The shuttle was late and I was getting antsy. Antsy is such a gentle word – who am I kidding? – more like I got quietly psycho, planning my death stare and sharp words for the late driver.
When he arrived it was at a run. He sprinted to me, grabbed my bags and ran to the shuttle. Having showed the appropriate amount of haste and concern I cooled out the laser vision and quieted the lurking killer just under my skin.
He put me in the front seat right next to him and told me he would let me drive. His passengers behind me I sensed to be just as antsy (murderous) as myself, and so it was with great prudence that our driver, a tall wiry man from Mali, pulled out a CD of music by Ali Farka.
At stop lights and in bumper-to-bumper traffic Mr. Mali introduced me to the music of Timbuktu, the home of the Blues. I found myself grudgingly falling in love with the Kora, a West African guitar that was probably what David would have used on old King Saul. And even through I could see right through it – Mr. Man knew he was taking his passengers to breaking point – it was having the same effect on me!
We went from song to song, blocked bridge to clogged street, blues to ballad, CD to CD, until suddenly there was a break in traffic and JFK loomed ahead.
I said a rushed goodbye to Mr. Mali and raced to my gate.
But the music stayed with me until I boarded to plane to Pittsburgh and plugged in my iPhone to fall asleep.