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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Further Adventures

The conference was over on Thursday, but I stayed over an extra day which a) saved some serious coin on the airfare, and b) gave me some time to spend with our daughter. Friday, we (Mark and Rev. Ref. came along as navigators) drove down to Indiana to have lunch with CJ. Along the way, we played a car game: finding things which began with consecutive letters of the alphabet. (Yes, an hour before I saw my child, and already I was practicing my parenting skills.). Mark also demonstrated his newest toy: A GPS navigator on his phone, which announced directions ("after 800 yards, turn left") in John Cleeve's best British Butler voice. We christened it Nigel.

We had a good visit (with a decent lunch, and lots of giggling and fun) then ran over to a nearby outlet mall so I could pick up a new pair of my preferred style of sneakers. I am not a meandering sort of shopper, so thought this would be quick-- drive over, run in, grab shoes, pay for shoes, run out. And all went as planned, until I got to step 4-- when I discovered my wallet was not in my coat pocket.

It really is amazing, how swiftly that desperate feeling can descend. How do I pay for the sneakers? Never mind the sneakers, I'm the driver on the rental car-- and now I don't have my license? Oh, #$% -- no license. I can't get on the plane to go home!

Searched the store-- nothing. Retraced our path back to the car-- nothing. So the salesclerk called security, while I alternated between trying not to panic, and mentally plotting how to get past the TSA Ziploc Patrol without a picture ID.

"Okay, bro-- you distract them by brandishing an unbagged tube of toothpaste, while I make a run for the gate!"

Okay, maybe not.

Here's the good news: the Official Security Dude called the customer service building, and discovered that some blessedly honest shopper had turned in a wallet. So we scurried over, and sure enough, there it was, completely intact-- cash, credit cards, and even my new Montana driver's license (complete with the lousy picture that my husband thoughtfully noted was incentive not to get pulled over, so I wouldn't have to show it to anyone).

So we left to get back, because the rental car needed to be returned by 6 PM. We were half an hour later leaving than I had hoped, because of the wallet thing, but I still hoped to make the deadline. After all, I've been making that drive for years, and I've learned a boatload of alternate routes to use when traffic gets snarky, as it inevitably does.

But Nigel kept contradicting me. Proposing other alternatives. Saying his ways were quicker, smoother, better...

Until, finally, I listened. This was a mistake. Nigel may have meant well, but he knows nothing about construction. Or badly timed street lights. Or rush hour traffic. Or other forms of idiocy that are standard procedure in Chicago.

Have I mentioned how much I do not miss all that?

Anyway we lost a lot of time on the "shortcut." Enough that we were worried about not making our deadline; and, as we were unable to return the car in the morning (we were scheduled to fly out before they opened), this would be a problem.

So, we did what any sensible group of clergy would do: we called for reinforcements.

"Okay, get over there, put your foot in the door, and stall for time. How? You're the Baptist-- start preaching!"

Whatever he did, it worked. We pulled in only a few minutes after six, to find the doors still open. Dropped off the car, and hitched a ride in the AngloBaptistMobile (aka the "Theological Short Bus") back to our hotel. Watched the last World Series game, and ate decent pizza.

Got up the next morning, and flew back to homes and families... and the Big Sky version of high rises at rush hour.

Nigel, eat your heart out.


Anonymous Mark J. said...

To be fair, once Nigel got us on 94 going North there wasn't any construction, and though slow we didn't sit in traffic.

I think if I lived in Chicago (which won't be happening soon) I'd have to pay for the traffic feature so that Nigel could direct one around slow or stopped areas.

October 29, 2006 9:27 PM  

Blogger Emily said...

I had no idea you had such excitement on Friday. Whew!

October 30, 2006 12:33 PM  

Blogger Reverend Ref + said...

For as much as I enjoyed seeing and being with friends, daily worship (and yes, I did get misty-eyed in the chapel) and all of that, it doesn't compare to the feeling I get when looking at this picture.

All of the adventures aside, it's good to be home.

October 30, 2006 1:38 PM  

Blogger cheesehead said...

Losing my driver's license is one of my worst traveling nightmares. I'm glad yours was found.

I love the big sky version of high rises at rush hour!

October 31, 2006 6:28 AM  

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