February 16th, 2010

Can't get rid of $1100, a bank robbery, and storytelling genius at The Monti...

~Tuesday~  Once again, I had something going on after work and wanted more bus options at the end of the day, so I took the Wolfline bus in again this morning.

It was perfect timing, as the bus arrived just as I arrived at the stop. A glance around the bus revealed three people doing homework reading on their way to class, several people reading e-mail or texting on smartphones, and an extra pretty girl sitting directly across from me, whose face I didn't spend nearly as much time on mentally measuring its symmetry as I did on that guy's yesterday.

She looked like a California girl to me, as 1) she was very blond, and 2) she was extremely tanned, particularly for this time of year.

We had our department meeting, which we cut short by 15 minutes, so I could catch a bus over to the Avent Ferry Technology Center, where I had a meeting from 10:15 - 11:30.

I have been carrying around 11 one-hundred dollar bills with me for two days now, meaning to get to the credit union, but not having managed it yet. I finally decided to take care of that during lunch today.

As I approached the Hillsborough Street branch of the State Employees Credit Union—which is a block from my work building and the establishment at which I get let off, and wait for to get on, the city bus when I ride it—I saw a cop car with its blue lights flashing parked on the sidewalk in front of the building. As I got closer, I saw two cops outside, one talking to someone who was walking by, and then noticed that yellow "CRIME SCENE - DO NOT CROSS" tape all around the building.

As I passed the cruiser on the sidewalk, I saw no less than five more cop cars in front of it—all parked on the sidewalk, all with their blue lights flashing like crazy, all causing me, the pedestrian, to walk on Hillsborough Street in the traffic where many people have been killed over the years. The front door was propped open and a sign was visible on it that said, "This location closed."

When I returned to my office, this e-mail was in my inbox:

Subject: Bank Robbery near campus

Bank Robbery at the State Employee's Credit Union on Hillsborough Street. Suspect last seen in the area of Hillsborough Street and Dan Allen. Dark complexioned male wearing a black hooded Nike sweatshirt, armed with a handgun. Avoid the area. Go to www.ncsu.edu for updates.

Robert and I celebrated our Valentine's Day with dinner and The Monti at Alivia's Durham Bistro.

In addition to the presentation of 2009 "Hippo Award" winners throughout the night, we listened to five great storytellers, each savory in their own way. Each storyteller "delighted us with narratives about those unlikely meetings with people that have had a lasting impact on them."

Kay Goldstein, writer and chef - Kay's story was about hosting a huge dinner party, for which at the last minute she received a call asking if she could accommodate one more guest: Julia Child. My superlative for Kay: Most Eloquent. I loved this story. It was beautifully told, and it was my favorite of the evening.

Sarah Miracle Feld, Carolina Rollergirl - Sarah told a story about facing your fears, which involved meeting a person who was not Native American, but qualified nonetheless to tell you your spirit animal name. Hers? The barn owl. My superlative for Sarah: Bravest.

Billy Warden, Communications and Imagination Group - Billy told a story about his grandmother and his and his brother's chance meeting with none other than Muddy Waters. My superlative for Billy: Most Animated.

Michael Goldman, Rabbi of Jewish Life at Duke University - Michael's story was about how he received his calling, and his subsequent entry into Rabbinical School. My superlative for Michael: Funniest.

Quinn Dalton, author - Quinn told a story that included three chance encounters: with an ex-schoolmate turned narcotics cop, with the Blarney Stone, and with "Danny Divine." My superlative for Quinn: Most Intricate.

The winners of the 2009 awards were: Fabienne Worth for comedy (who said in accepting her award, "Thank you for giving me an opportunity to tell a story that's been waiting to be heard for 60 years."), Dave VanHook for drama, and Lori Hensley for best overall story. All of their stories can be heard on the Monti's 2nd Annual Hippo Awards Nominees page.