Tuesday, August 26, 2003
GK: We come from the Midwest, the flat place in the middle, famous for long winters and taciturn people and for our spirit of cooperation. Here's a little essay, entitled "Picking Up Tiffany At The Airport" that tells you something about the Midwest.
Scene One: New York City.
(PHONE RING. PICKUP)
SS: (OTHER END): Yeah?
FN: Doris, it's Sydney.
SS: I know. Whaddaya want?
FN: Doris, listen. I'm locked out of the apartment and I lost my wallet and a taxi just hit me and now I've got dog crap all over my shoe and the doctor says my prostate is the size of a seedless orange and I'm supposed to pick up Tiffany at the airport in half an hour ---- I'm in a jam, Doris, could you help me out? Please?
FN: Please, Doris. I'm on my knees. I'm begging.
SS: Listen, I got company coming for dinner, my electricity is out, I just had four wisdom teeth pulled, the upstairs neighbor's toilet is leaking through my chandelier, and I'm being audited by the IRS. And I got hit by a bus.
FN: Oh. Okay.
SS: Sorry. I'd like to but I can't.
FN: Maybe I'll call Sheila and see if she can.
SS: She's bipolar and she's changing medications. And she's remodeling her living room. Six months and they're still working on it.
FN: Oh. Okay. ---(MUSIC)
GK: SCENE TWO: CALIFORNIA
(RING 5 TIMES)
SS (OTHER END, RECORDING): This is Crysalis. I am meditating today and not in verbal communication, so at the tone please visualize me and think your message clearly. Have a beautiful day. (DING)
FN: Uh. Hi, Chris, it's Trent, I was, like, in the middle of juicing and I just like remembered that Tiffany? Remember? She is coming in today, like on an airplane? You know? And you live out there in Granola Canyon by the airport and I was thinking you know like maybe you could----. (PICK UP)
SS: I was just thinking about you ---- is that weird or what?
FN: Oh wow ----
SS: I mean, like right now----
FN: That is so incredible. Like what were you thinking?
SS: It was more of a visual thing.
FN: Oh, Cool.
SS: You were like covered with these white feathers and there was light shining on you.
FN: Wow. That is so affirmative.
SS: And you were holding a banana and there was a giraffe and a bathtub.
FN: I was just in a bathtub.
SS: Like, now?
FN: Not long ago. This morning. Hot tub.
SS: It was like this incredible confluence of light and feeling---
SS: Like, it was in me and yet it was like outside of me.
FN: That's so great.
SS: What did you call me about? Something about Tiffany?
FN: Oh. Right. Guess I better call the airport and get someone to pick her up. (DIALING, RING)
SS: Hello. You've reached the Western Winds Montessori Airport Child Care Facility. If you wish us to meet a child who is arriving at the airport today, press one. (BEEP) If your arriving child is under the age of 15, press One. Over 15, press Two. (BEEP) If your child has adult relationship issues, press one. (BEEP) If your child is liable to sudden inappropriate moods, press (BEEP). On the ride from the airport to your home, which type of music would your child prefer to hear? Press one for cool jazz. (SFX) Press two for Roots music. (BANJO) Press three for classical. (SOLO CELLO) Press four for Kenny G. (SFX). Press five for an audio tapestry of night sounds (SFX). Press six for Demented Visigoth--- (SFX). (BEEP) You've chosen Demented Visigoth. Now please key in your credit card number and four-digit expiration date (BEEPS) --- I'm sorry. Due to traffic delays on the Interstate, we're unable to accept any pickups today. Please try us again in the future. Thank you for calling Western Winds Montessori Airport Child Care. (MUSIC) (MUSIC)
GK: SCENE THREE: THE MIDWEST
(RING. RING. PICKUP)
GK (OTHER END): Hello?
SS: Don? Hi. It's Nancy. How are you?
GK: I'm fine.
SS: How's Beth?
GK: She's good. How are you?
SS: We're fine.
GK: And Leland?
SS: He's fine.
GK: That's good. How's your job coming along?
SS: Really nice. I like it a lot.
GK: People are nice to you, then?
SS: Oh sure.
GK: That's good.
SS: How's your work?
GK: It's good.
SS: Did you go see the doctor about your back?
GK: No, it's fine.
SS: I thought it was bothering you.
GK: It's fine. Not a problem.
SS: Have you talked to Mom lately?
GK: No. Why? Is something wrong?
SS: No, no. She's fine.
GK: Are you sure?
SS: Oh yeah, she's busy as a bee out there. Go go go go. You know Mom.
GK: Well, that's good to hear.
SS: Say, Don?
SS: I called to ask you a really big favor, if you'd be able to go out to the airport and pick up Tiffany ---- she's coming in today from Arizona ---- she was down there on that field trip with her high school class ---- you know, I told you about that ---- and I hate to take off work cause I just started the job and Leland was going to go, but then he had to go over to Ellsworth ---- so I was wondering, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, if you could go pick her up? At two. At the airport.
