I once was lost but now am found.
Although the line refers to the soul of the singer, it could just as well have been sung by Nancy’s passport.
Yesterday, October 11, 2012, I dropped Nancy off at the Tip O’Neill Building in Boston. She had a 4pm appointment to pick up a new passport to replace the one lost at Logan. The plan was then to fly to JFK at 6am the following morning, take a taxi into New York and hope we could replace the India visa by the end of the day. Getting up at 4:45am to make that plane was demoralizing, driving into New York even more so.
That was why, after I dropped Nancy off, I drove around the block, found a parking space in front of Porter’s Bar and Grill and went it. The place was empty, save for a couple at the end of the bar who looked as if they could have been painted there by Edward Hopper. I look a seat next to a beefy guy with a friendly smile who was watching a Cincinnati/San Francisco playoff game.
“Can’t much get interested in baseball,” he said and took a swig of beer.
I ordered a Guinness. It's only 99 calories.
“Me neither,” I said, “I feel as if the Red Sox dissed me last year. Chicken wings and beer in the clubhouse. To hell with them.”
“I’m from Georgia,” he said. “Beautiful country.”
I nodded. “My wife’s from North Carolina.”
Each of us went back into ourselves trying to think where to take the conversation next when my cell phone—I’d left it on the counter—started hopping like spit on a griddle.
Must be Nancy to tell me she’s got her new passport, I thought
“This is the TSA lost and found calling,” said a helpful male voice. “Ms. Kelly’s passport was turned in this morning.”
My cell phone signaled another call. I thanked the TSA person, said I'd get back to him shortly and answered the call. This time it was Nancy.
“That was quicker than I thought,” she said. “You can pick me up. I have the replacement.”
I asked the bartender if he could give me a paper cup for the rest of the Guinness.
“A traveler,” said the beefy guy next to me.
“How could you tell?” I asked astonished.
“I’m talking about taking your drink outside,” he said. “That’s what we call it in Georgia. A traveler.”
“This isn't Georgia,” said the bartender.
“Great name,” I said to the beefy guy.
I didn’t have time to tell him how ironic it was.
As near as I can figure out, the passport was lost at 5pm on October 9. Nancy ran back to the checkpoint at 5:45pm. No one had seen it. At 10pm the TSA night shift went off and the so-called morning crew came on. Someone on that shift found it sometime before 6am on October 10. Whoever found it didn’t turn it in until sometime on October 11, the next day. Why, nobody seems to know. That extra day cost us a couple of thousand dollars or roughly the price of 348 Guinness’s at the Porter Bar and Grill.