Monday, October 1, 2007

nostalgie de la bbq

Viable Paradise Eleven is underway. A new set of students, a new set of works-in-progress. Group critiques and one-on-ones and games of Thing and Mafia.
I feel (as I said elsewhere) as if I should be envious, or wishing I was there with them, but I can't find those emotions anywhere. I feel happy for them, I hope in a vague way that they have even half as wonderful a time as we did, and I look forward to reading Dorothy's thoughts about it all. But I don't imagine myself a student again, especially not a new student coming among strangers, with it all to do over.
I cherish the memories, the lessons and the friends that came from VPX. Those I keep.

Back in August 11-12, Terri-Lynn hosted a VPX reunion bbq at her place, which I mentioned briefly on another post. Of course, since the Xers keep in touch, reunions of some degree happen whenever two or three are gathered together, but this one grew and grew, snagging staff and instructors into its maw. And I was on the east coast in August, in Pennsylvania, hurrah!
The way eastern states and cities fit together confuses me. I mean, I know the names of places, I have all sorts of literary, fictional or historical associations with the names, but only the vaguest idea where the names are in relation to each other. So flying from Pittsburgh to New York in order to visit Connecticut made me dizzy, even when I looked at the map. Fortunately, cleverer people than me were doing all the actual transporting, both driving and flying.

On the way to the Pittsburgh airport, I saw (from a distance) one of the sites where George Romero filmed parts of the Dead series. No ghouls visible at that time. (Night called them 'ghouls'; I'm not sure when the terminology switched to 'zombies')
The staff at the Pittsburgh airport were cheerful and pleasant (huge contrast from my changeover on the way home from VPX) and one complimented my hi-top sneakers, which are a camo pattern with penwork additions by me. The portents were favourable.
Now, the earlier plan had been that Diana would be driving, and would pick up me, Evelyn and Linda on the way (woo! girls' road trip!) but due to family complications (families are complicated) that hadn't been possible. Diana, Evelyn and Linda were sorely missed--I'm harder to shake off, at least in this instance. Scott and Heather were renting a van, and willing to add me to the existing cargo of Chris and Bart. We'd all meet up at the car-rental desk.
I arrived at La Guardia (which I can't pronounce properly unless I stop and say it slowly, but you can't tell that online) and found it to be very large. I cast myself on the mercy of young men in reflective vests and found out that the Hertz desk was not a desk, or rather, that the desk was in a building on the outskirts of the airport.
Okay, I'm resourceful. I can take a shuttlebus as resourcefully as the next person. I did so, and reached the Hertz office, where I settled myself with Game of Kings and some dried apples, knowing I was the earliest arrival and that I could hardly be missed in the small glass box set on tarmac.
Considerably later, I looked up from Lymond being cleverer and more tortured than anyone else for the umpteenth time, and noticed that no one had claimed me yet. Hm. Well, my flight had been delayed due to weather, so might others. I popped over to the desk and asked about the rental, had they heard from Scott at all?
Well no, and they didn't have any rentals booked under his surname.
The unsettled feeling that I'd forgotten something vital and had screwed up and it was all my fault began its creeping progress. I reminded myself that Heather might well have booked the van. Did I know her last name? Um. No, I didn't.
I went back to Dunnett for another period (possibly the lower Cretaceous, since I had neither a watch nor a cellphone to measure it, and the office had no wall-clock) but the you-screwed-up feeling was not to be denied.
I sat at the office phone (THIS PHONE DOES NOT ACCEPT INCOMING CALLS) and called the cell numbers that I had noted down. My husband reported that no one had called him about cancellations or emergencies. Bart reported that he and Chris were happily drinking coffee at the food court closest to Scott's gate and that I should come and wait with them there. Before I could confirm whether Hertz would let me shuttle back to the airport when I wasn't myself renting anything, Scott made contact.
A while later Bart and Heather arrived, picked up a van, picked up Scott and Chris at the airport, and we were on our way.
Addendum: On the road, Chris pointed out where some of the filming of Men in Black had been done. There's some significance there, in my flying from a horror set to an sf set, but I don't know what it is.

More later - must do something about dinner.

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