Who knew? February 07 2014

So, this Delaware girl (me) shows up in the greater Cleveland area without the means to sweep off her car and no boots during the first week of February.  Clearly “lake effect snow” is something I have not been really aware of as I have sat snugly in the Mid-Atlantic region for most of my life.

Much to my dismay, when I woke up to 8 inches of snow Monday morning in Marietta, OH, the realization of my omissions was to say the least, uncomfortable. Fortunately the hotel had a broom that I could use to brush off my trusty Trailblazer.  In the shoe department I was on my own.  Flats soaked through, car cleaned the best I could, I headed off to the next destination through still more snow.

And, after two days and two stops, I ended up in a hotel at the Cleveland Airport.  Where I sit, currently stranded by even more snow. Good news:  I now have a broom and snow boots.  It’s just the campus that was to have hosted my presentation closed today.  It will happen tomorrow.  Or so we think…

I had a very lovely day.  Finally enough time to practice certain projects in a methodical, uninterrupted way!  Getting to email, some of it a week old!  Phone calls!

Fortunately there is a restaurant in this hotel.  Note to self: always book hotels with restaurants in February in “snow belt states”.  Yet another foreign term to yours truly.

The guests in this hotel, all of whom landed in the small restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, became chummy.  After all, we had much in common: stranded, frustrated, and we had to eat.  Bored eventually by our smart phones, we turned to each other for companionship and conversation.  The whole room buzzed with it at dinner a short while ago.

Next to my table at dinner were two gentlemen from the south, as I could tell by their conversation.  I busied myself with my wings and wine, and then one of them said, “Delaware”.  As in, “Remember that power plant in Delaware?” Well.  I could not let that go.  I chimed in: I’m from Delaware.

And so the conversation unfolded.  Marty and Mark were consultants for power plants which were looking to convert from coal power to natural gas.  Turns out Marty, who grew up on a farm in South Carolina, had trained to be…

…an opera singer.

What fun that was, to hear the story of a farm boy whose mother insisted he and his 4 siblings take piano lessons. “I didn’t much take to the piano.  But I could sing.”

He sang in all sorts of productions in his home town and beyond.  Opera, musicals, choruses, church soloist. So when I told him about my business he related right away.

Who knew?

I learned a great deal about power plants, and that coal power is much cleaner than we think, and that much of US coal is shipped to China.  I explained the global nature of flute manufacturing.  And when it was all over I had two new friends, two new business cards, and two places to stay the next time I was in northern most South Carolina.  Suddenly, being stranded had its advantages.