GK: Sure, I could do that.
SS: I sure would appreciate it if you could.
GK: No problem.
SS: That's great. I mean, I'm sure I could get time off if I asked, but I hate to ask cause I just started Monday. You know.
GK: I understand.
SS: I'd be glad to pay you for your gas and all.
GK; No, no. No problem.
SS: Well, that's great. And then if you could just bring her home here, I'd sure appreciate it.
GK: You bet.
SS: The key is under the doormat.
SS: You sure that's no problem.
GK: No problem.
SS: You'd tell me if it was, wouldn't you?
GK: Don't worry about it.
SS: I know, but you'd tell me if it was a problem.
GK: But it's not, Nancy.
SS: I know, but ---- you've done so much for me, and I hate to ask this.
GK: It's all right. Really.
SS: You're always helping me out.
GK: I'm glad to.
SS: You're the most giving person I know. I'm so lucky to have you for a brother.
GK: I'm glad to help.
SS: Well, thanks, Don.
GK: You're welcome.
SS: I'm really indebted to you.
GK: Naw. Don't worry about it. Is that today she's coming in?
SS: Yes. At two o'clock.
SS: It's a problem, isn't it.
GK: No, I can work that out.
SS: I knew it was going to be a problem.
GK: It'll be okay.
SS: I knew it. Listen, I'll take off work. It's all right.
GK: No, really, I can do it.
SS: I'm sorry I bothered you.
GK: Nancy, I'll go get her.
SS: I know you're busy, and I shouldn't have asked.
GK: Don't be silly.
SS: And now I'm wasting all your time with this stupid phone call.
GK: It's no problem. I can do this.
SS: You're probably in the midst of a meeting right now.
GK: I am, but it's okay.
SS: Oh my God. Please forgive me.
GK: It's okay. Nancy---- really.
SS: You're probably there with your boss and everybody just sitting there-----
GK: As a matter of fact, yes.
SS: Oh my god.
GK: Nancy, it's okay.
SS: I could just go shoot myself.
GK: Nancy, please.
SS: Don, I'm sorry. I'll never bother you again.
GK: Nancy, don't do this.
SS: I'll never ask you another favor.
GK: Nancy----- I can go get Tiffany. Please. Let me.
SS: I feel so ashamed. I feel like I ought to throw myself off a cliff.
GK: Nancy ---- please let me go to the airport and pick up Tiffany.
SS: Don, it's been one thing after another.
GK: Please let me do this.
SS: They hate me here. They do.
GK: Of course they don't.
SS: They do. I'm no good at this job.
SS: And Leland is disgusted with me.
SS: I think he's about to leave me.
SS: And Tiffany hates me.
SS: I don't know why I bother to keep going on. I honestly don't.
GK: Nancy, I'm coming over. Where are you?
SS: Never mind, Don. I'll deal with this.
GK: Where are you?
SS: My life is in the toilet, Don, but it's my problem. It's not yours.
GK: Nancy, talk to me.
SS: I'm sorry I bothered you.
SS: Forgive me. It won't happen again.
GK: Nancy, listen to me for two seconds. Please. Nancy. Just listen. Okay? Don't talk. Are you listening to me? Nancy?
SS: I'm listening.
GK: Okay. Listen. We love you, Nancy. All of us do. Leland is crazy about you. He can't say so because he's Norwegian. Tiffany loves you. Nobody hates you, your life isn't in the toilet, So it's going to get better. Really, it is. Trust me on this. Okay?
SS: Okay. (SOBBING)
GK: Good. You go ahead and cry. It's good to let it out. It's good to let all of that anger and frustration out. And while you're letting it out, I'm looking at my calendar here and I can't possibly go to the airport today.
SS: That's okay.
GK: I was thinking it's July but actually it's August.
SS: I understand.
GK: I'm leaving for Chicago today.
SS: That's okay. Thank you, Don.
GK: Can you find someone else?
SS: Yes. Don't worry. Thank you, Don. Thank you for all you've done. You're so good to me.
GK: My pleasure. Are you okay now?
SS: I'm fine.
GK: Okay. Well, you take care.
SS: You too.
GK: Are you sure you're okay now?
SS: I'm fine. Are you okay?
GK: I'm fine.
SS: Good to talk to you.
GK: Good to talk to you. See you soon.
SS: See you.
GK: Bye now.
SS: Bye now.
(PHONE HANG UP)
FN: This has been ADVENTURES IN COMMUNICATION....."Asking for a Personal Favor".....For printed transcripts of this segment, give us a call. We'll see what we can do. (MUSICAL BUTTON)
© Garrison Keillor 2003