Monday, July 02, 2012
Hey, ya nevah know
Prior to that, there was a bit of drama in the Charlotte Airport. A few flights were delayed and there was a bit of a back up in the waiting areas at many of the gates. It was so hot that the AC overworked and then had a a meltdown.
Which is to say there was no AC in the airport terminal.It was like a steam bath in there. People were getting grumpy and a general sense of unhappiness came down like a lead curtain on the whole place. Hot, sweaty people sat limp in their chairs, fanning themselves slowly.
One little boy, who had been wiggling and dancing and running around suddenly fainted. It was clearly a case of dehydration but the folks called the EMTs. Standard airport policy. Which should not have been a big deal, except, if you are poor and don't have health insurance, even a fainting spell can be a big deal.
The father of the child had a meltdown. He knew his child was okay - he never really lost consciousness and that all he needed was water - but there were the EMTs who wanted to check out the child and make sure all their forms were filled out properly.
The father refused to have them go near his child. The EMTs were trying to do their job. Tempers flared. Fisticuffs ensued. It was awful.
Turns out the reason the family of four were at the airport in the first place is that they were taking the plane to Little Rock to move in with family. The father had lost his job and health insurance. Someone got sick. Medical bills were running up with no way to pay them. They lost their home and were taking the last of their money to fly everyone to Little Rock to live with family.
The last thing this man wanted or needed was another medical bill he couldn't pay. The EMTs were great. So was Airport Security. They assured the family that they would not be billed for examining their son to make sure he was okay.
Someone started to pass a hat to take up a collection for the family. I'm not sure how much was collected but I can tell you that when I put in my $5, the hat was filled with $10s and $20s.
When the hat filled with money was given to the family, they broke down and wept. It was enormously emotional. The father muttered a thank you and said something about how his faith in the American people was restored.
The mother said something about wanting to give her child water but couldn't afford the $2.50 per bottle that's charged at the airport. Someone gave her an aluminum water jug and told her that she could bring it in empty through security and then fill it up in the bathrooms (I saw no fountains in the airport terminals). She wept and said, "Yes, of course, I feel so stupid. I should have thought of that."
The young man who gave her the aluminum water jug said, "Hey, I've been traveling for years and I just figured this out a few months ago. When you're worrying all the time, it's hard to think creatively." Ain't that ever the truth!
The AC is now fixed, as is the phone by the bedside (which wasn't working), and the refrigerator in the "suite" - which also wasn't working - has been replaced. The Caucus Booth is almost all set up - it takes a while to stop and visit old friends and introduce yourself to new ones.
It's terribly hot and humid here in Indy. The AC in the hotel lobby and Convention Center runs from lukewarm to icy cold, depending on where you are. It's wise to dress in layers.
The best thing, however, is that there is an above ground glass tunnel which runs from the hotel to the Convention Center. It's air conditioned.
I've never liked those tunnels. I especially don't like the ones that run from Newark Penn Station to the various law firms and hotels in Newark. God knows, we don't want people to have to have their feet soiled by the gritty Newark streets.
I spent an hour walking around the Convention Center and its environs, just to get my grip. It's a very walkable city, it seems to me, and people here are obviously used to having lots of guests. The place is clean and there are lots of fountains and trees and cafes and restaurants and all the amenities one would expect around a Convention Center.
All that having been said, I'm so grateful for that tunnel. It's a quick stop on the second floor from the lobby and off you go into the air conditioned tunnel. Lovely. It should make my day a bit easier especially in this Midwestern heat and humidity.
If you had told me before I came here that I would be loving this tunnel I would have laughed in your face. Look, ma. I ain't laughin' no more. Hey, ya nevah know. And, nevah say nevah.
Speaking of which - I ran into a woman with whom I've worked on various projects in the past. This is her first convention, but she's no stranger to the Episcopal Church. What I didn't know about her is that she was raised Jewish and has never been baptized. Why would I know that? I mean, she's very active in the Church - although not 'a' church - and, well, I know I've seen her take communion at diocesan conventions.
She asked me to baptize her. Here. While we're in Indy.
I mean, she asked me out of the blue - well, for me, it was blue - amidst unpacking boxes and hanging banners and getting the display ready.
Turns out, she's Jewish, but her mother is still alive and she wanted to wait until she had passed before she made a public statement about her faith. "My mother is in her 70s and is in great shape," she said. "I'm not going to be in her face about this, but I'm doing this for me, not her."
So, now on my "to do" list is spending some time with her to make sure she knows what she's doing and what it's all about, Alfie....oh, and finding a church somewhere near here that will allow me to baptize her and register her baptism.
Or, maybe we'll just do it in one of the many fountains in this city and just record it in the church's register. I don't think the Cathedral is far from here. And, I think, St. Phillip's church is right around the corner. I'll go check it out and see just how far they'll extend their hospitality.
This is why I love The Episcopal Church.
Ya just nevah know what's going to come atcha and whether or not it will be from left or right field.
But, it's all good. Even the bad stuff works out, eventually. Like that family at the airport, totally undone by the kindness of strangers.
It's like my dear friend, Father Koumrainian says, "God is God and people is people."
And, because that's true, you just never know what people God will place in your life and what you'll be able to learn from them.