested I go back to the Lost and Found and fill in a claim form.

Back into the building. In all the rushing here and there and up this stairway and down that, I lost the way to the Lost and Found. I asked people who looked official—who had identification badges on and walky-talkies. One said to go downstairs. I asked others and got a different answer in all cases. I was directed to a young woman at “Information.” She called the Lost and Found and I get the sense that she was speaking to the guy I had just left. The suitcase was not there. I wanted to fill in a claim form but lost the way to the Lost and Found. She told me to go upstairs. I interrupted her and said someone told me to go downstairs. She said firmly, “Ma’am, I can appreciate your frustration but this is the way to the Lost and Found. I didn’t argue and followed her instructions, which were perfect. I found the Lost and Found.

The young man was still there. I asked to fill in a claim form. He seemed reluctant to give it to me—perhaps I hadn’t waited long enough. I began to fill in the form. The guy was going on his break and a lady was taking his place. He told her quietly that I was looking for my suit case but it wasn’t there. He, banana, orange and carton of milk in hand, said again that he had been there since 11:00 am and no suit case was brought in. Then he left the room to go into another one to my right.

The lady looked sympathetic. She asked when I lost the suitcase. I told her about an hour ago and that the security people were bringing it but still hadn’t arrived. She asked what it looked like. “It’s a small carry-on blue suitcase with a white plastic bag tied around the handle. The young man hadn’t actually asked me what it looked like. The lady went to the room where the lost stuff is brought. She stood in the door well, like the guy had done earlier. She paused. Her face crinkled a bit. She walked into the room and out of my sight and came back a few seconds later pulling my suitcase. “That’s it!!”

She went to the log book with the entries of each found item and its description. At 2:45 pm my suitcase was brought in and entered in the book complete with my name and address and the description In other words my suitcase was there when I came at 3:00 pm and the young man couldn’t be bothered to look. He heard me the woman talking about the case and came out to see what was happening. She showed him the suitcase. He never looked at me. He never apologized and went back to his break in the other room. The woman looked embarrassed for? because of ? him. I signed for the case. She put it in a room for me to pick up—that security is so tight. I took the case and went into the hallway to see the young Information woman. I told her I got the case and that it had been there all along. She seemed shocked by that. I then apologized for being rude before and she was gracious.

I left the building light-headed, relieved, and at one point, tearful at my good fortune. Yes, good fortune!

I got back to Terminal E and went through security again. My backpack was stopped. There was a bottle of water in it! Of course, the bottle of water I bought after I went through security the first time. The security lady was thoughtful and said it would have to be tossed. I wanted to explain how it got there. She said it didn’t matter really but it had to go.

No problem. I got to the Porter gate again. I sat in the same seat in the corner. My tea was still there. My wrapped ham and cheese sandwich was still there and my bag with the two pastries was still there. Untouched. My lucky day……..

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shari Caldwell October 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Remind me to never fly anywhere with you. I would have been dead in Beantown.


2 Tandy Cronyn October 7, 2014 at 4:24 am

I’ve missed reading “Other Stuff” – so glad to have this installment. Keep ’em coming!