So Ben Karlin was on stage talking about America: The Book. He’s very funny and answering John Hockenberry’s questions before he’s about to get off stage. John mentions that Ben has to catch a plane and he doesn’t even flinch. I don’t know how he can be so calm. I know I wasn’t and nobody backstage was either. What the audience doesn’t know is that it’s three minutes till 11am and his plane is off the ground in less then an hour.
Ben calmly walks off stage and chaos erupts in the darkness backstage. His mic is quickly removed and he runs over to me to grab his stuff. Lunch started at the end of his presentation and about 2,300 people are exiting the room all of which would have love to stop and talk to Ben. I take him the back way down and we run down an escalator that isn’t working from the 3rd floor. Getting to the bottom we run full speed across the length of the convention center. Ben comments on how much he hates schedules that make him do this between puffs of breath. No convention goes have made it down to the first floor yet and we don’t have to worry about a fan stopping him. Another AIGA staff is waiting for us at the door and points us to a waiting car with the engine on. the doors and trunk pop he jumps in and I put his stuff in the trunk. The car pulls away as I’m closing the trunk.
I check my watch and it’s 11:01. We made it through the massive convention center in 4 minutes. Wow. exciting but I’m out of breath.