Belly up

Remember The Accidental Tourist, starring William Hurt and Geena Davis?

(It came out way back in 1988 — Davis won an Oscar.)

Hurt portrayed travel writer Macon Leary, whose books were geared toward people who want to travel with “the minimum fuss and as little impact as possible on their lives.”

I realize I have become somewhat of an ‘accidental’  business traveler.

Once I hit the airport, I am focused on one goal:  getting to my destination as quickly as possible (with supporting goals of checking email, charging my phone and getting snacks for the plane). Though surrounded by literally hundreds of people, I’m in my own little world.

Even yesterday, with two hours until departure, I charged with single minded determination toward my gate at LAX.  But a chance glimpse of the UK-Florida basketball game in progress on a TV in an airport ‘On the Border’ pulled me up short.  So I decided to stop and watch.

Now, I usually always ask for a table in a restaurant.  Tables give me room for my entree and my phone or magazine or book.  It’s just more comfortable…and more private.

But yesterday, there wasn’t a table in sight, so I took a seat at the bar… and was quickly reminded of all the reasons why bars are great in the first place.

The bartender was a character — quick with a refill and a clever word.  The guy next to me was also a college basketball fan…and a proud grandfather.  When I started cheering on the Cats, a couple at the other end of the bar joined in.

Soon a UCLA alum and union organizer — who knew that job still existed?  — sat down and joined in the conversation.  When the Cats defeated the Gators, the whole bar joined me in clapping.

I was sad to have to leave.

But now back in New York, I can enjoy thinking about the people I met ‘by accident’ on my way home from work.

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