When we arrived downtown, the fog was thick. Later that night, while we slept, the wind and rain hammered at two sides of the hotel.
And yet hundreds of conference attendees, the next morning, still drink coffee like strangers.
But among these iPads, cell phones and conference pens, I cling to my well-connected yellow pencil. I like the way Ticonderoga rolls between my fingers.
Here, the teachers are more cheeky than my own students. They text like caged animals. But even those who listen, judging by their sketchy responses, often miss the point of a presenter’s question.
I drink lots of coffee here.
Lunch in the ballroom. Tomato bisque soup. Deflated mandarin oranges on my chicken.
After the emcee dismisses us, my server stops me with a smile. Her strong arm hoists a stack of dirty plates. The leftover sauce works as a blessing, it seems, holding the white edges together like a good denture adhesive.
Now I see why the banquet organizers use, er, serve that sauce …
She looks me in the eye. “I thought you guys were going to have an awards ceremony?” She turns and stretches her arm toward another plate.
“We did,” I answer.
She turns around. “Really? When?”
“You were passing out our plates.”
“Oh, I missed it then. Well, you all have a great day.”
“Yes, you too,” I say.
But my eyes go somewhere else. Toward the doors. After all, I had to find the best route to my next exit without the help of a helicopter’s traffic report. I need to be ready. I have places to go.
But something doesn’t feel right. A voice tells me to turn around. I look for her eyes.
“Thank you for serving us,” I call.
. . .
Last night I returned home from Indy, a city now racing to get ready for a Super Bowl. In just over a week, the downtown core will serve more than 150,000 people.
A team of communicators has already begun setting up a social media command center, the first ever for a Super Bowl. There, professionals will tweet directions and parking tips to strangers.
Oh how we long to be served. Sometimes we covet a good parking spot even more than a trophy.
But I’m still drawn to the twinkling eyes of a woman who served so faithfully that she missed the award presentation completely.
This behavior belongs to another kingdom.
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