Monday, October 20, 2008

To discuss a Weekend Update: Meet Me In St. Louis, Part 1

Because of the length, depth and height of my weekend trip to St. Louis, I am going to bust this down to a two-parter, since your attention span is already weakening your ability to...*

The purpose of the trip: Go on a business trip to St. Louis, MO (which, contrary to the post office acronym, is not in Montana. It's Missouri. This is why I prefer AP style). I attended a weekend-long seminar for reporters on how to better cover high schools.

This covers things I heard/was given/almost missed. As with my new Weekend Update standards, this is mostly context free so as to increase false assumptions and perilous conclusions.

Things I heard:
"God I hope they don't make me take my bra-wl off." - A heavy, older woman behind me at the security check in Baltimore/Washington airport. Now, they already go overboard with all the security- let's remember that 9/11 happened with boxcutters, not hidden bombs in my shoes- but I did have a small hope security would cavity search this lady so she could make a big scene about taking off her undergarments. I'm assuming her bra-wl (southern for bra) had an underwire in it, or, in her case, an undergirder beam.

* I sat beside the emergency exit door on my first trip, an experience my airliner did not want me to take lightly:
Stewardess: (Stern look) "Do you understand all the responsibilities of sitting in this row, and will you assist in the case of an emergency?"
Me: "Does anyone ever tell you no?"
Stewardess: "I don't let them."
Me: (fear of God instilled) "Um, I'm cool." (Although, if it comes down to us needing the emergency exit, we're screwed anyway. Same goes with those seat cushions-as-flotations devices. I'd like to see the crash landing on water that would necessitate their use.)

* I have no fear of flying- although I'm not a big fan of death- so getting on planes is no problem. I do get nervous, though, when I hear the B16 gate attendant announce the pilot would like us all to board quickly so he can get home in time for the game that night.

* On the way to the hotel: An oration on the best places to visit in St. Louis, given impromptu by the guy who drove the shuttle van. I felt like I was at a traveling Southern Baptist service, only he was preaching the commandments of jazz and barbecue. A few excerpts:
On a dance club: "I'm going to hurt you with a little bit of blues, kiss you with a little bit of salsa, smack you with a little bit of country and hit you with a little bit of rock and roll." (That might be classified as sexual assault, but boy does it sound appealing.)
On finishing a plate of the best barbecue in the country: "I don't know what condition you will be in, but it will be delicate." (And sticky)

* On Saturday night, after hours of seminars, most of us went out on the town. The conference organizers arranged for us to all go drinking, as reporters are best known for alcoholism, misquoting and a liberal bias. Eventually, I took to the streets with a group of four- myself and three female reporters from N.J., Mich. and La. (take that, postal service).
The following conversation took place in a time span of about 2 minutes:
Old dude: "Do you know where Blah Blah bar is?"
Me: "Yeah, actually, we just came from there, it's down the street."
Old dude: (To Mich. girl): "You have a nice smile." (pauses... stares awkwardly)
Mich. girl: "Uh...."
(Enter homeless dude)
HD: "Hey y'all... It's my birthday today."
Me: "Well, happy birthday"
(The three girls start walking slower behind HD and me, as they are more street savvy and also willing to sacrifice one for the benefit of the group. They'd never cut it in the military.)
HD: (Sings a random birthday song he apparently made up on the spot... and then): "Hey, you know this song? Ba beeda boo, eh da di, booo uhh ugh."
Me: "No idea, dude. Are you beat boxing?"
HD: "C'mon, you know this (continues beat boxing and scatting in a manner I might expect from the love child of Ella Fitzgerald and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, only if that child was also doing crystal meth)
NJ girl: (To me) "Hey, uh, you want to cross the street?"
And, scene.

* Barack Obama. It wasn't clear, and it wasn't technically in person, but I heard him. He was speaking across the street, under the St. Louis Arch, at a political rally attended by almost 100,000 people (see tomorrow's post). People at the seminar stayed at the hotel, but you could hear him over the loud speakers. I made sure to look out for terrorist activity-- you owe me, Palin.

Things I was given:
* A Gideons' Bible- they're orange now. Evidently, green bibles are soooo last season.

Things I almost missed:
* The last out of the American League Championship Series. On my flight home, we had access to XM satellite radio in our seats. I'm not a fan of the Red Sox or Rays, but I still love baseball. On the final out, as the Rays are either going to blow their 3-1 lead or win the pennant, the freaking stewardess interrupts the audio by giving us the final deboarding procedures. She just stopped early enough to catch the final call that the Rays one. And to think I almost missed it so that I could be reminded not to stand until the seat belt sign was turned off.

* finish this sentence. See, that's one down.

Coming tomorrow- Things I saw- Expect photos, including one with nuns.


gracie-mel said...

i've often wondered why, if sitting by the emergency exit door is so Front Page of the Newspaper serious, then they don't make you sign something or make it so that only Big Girly Men sit there.
then again, probably if the situation is THAT serious, there's probably a hole in the plane somewhere else to jump out of anyway, making the whole point moot.

Amy xxoo said...

Yep, i've had the Emergency Door seat too.... luckily my flight attendant was a friend of mine from school and was okay with me giggling and going " yeah, sure, i can totally handle it! "

Also I love enthusiastic shuttle van/taxi drivers... i had a great one in Orlando, and an awesome personal chauffeur in Lima, Peru. Totally enhances the trip!

tracie said...

1. Thank you for referencing one of my favorite musicals.

2. Thank you for visiting the hometown of Nelly.

Miss Tiff said...

I never have had to sit next to the emergency door. I think that would probably freak me out a bit. Looking forward to reading part 2.

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