Yesterday while trying to compose our newspaper's "yesteryears" column (pounding out 1984, and I gotta tell you, I know I was just 12 and everything, but wow, no wonder I don't remember much of the early '80s. Boring), an elderly gentleman came in and proceeded to tell me he wasn't sure if I was the person he needed to talk to, but he had this question and...
I actually hear this a lot at the front desk: I'm not sure if you're the right person to help me, but... Hey, it's cool, I say that a lot, too, when I'm out in the world, so no biggie. All I mean by this paragraph is that it's code for you have a 25-percent chance of being the correct person, but 100-percent chance of answering.
I am all about answering.
So he's like, Does your paper publish flight times? and I was all, no, we're too small a paper and too far away from a major airport for anyone to think that was a good idea... maybe the library? They're nice over there.
I am all about encouraging.
He was not encouraged.
So he proceeds to tell me he's from Butte, Montana, and he was a fighter pilot in the Korean War, and he helped build the hiking trails on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River, and once he even got interviewed by our newspaper and it was a huge article (he got the name of our paper wrong, though, so that might go either way), and he's here visiting, and he needs to figure out flights back home, but he'd spent an hour at the library on the computers already and he can't figure it out and we don't have a travel agency in town but if he could just get the names of some Portland travel agents that would be...
By the time he got around to that last part, I'd done a Google search and had a list of Portland travel agents printed out and in front of him.
He thought I was a genius. It was very good for my self esteem.
So after praising my technological ingenuity, he tells me about how he's been in three movies, one with Jeff Bridges (did I know who that was?), who is a good friend of his, and yadda yadda yadda, he's going to see if he can get me a signed photo of him and Jeff and will give it to me the next time he's in town.
Oh, and one of the three was an Army training video made in Florida in the early '50s, and it wasn't on the big screen or anything, but he did get to die on the beach. I kind of thought that was more interesting than Jeff Bridges, but then, I'm not really a movie kind of girl.
(Calm down, Mara. I mean no disrespect.)
So then he shook my hand and asked for my name and if I always sat RIGHT HERE at my desk, and he told me to have a very nice day and thanked me for my help.
The only problem is that he thinks my name is Patricia (it is NOT), so that might be awkward, if my autographed photo really does come through...
P.S. Then I had a very tiny little old lady come in for visitor's guides, which she proclaimed she was sending to Seattle and Portland, and joked how she is doing her part to keep us in business, and I was all, we appreciate that! And then she kind of patted my waist, because that was where her shoulders hit, and laughed and said she bet we did.
The end. Except to say it was kind of a nice day that way.