On the road. Finally...
Yesterday, leaving behind a wake of tears and waving hands, we left
Victoria on the 11 A.M. ferry. Well, okay, we missed that one (Chris
needed a last-minute haircut, you see), but the 12 o’clock
worked just fine...
Let me tell you, a whirlwind week it has been. Telephones and computers
working overtime to have everything set and ready for the departure.
People madly stuffing suitcases, pulling hair, jumping up and down,
running around like chopped chickens. Last-minute meetings with
sponsors, last-second accumulation of necessities - hockey sticks,
water pistols, bongo drums (don’t ask, Erik’s idea),
granola bars, pillows, fishing nets… you name it, and you
could most likely find it somewhere packed into the depths of our
beautiful blue motor-home. (Have you ever, by the way, driven around
in a vehicle with pictures of your face blown up to six or seven
times actual size and plastered across its sides? Try it, it’s
a blast) The clock was ticking away, and still so much to do. Conferences
scheduled, billets finalized, internet-access solidified, web-site
tweaked, promotional packages mailed… Bah, this list of long-and-boring,
I’ll stop it right there. Simply enough… A lot of work,
little of time.
But, somehow - I still don’t know how - it was done. Finished.
Packed up. Settled. All that remained was to trundle down the driveway
(then wait, shaking the head in resignation, as Val hopped out and
ran back inside to catch that last phone call – after all,
it could have been the Pope, right?) and drive away.
Anyways, to move things ahead; there we were, squeezing this beast
of a bus onto a ferry, then pounding through downtown Vancouver’s
too-small streets, while trying extremely hard not to side-swipe
poles, up-root traffic lights, or bash bumpers. A short time later,
we pulled up at the hotel.
Karina (Hotel liaison extraordinaire) came racing to the curb. “It’s
all set, just like you wanted,” she said. “Three rooms.
GM John on his way over to meet with you. The A/V guys just finishing
up with the press conference room right now, so it’ll be all
ready for the morning.”
Ah, the press conference. So easy, it seems, watching on TV as politicians
smile, rock stars bang their heads, hockey players pull sweaters
over their heads… But a far different story it is, when at
you the lights are blazing, at your head the five fat black television
cameras are aimed, upon your words the rows upon rows of scribbling
journalists are poised and hanging… So a nervous bunch it
was, this night before, writing speeches until the wee hours. “Uh,
hey, Val, let me read a bit of what I’ve got so far. Tell
me what you think, okay?” “…Uh, yeah, you’re
probably right... I’ll give it another shot.” And that,
I’m afraid, was the end of day one.