I had a real nice time riding around in this shuttle bus from my hotel to anywhere in Pittsburgh. Of course I had only the other hotel where my work was happening, to go to. Nothing adventurous or exciting for sure. But then the ride itself was always invariably fun.
The first day I was driven by a pimply chap who asked me where I was from. I reluctantly told him and they all oohed and aahed. I was quite tired and out of it but still managed to catch glimpses of dinosaurs which was cool (I knew their names, which was strange). In the evening, I expected to take a cab back but on a limb called the hotel and voila! there was the shuttle to bring me back! I was real surprised with this. It was just so convenient, I hardly needed to know the address to my hotel...
The best was over the next few days, I became friends with one of the shuttle drivers. She was so cool in her leather jacket making fun of all the 'vertically challenged' people. Hey! that means me! I told her. We talked about daughters. She has three. The eldest is sixteen. I imagined myself twelve years down the line. Talking about my sixteen year old girl. I missed her a bit whenever I was with Tracy. I was wearing my conference badge one day. So you are of course going to the same place she said. Oh I feel like a geek I said. I kid you not, we were so upset the day I left. I thanked her profusely, wished her well, she assured me she would miss me a lot, and we both decided we would survive somehow, despite the distance that separates us.
And one night I was driven by this young chap. Two huge looking guys got in all giggling and clearly pretty drunk. Don't tell my mum or anything, it was 9:30 in the night (well, I was technically doing conference things, including the dinner), and I suppose I would have felt a bit uncomfortable but I was not thinking anything. So the guys went on and on about some woman called Honey and so on and finally I got irritated when things started getting just a bit too lucid and said 'Okay you guys, don't mind me' They suddenly noticed me and started asking me the usual stuff. Where are you from. Mumbai of course. Back in Indi-er. So this fellow, goes "Do they have pot in India?" I KNOW mum would have advised me to keep my trap shut. But I am nothing if not completely foolish. So I tell him "Of course! Why do you think the Beatles went there?" That took them off in a loop about Maharshi (which they could not pronounce), and Maha Gandhi (OH HEAVENS), and so on. It was appropriately the Second of October and, instead of feeling it was absolute sacrilege, I encouraged them on. I felt like Ice Maiden or something when I refused their offer to go out for a drink with them and went back to my room and watched "Married with children" and "Full house" in a loop.
That apart (or that experience included?), my shuttle bus rides rocked. It was topped off with a nice ride back to the airport during which the driver assured me that my parents must be super proud of me. When I told him that my dad has passed on, he says, "So what? The dude is walking around looking at you from above, and telling his friends, that's my girl! and feeling ten feet tall"
I do hope so!