Friday, June 20, 2008

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

Time and People.......

Two very important ingredients of life, and I am realizing during my sabbatical that I am pretty horrible at both - I don't build in nearly enough margin of time with regard to anything I do, and I don't spend nearly enough of the 24 hours in a day with people - especially people with whom I enrich their life and (as I am discovering on my sabbatical) with people who greatly enrich my life when I give them my undivided attention.

I spent the day on Wednesday in the beautiful city of Baltimore, Maryland. (Since Karla and I are such NCIS nuts, I loved seeing signs on the interstate for exits that Gibbs and crew are always talking about in the TV show).

I was in Baltimore for one reason - to meet with a new friend, worship pastor, author, and one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He gave me an entire afternoon of his time - something I will always treasure because even though I don't build margin into my time, I know what it takes to "give up" an afternoon with someone - especially someone you hardly know!

So, realizing I did not want to waste one minute of this man's time, I wanted to make sure I got to where I was supposed to be "on time".

He asked me to meet him for lunch at a restaurant (47) miles from the Baltimore airport. By my Google Map calculations, it would take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes (depending on traffic) to get from BWI to my lunch destination. With my plane arriving at 10:30am, there was no way for me to have enough time to rent a car and get there on time, and the last thing I wanted to do was to be late to the beginning of an afternoon of conversation.

So, I took a cab - yes, a cab - 47 mile cab ride! What an adventure as my cabbie drove 80 on the interstate (not wearing a seat belt) while glancing often at his portable Magellan he would hold up with his right hand. I was strapped in holding on for dear life. We left BWI at 10:45am. We arrived at my lunch destination at 11:15am. He certainly got me there on time - 45 minutes early! Talk about margin.......

Oh, and yes, it cost a fortune!

Fast forward to the end of my amazing afternoon with this fine and gracious colleage. (I knew I was not taking a cab back to the airport, but was not sure of my options, and quite honestly, I was not about to fret over them while immensely enjoying the company of my new friend.)

So, not surprising to me, my new friend offered to drive me back to the airport. Well, that was not an option because I had already imposed by taking up an afternoon of this man's time - the final straw could not be a 2-hour (in traffic) round trip for him just to get me to the airport, but to give you one more reason to understand what a great guy this man truly is - he would have done it without thinking about it.

I asked him about the Metro - (rail train public transportation). He looked it up on-line, and we landed on a most adventurous (and lengthy) itinerary of two different trains, and finally a city bus to get me back to the airport. (margin, sweet margin)

So, I took the red train, then the green train, then a 30-minute wait for the city bus at the last train station to get me to the airport - I finally arrived at BWI having spent 90 minutes watching the scenery blow by me, rushing through dark tunnels, loving the smell of the city bus, and enjoying the heck out of watching people - all at a total cost of $7.60.

You gotta love public transportation.........

Margin, margin, margin - it allows you to enjoy this beautiful world that God created!