Monday, March 07, 2016
I've known for weeks that on March 5th I would be a guest of the International Boilermakers Union at their Instituto Laboral De La Raza 2016 banquet at the Union Square Hilton Hotel in San Francisco. There didn't seem to be any special instructions for the evening, though, just that they would be sending someone to my condo to pick me up at four o'clock on that day, and that I would be returned some time after nine o'clock that evening. No need to prepare "...just a few words"; just be a "presence" as I've been many times before under differing circumstances.
The instructions from Tom Leatherman included the fact that a film crew from the Union would be at the Visitor Education Center to film me that morning, and that I was to come in early (9 o'clock, we don't normally open until ten) in order to comply. This would be another work day -- maybe just a bit more special -- but then most of my days are that these days.
I arrived at nine to find a film team of 5 plus a make-up artist waiting. This was going to be important if numbers were any indication. They were here from Kansas City, Kansas, and the footage would be edited for purposes that were unclear at this point. Surely Tom would know, and, at some point I'd be informed.
They spent about two hours filming a Betty-led tour of the exhibits. The steady rain made it possible for us to work uninterrupted by visitors and the work went well, I think.
The "someone will pick you up" turned out to be a stretch limo (with at least a half block between me and the driver!) complete with uniformed chauffer who appeared at my door promptly at four. You'll want to know that my apartment is in a modest complex where I'm fairly certain a limo has never before been seen! I was smothering giggles all the way to Berkeley where we picked up my son, David, who would serve as Mom's escort for the evening.
My life doesn't allow much time to interact with my neighbors, so we nod politely when we meet at the mailbox or the dumpster, but rarely share more than greetings. This surely blew my humility quotient to smithereens!
But this would not prepare me for what would happen in the evening ... .