The commuter’s bus to the Newark airport from New York City was running late due to rush hour, and despite having three hours until my 8:00 flight to Edinburgh took off, my palms were sweating with nervousness.
What if the bus took another hour? What if I was late?
The weather did not make the wait go by faster. The air was not as heavy as it had been in the previous week, but the air was not only heavy, but as any other city, the air itself felt like someone had somehow managed to fill the air with sludge.
Finally, the bus turned the corner and pulled up to our bus stop. I let out a deep sigh of relief. Finally. I let the bus driver take my luggage so he could store it under the bus. I stored my baby guitar in the compartment above my seat and sat down towards the back of the bus hoping that no one would sit next to me, but due to the bus’s tardiness, there were too many people hoping to get on the bus that I knew I wouldn’t be alone. As I predicted, someone sat next to me, a man middle aged with dark brown hair and a sharp nose, but I didn’t mind so much.
I got off the bus at Terminal C and rushed to check-in my bags so that I could get to my gate. Due to the unusually good customer service at the counter, the check-in line only took twenty minutes to get through.
I walked briskly to airport security and waited for my turn to go through that magical metal portal that led to the airport gates to the airport gates. I stood in line and looked back to ensure that my bag was closed properly.
“Oh, don’t worry, I won’t steal anything.” Someone said behind me.
I turned back to apologize. “I—“
The man had a goatee and glasses. His face reminded me of a cute English bulldog—round and pudgy. He had earrings with a picture of an animated cat in his left ear. But the thing that caught my eye was his fedora hat. I adored fedora hats. I realized that I had been staring for far too long and had not finished my sentence, and the man was looking at me oddly.
“I…like your hat.” I finished lamely.
That seemed to appease him. He instantly brightened and straightened. It was obvious that he loved his hat. “Thank you! Are you a musician?” He asked pointing to my guitar case.
“Oh, yeah. I play.”
“Are you in the business?”
I nodded in affirmation. “Yup.”
“That’s awesome! Performing or business?”
“Oh, I’m on the business side. I’m an entertainment and arts management major at Drexel University.” I explained. “What about you?”
“Business as well. Music.” He replied.
I laughed with glee. “I should’ve known by your hat.” I told him.
“Why is that?”
“In my experience, most people involved in the music industry wear fedora hats. So what exactly do you do?”
“I work in booking venues. I’m in charge of booking all the major venues in the Northeast area like Radio City. I’m on my way to a tour of the US and Canada with a band.”
I held true to my EAM training, because the only thing I could think about at that point was getting his business card. Unfortunately, we had only begun to talk about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival when it was my turn to hand the security officer my boarding pass and passport.
Just my luck.
“See you around.” He said as he went to another part of the line.
It was one of the few times that I wished that the security line hadn’t gone by so fast. I put all my belongings on the conveyer belt and walked through the metal detector. When it didn’t beep in protest, I smiled and quickly gathered my bags so that I could catch the guy before he went to his gate. I spotted him from my spot, and slowly reoriented my stuff so that it would not look like I was waiting for him to get to my side of security. Once he went past security, he sat down at one of the benches to get his stuff together.
I approached him. “Did your hat survive?”
He looked up. “No, the guy smushed my hat.” He said with a frown. He looked like a little kid that had just had his action figure sat on by his parent. “These hats are so hard to travel with.”
I agreed with a nod. My mind yelled at me that it was time to pick up the pace so that I could go to my gate. “Well, it was nice talking to you…” I trailed off realizing that I never caught his name.
“Sean.” He finished.
“Katelin. Thanks for keeping me company in the line. Look me up if you’re ever in Philly.”
“Likewise. Oh, here. Let me give you this.” He reached into his wallet, pulled out his business card, and handed one to me.
“Thank you so much. I’m really sorry I don’t have a business card for you.”
“That’s ok. You’re a student. You don’t need one quite yet.”
“It was nice meeting you, Sean. If you’re ever in Philly, let me know.”
“I will. It was nice meeting you as well. Good luck in Edinburgh.”
“Good luck on your tour.”
I turned toward my gate and walked away with the business card in hand. I stopped for a moment to take it all in: Edinburgh Fringe, one month away from home, meeting Sean.
“Oh!” I looked at the business card in my hand. “Sean Striegel. VP Live Nation Booking….VP.”
Wait, did I just meet the VP of Live Nation? I’m not even in Edinburgh yet.
I glanced at my clock. “Oh, good gosh. Gotta go.” I tucked Sean’s business card safely in my wallet as I rushed to my gate to board my flight to Edinburgh.