"Kelly Quintero, please pick up on the airport phone and dial zero." I held the sign up with Kelly's name as the driver had her paged. Being one of the last people off the plane, I had a hunch that Kelly was not on the same flight as I was. The driver and I waited for ten or fifteen minutes and decided to head out to the hotel. Carol used the word "sultry" in her letter describing the weather in Baltimore during the summer. I call it oppressive. The cool air conditioning in the hotel lobby felt wonderful on my already damp skin. I went to check in but my room was not ready. Carol, her husband, and their son met me in the lobby and brought me upstairs to the room where we would be shooting and I met Ann and Dale. We chatted for a bit until my room was ready. I met Susie but she had . . . was here with her family. I had been briefly introduced to Charles, who asked if I wanted to have dinner, but I really wanted the luxury of spending time alone. I walked around the harbor enjoying the now cool night air and enjoyed dinner outdoors at one of the pier restaurants. The area was lovely, and I enjoyed looking out over the water. I was looking forward to more of that over the next few days and I hope to meet Kelly.
(My story starts after your paragraph, your first paragraph ended.)
A man was standing in a crowd holding a card with my name on it just like in the movies. I regretted not having a sleek pair of sunglasses to complete the aura of real Hollywood debut. Quickly, the star luster wore off as I couldn't find my small black suitcase on the baggage carousel. As I drove away from the airport without my world, I could barely pay attention to the driver as he attempted to point out the sites. He described various neighborhoods and restaurants, but I was still caught up in the realization I would have not clothes to wear to these restaurants and neighborhoods. Having pity on me, the driver offered to bring me to a store to buy some toiletries. We ended up at a 7-11. The driver purchased coffee and I purchased the entire store.
I began Monday, August Eighteenth in Freemont, Ohio. Nine hours later I was on the outer loop of [Rte] 695, heading into Baltimore, I-95, then exiting on Conway Street which turned into Pratt and then the street the hotel was one. I couldn't remember the name. Stepping out of my car I was reminded of the humidity I had left behind for a week. The Pier Five was purple grape dark. The late afternoon seemed only to grow warmer as I crossed the footbridge to the black and white aquarium building. Some dance music was coming from the Hard Rock . . .
The cab was supposed to come at three but when I opened door to bring in the mail at two forty-five, Tomar, as he would later introduce himself, was already there. My wife would have been unfazed. "He's early," she would have said. "Take your time." But my wife was not there, so I zipped my bag, checked my pockets and settled into the cab. As soon as he pulled away, a nagging question emerged. Did I lock the door?
Nine dollars and ten minutes later we arrived at the hotel and more nagging questions stepped out of the cab with me. Is this the right hotel? Were there more hotels in this chain? Where was my welcoming committee? I checked in and, to my relief, the front desk I had my name. I was given a tote bag and directed to the Harbor Club. When I entered, I was amazed. I couldn't believe how much equipment filled the room. But I was grateful to find out that we were filming at the hotel, but it was mildly disconcerting to be recognized having only corresponded with any of these people on the phone and via e mail. Also, I had been promised that two of the other teachers would already be there. Another question. In the absence of chalk dust, how do you recognize a teacher in the crowd?