Thursday, September 25, 2014

This is Not New York.

I'm headed to Anderson Bookstore's Young Adult Literature conference outside Chicago tomorrow. I got my itinerary yesterday at 7:40 pm, which seemed a little late to me, and my publicist* asked, could I get myself to the airport tomorrow, or did they need to send a car for me?

I understand that these questions make sense in Manhattan, where plenty of people don't bother owning their own vehicles, and where getting to the airport by public transportation is a big pain in the neck. But this is Bristol, honey. I'm not sure exactly how one "sends a car." Do we have taxis? Anywhere? We have some buses that run downtown, and out to the hospital and the Bass Pro Shop on one edge and the Wal-Mart on the other. I don't think the buses go to the airport; I know they don't go to my farm.

I'd already had to explain to the folks in New York that my local airport was Tri-Cities, which meant it sat equidistant between Bristol, Johnson City, and Kingsport, which gave us enough population to support a regional airport. Then my publicist's assistant expressed surprise that I couldn't get direct flights to Chicago from Bristol. Well, no, I told her. You can fly direct to Charlotte or Atlanta, your choice. Even when I'm flying from Bristol to Nashville I go though Atlanta. Were I to fly from Bristol to Knoxville (not that anyone ever would) I would o it through Atlanta. Or Charlotte. My choice.

The plus side is that the far-away airport parking costs $8 per day and is only 10 feet farther from the terminal than the close airport parking ($12 per day). Also it takes 5 minutes to go through security, or 7 if the person in front of you has never flown before and doesn't know they have to take off their shoes and get rid of the extra-large tube of toothpaste they put in their carry-on. It's a friendly sort of airport. Once when we ended up driving back from the Atlanta airport in a rental car (long story), I went to take the rental back to the Bristol airport and forgot to fill it up with gas. The clerk handed the keys back to me. "Honey," he said, "Drive down to the Citgo, fill it up, and bring it back. Otherwise it's going to cost you an extra eighty bucks."

If I really needed a way to get to the airport tomorrow, I'd just call a friend. Someone would take me no problem, in the same way that I've taken people or picked them up when needed. But I'll be taking the surviving dog to the kennel anyhow, and stopping at the bank for some traveling money, and then maybe swinging through the Pal's drive-thru for a big iced tea. I wish the folks in Manhattan would visit sometimes. I'd love for them to understand how we live around here.

*For those of you wondering how I got a publicist, the answer is that when you are published by mainstream publishers they have them in-house, and assign each author one. They're really ramping up the publicity for The War That Saved My Life, which is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.