Methodology of Love: Highlights

Day 0:  Picked up the 50′ bag of flour from Roots & Culture Contemporary Arts Center in Chicago.  Sarah Kavage gave it to me as part of her latest project. We were both excited to see what would happen when I tried to take it to Jamaica.  I was ready to try.

I could already see myself distributing it; I had plans to sprout some wheatgrass, create a poster and literature showing how wheat goes from grain in the U.S. to the granaries of the Jamaica Flour Mills, and how the price of hardough bread, patties and christmas cake were determined from far away, and what people could do about it.  Perfect.

I dashed to Target to purchase an 18 -allon bin – Kai’s favorite color, green, the least I could do since I dragged him with me – and packed up the supplies: pencils, pens, paper, workbooks, crayons, markers, pastels, chalk, rubberstamps, inkpads, erasers, tape measure, templates of wills, books, flashcards.  Fitted some clothes in;  lightest I have ever packed.  Wondered about weight issues; hoped for the best and an especially pleasant customer service person at the airline’s desk.

Day 1:  Arrive at O’Hare airport an hour before I was scheduled to board. Managed to fit the two suitcases and the bin on the cart; backpack and hand luggage (pushing the limits here…) and wheeled myself in.  Feeling very proficient at this travel thing.  Of course, I was sent to the wrong line where I wasted 15 precious minutes.  Wheeled myself and my unwieldy bags over the right line, and complained to the new service person about what happened, thinking this would definitely get me onto the plane.  Aurelia is her name.  Instead, she responded “Well, you do have the choice of other airlines…” (voice trails off).  I take this as my first test, and I have decided to pass it.  I said nothing, just smiled sweetly at her.

She tells me I will not be able to make my flight.  I smile again.  She proceeds to book me on another flight and extracted a charge from me (Note to self: file a complaint).

She encounters the bin and says in her most sympathetic voice, “unfortunately, we won’t be able to check that since Jamaica has an embargo on those kinds of containers.” I say, really? I was up at 3 am reading the fine print of American Airlines’ baggage rules, and it didn’t say any such thing. Apparently, I didn’t read the fine print of the fine print.

I have to rearrange the contents of the bags – one’s too heavy, the other has room for more stuff – check them, collected my passport and belongings, and then saw myself standing in the airport as others might have seen me: looking disheveled and sweating with a bulging well-traveled backpack and wheeling a bright green 18′ gallon bin containing flour that I was not allowed to take onto the plane as hand luggage.  I had 45 minutes to come up with a solution that did not require me to leave the airport. This was O’Hare, after all.

What’s the hurry you wonder? Well, I needed to get to Kingston by evening; I had promised Hubert Neal that I would be at the opening of his show “The Dudus Chronicles”, and I really wanted to be there.  The event was at 7 PM. I was scheduled to arrive in Kingston at 4:35 PM. There wasn’t room for more delays. And more delays meant more money. Nope.

I glanced towards the sliding doors, and before I could register the thought that had just flitted through my mind, I found myself wheeling the bin right back outside onto the sidewalk area.

I walked up to one taxi-driver who had just dispatched his passengers and told him my story: the flour was made by an artist and was intended to be given away. I tried to take it to Jamaica but I was not allowed to do so.  Would he like some flour?   About one dozen taxi-drivers later, I had dispensed most the flour into 1 and 2lb paper bags, gave the remainder along with the bin, the scoop and the bags to one of them, dusted my hands off, and went to join the line to go through security.  I can’t remember the last time I felt such genuine glee.  I smiled to myself, the security guy smiled back at me, almost in surprise.

Love is the method.  Love is the answer.


One response to this post.

  1. […] I’ll come by and tell you the whole story.”  Read what happened to her, in her own words, here – it’s a great lesson in creative adaptability under […]


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