Yesterday was the moment of truth. Because I left for tour a week ahead of the company, yesterday was the first time I had to move our army from one city to the next. It was a daunting task and as I finally settled into my new Miami digs last night around 10;30, I felt it in my bones. More specifically, my back.
The day started early. We had to be packed up and checked out of our midtown Atlanta housing by 11AM. Considering our flight to Miami would not depart until 5:30PM, there were many bags to consider and the question of what to do with them. The army opted to move in two stages, one led by myself, the other by our Assistant Director, Taylor, whom I deemed Deputy Company Manager for the day. The first wave headed straight for the airport, checking in super early with enough time for lunch and a pedicure - hey Hartsfield-Jackson is big enough to be a small city, they have everything and we were going to Miami. Fresh (and in my case, sparkly) toes were a must. The second wave dropped their luggage off at the theatre (seriously those cats at 7Stages are the best! Highly recommend if you're looking for rental space in Atlanta) and had one last brunch or stroll through town.
I took Marie, her husband Eric (who was flying back to Baltimore) and our combined 10 pieces of luggage, including an inherited pelican case containing our sound system interface and laptop to ATL. Dropping them off at the Delta departure gates, I then rolled over to car rental to return my little red (not) corvette. That was harder than it should have been. I'd grown pretty attached to this car during our two weeks together. RR and I both love renting cars when we travel - it gives us a sense of freedom and ability to see new places in ways you can't on your own two feet. When I arrived at ATL over two weeks ago, little red (not) corvette was my first taste of freedom. She (definitely a she) got me to Memphis, played a part in my magical weekend then drove me across the state of Tennessee where she got a good week of rest at my parents. She was a work horse for me in Atlanta and proved to be necessary as a number of unforeseen errands cropped up. It was a brief but intense affair. We made memories together. I will always think of her fondly.
Only one picture but 1000 memories
Fare thee well LR(n)C
After our teary goodbye (ok, not really) and disposing of one stray banana peel, I reunited with WLS as we marched toward the train and over to the South Terminal at ATL. There I met up with two of our actors, Evelyn and Josh, and we navigated check-in, baggage drop-off and security together. I've been reading about long lines at TSA causing many a missed flight. A company member left behind is on my short list of nightmares so I was happily relieved when we were through security in under 10 minutes. No shoe or laptop removal required - TSA meant business yesterday!
We found Eric and Marie, who were already settled in at a cafe with beer and wine respectively, and lunched. I had enough beer to feel calm and relaxed and with text notifications that Taylor was successfully navigating wave two through check-in, most of my travel tension subsided. The soothing airport pedicure was just icing on my cake (Xpress Spa, Terminal C, near gate 36, for future reference). We were all met at the gate by 4PM, well in advance of our 530 flight.
Though the flight was full (what flight isn't these days?) boarding was smooth and efficient. I was seated in an exit row which meant extra legroom. As many of my friends know, I'm not the world's most relaxed flyer, but this one was only a 1 Xanax ride. The plane gently gliding through the air, I tried to read but was soon sucked into a cat nap sponsored by beer, wrestling with WLS and magic pills. When I awoke we were flying through clouds over the Everglades. A few minutes after that, we began descent, the late evening sun casting pink and yellow shadows over Miami.
We'd successfully moved our company across state lines! But there was one last step and the larger question - would all our bags arrive on time and in one piece - still loomed. Thankfully, I had nothing to fear. We were all met, assembled and the company quickly caught Ubers and checked-in at their AirBnBs before a half's hours time. That left me and Marie, fending for ourselves, 8 pieces of luggage between us. If there was any part of the day that presented challenge, I guess I'm at least grateful it happened to us and not the actors or crew.
Lesson learned: when in Miami and taking Uber from the airport, it is useful to know Spanish. After two tries, two Uber accounts, two drivers, two phone conversations that weren't really conversations, we gave up and got in line for a cab. Zipping down the palm-tree lined interstate and headed for our apartment in the Brickell section of downtown Miami, I felt relief - eager for sleep and grateful this day's battle was fought well. We conquered.
Welcome to Miami.
Blue skies above, The Everglades below Sun sets over Miami