Shell shocked. That’s the only way that I can describe how I felt (and feel) this morning as I lingered in bed, practically comatose, with Dan and the animals. After an impossible three-month string of professional obligations, in the past 48 hours alone I have flown back from a week of teaching at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, staying home less than an hour before loading up my car and driving five hours with Marley through torrential storms and the dark of night to make it to Martin, Tennessee, for a guest artist appearance yesterday. I gave two masterclasses and performed in recital and then jumped back in the car and drove the five hours home. That was it; the last of my travels for this way-overbooked semester.
But it gets even better…we left for the Vancouver Airport at 4:45am on Friday, making it in plenty of time for our 7:10 flight. We went through all the various levels of security, and as I opened my clarinet bag to replace my iPad after security screening, I suddenly froze. Where is my wallet?! I felt the panic rise- my life was in that wallet, including the driver’s license that I needed to drive to Tennessee that night.
I began to panic, pulling everything out of the bag and onto the metal security table, Dan helping and trying to keep me from freaking out. I realized what had had happened; in possibly the most epic travel fail of my many travels, I paid the cab driver, put the credit card back into my (black) wallet and sat it on the (black) seat in the very dark cab as I gathered my things…only I didn’t gather my wallet.
I did my best to breathe and think. Thankfully, I at least had the number of the cab service; I dialed the number and reached a very kind man who helped me to identify the cab driver by our pick-up time and location, cab number 44. He put me on hold as he called the driver, my heart feeling like it was going to jump out of my chest. The cabbie had returned to the city but would head back to international departures- he had my wallet!
I ran back outside and waited in the freezing cold, watching for one particular taxi in the pre-dawn darkness out of the hundred or more taxis that drove by. I kept watching the time; I would have to go through the entire security screening process again, and our boarding call was only fifteen minutes away. What if I made us miss the flight?
Finally, the cab number 44 drove up and rolled down his window. There was my wallet, everything intact. I could have hugged the man. I paid him the fare and tipped him, thanking him for his kindness and his time. What if he had not been an honest man? What if he had picked up a fare that may not have been so honest? The travel fairy had smiled upon me, and I was grateful.
I raced back to security, going through the whole painstakingly slow process (including another full body pat-down…just an FYI, don’t wear any sparkly clothes when you travel), and raced to our gate. Dan and I were the last people on the flight, but we made it. I about wept with gratitude.
And now, I rest. Blessed rest. I can promise that over the Thanksgiving break I’m really going to spend time considering choosing what things bring me joy and those that do not. I really have to start choosing me along with choosing career opportunities. It’s all about balance, right?