May 19, 2007
Greetings from Nashville! I just love awanderin’ the big city with ya and all, but there’s no place like home. Within five minutes of giving the fellas a souvenir from New York, a copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys, one of them took a magnifying glass out into the sunny day and set fire to a wicker basket on the front steps. I mean, on fire. Like, comes-and-gets-Mom on fire. They didn’t get the idea to set fire to a basket from this book, but I’m concluding that we may not need any help in finding danger around here.
Thanks for your hospitality. Staying at your apartment was really great. The photo shoot was really great. I can’t wait to see how the photos turn out. I mean, I really hope the photos turn out, because we may not have the chance to shoot some of that stuff again.
I sort of hate even to mention this, but right this minute I can’t really say where that duffel bag of knitted stuff for the book has gone. It’s going to be fine. I’m sure. I mean, I’ve only truly and really lost a bag “forever” once. This situation is just a little test of our mettle, that’s all.
I mean, I got to LaGuardia with time to spare. I checked my two bags. Bag A: my usual lame collection of T shirts. Bag B: all knitting. A third of the projects for the book–you know, the samples so lovingly knitted in a clammy panic by us and kind people with quick fingers?
I have to say, even as I watched my bags suck into the giant X-ray machine, I had a feeling about things. There were just too many people lined up at the American counter–a hundred or more. It looked like Christmas, only less festive. There was a batch of at least six shrink-wrapped valises bound for South America right ahead of me, big enough that you could pack a couple of humans in there. Too many people, too much giant luggage.
Odd. Only one person asked me what I was knitting. The flight attendant gave me a whole entire can of ginger ale, without my having to ask. The plane got to Nashville early–a half hour ahead of schedule. It was all too weird.
You know that moment when they turn off the conveyor belt at the baggage claim? You know that party-is-over feeling? That turn-up-the-lights-Jack White-really-has-left-the-building moment? Even as the conveyor belt slowed to a halt, I was sprinting to the lost baggage desk, right behind the four guys who had been offloading peculiar black wooden boxes with interesting names stenciled on the side.
As I stood there, I heard the whole story. “Instruments,” the guy said in an eastern European-sounding accent.
The lost baggage guy was absolutely blank in his demeanor. A bomb defuser shows more emotion. “What kind of instruments?”
Bomb Defuser blinked.
“Mandolin. Big mandolin.”
Bouzouki Man asked when the bouzoukis would arrive. When Bomb Defuser said the plane landed at 8 pm, Bouzouki Man did an admirable job of not collapsing on the floor and weeping like a baby. Bouzouki Man explained that their concert started at eight o’clock, and the plane arriving at eight o’clock was going to mean that they blew their job. It was a stroll down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, I tell you. I was in semi-tears for the guy.
Bomb Defuser did not buy into the drama of the situation at all. Dead eyed, he handed over a sheet of paper and said, “We’ll deliver the [pause] instruments when they arrive.”
It made me feel slightly less self-pitying when my turn came. “And what was in the second bag?” he asked.
“Knitted samples. Totally irreplaceable knitting.” OK, so maybe Bouzouki Man’s story made me juice up my story a little. I managed not to say priceless. We could totally replace all the knitting–I mean, it’s not like we don’t have the patterns for them or anything. But how would you feel about getting all this stuff made all over again in time for the next photo shoot in three weeks? My calculation is that there are five projects in that bag which were not photographed this week. It makes me want to semi-throw up.
I’ll keep you posted. But at the moment I’m trying really hard not to imagine the wicked, evil baggage handlers at LaGuardia draped in our homely handknits, holding stuff up to the jet headlights and critiquing our yarn choices.
“I would have gone with a smaller gauge for this,” says Vinny.
“Subpar blocking on this thing,” says Artie.