Saturday, March 29, 2008

Missing in Minnesota (almost)

I just returned from one of the most spectacular, worthwhile conventions I have ever attended: the Public Library Association 12th National Conference in Minneapolis. The speakers were inspiring and the weather was sunny and crisp. I got to see some of my favorite children's authors, and I even caught a Paula Poundstone show.

Transportation was a bit of a problem, though . . .

Since we got out of our last Friday session at 5:00, the shuttle bus wasn't scheduled to arrive until 6, our hotel was a gazillion miles away, there wasn't anyplace to sit and I couldn't sit on the ground because I was wearing a borrowed white cashmere coat, I decided to ask another librarian to split a cab fare with me.

After about 2 blocks, we got a flat tire. The driver hollered across the road to one of his colleagues who agreed to take us to our destination, the Sheraton WEST.

About 20 minutes later, we arrived at the wrong Sheraton. I said, "Oh, this isn't our Sheraton. We said we needed to go to the Sheraton WEST."

He said, "f--kin' mf b-tch. This is the Sheraton."

My fellow passenger, a cool cowboy chick librarian from South Dakota backed me up, "No, we need the Sheraton WEST."

The driver said, "MFB. This is the SHERATON."

I said, "This isn't our hotel, can you drive us to the Sheraton WEST?"

He said that he didn't know how to get to the other Sheraton. We didn't either.

I asked if he had a street map.


Cool Cowboy Chick Librarian asked if he could call his dispatcher for directions.

Cabbie said, "No way you MFB's" as HE DROVE US ONTO THE HIGHWAY.

I thought to myself, "That's it. I've never been called a MFB before. I'm calling his supervisor." I looked around for his i.d. card or something with the name of the cab company posted. NOTHING. We were trapped in the backseat of a gypsy cab on a highway in an unfamiliar state with a Becki-hating driver who says MFB every 2 seconds. I eyed a can of RAID rolling around on the car floor and figured that if things got any uglier, I could use it as a weapon.

Luckily, we didn't have to resort to violence. The driver slapped off the meter, sped faster down the highway and into the downtown area. He ejected us at the front entrance of the Minneapolis Convention Center where we happily and patiently waited for the next shuttle bus.