The trip home was only mildly stressful. I got a cab to the airport, choosing one of two that were waiting by the curb. The two drivers had been chatting, and once I got inside the back seat of one of their cars, the other popped his head in the window.
“Hey, you wanna ride with me?” he asked. “His air conditioning is broken.”
Erm, yea, I thought. Then my car’s driver pushed him aside. “He’s joking,” he said, and we soon drove off.
The air conditioning worked just fine, but he made me slightly less comfortable when he asked me at one point “Have you ever gone this way?” Then, when we arrived, he claimed he’d forgotten to turn on the meter. “How much, then?” I asked. “How ever much you want to give me,” he said.
It’s like I’m still there at the poker table, I thought. People bluffing. Perhaps trying to scam me. Putting me to the test. Everything a risk, a game.
I wearily named a figure that was slightly less than what the trip had warranted, and he didn’t try to raise me. Made it to my terminal in good shape, then took a seat amid the many other passengers awaiting their flights.
As often happens while traveling, I found myself involuntarily going down one of those what-does-all-of-this-mean avenues, searching one at a time the faces of those sitting nearby for possible clues.
A thin young Asian girl, her elbows pointing outward as she rolled her eyes at a parent’s admonition. A wizened old man reading a hardbound book taken from a library, an item weirdly conspicuous amid the many hand-held electronic devices being studied by those around him. A young man with a goatee and baseball hat twisted to the side chomping on a slice of pizza and looking bored while his raven-haired girlfriend chatted alongside him.
Then a face I recognized. Ha, that’s James Calderaro, one of the players I’d reported on several times over the last few weeks. I think he’s from Florida, which is where he must be headed. Did reasonably well in the Main, I recalled. (He finished 260th.) Not as well as a couple of years ago, when he almost made the November Nine (finishing 13th).
He looked tired. Soon he was dozing. I was ready to sleep, too, but wouldn’t for another 12 hours or so.
We keep moving. We go places, do things. We tire ourselves out with work and play. And then we sleep and wake up and we move again.
Gonna stay put for a while at least. I’ll compile a catalogue of WSOP trip stuff tomorrow. For now, I am very glad to be home. And I suppose I am also glad to be in a place where people seem mostly to be playing it straight with me.
Though the not-straight world is fun to visit now and then, too.