Liars, Liars, Statisticians

I journaled my day yesterday and have decided this is the absolute best thing for me to do as I travel. Here is my first entry:

Talking to Julie on my cell phone while at the Holiday Inn waiting for Executive Express to arrive to shuttle me to the airport. I am telling her about a speaker I listened to on CD. “He reminded me of Samuel Clemens,” I tell her. Dead silence. “You know,” I say, “The guy who wrote Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.” Blank-no response. Why am I struggling to remember the other name, the name on the spines of my collection of his books. She will know who I am talking about when I say that name.

“Mark Twain.” I turn to the voice, that of a guy sitting in a chair to my right, also waiting for the shuttle.

“Julie,” I say. “There is a man here listening to our phone conversation.”

“Just that one part,” he says…he heard me tell Julie that he was listening so I know he is still listening. The man laughs and my friend is laughing too – Julie laughs at everything. When I say goodbye to her, the man says to me, “It just caught my attention because I really like Mark Twain, because of what he said about the work I do.”

“What saying?” I ask.

“You know,” he says. “It is a famous saying. Liar, liar statisticians. That is what I am, a statistician.” I’d never heard of it but I can understand why a statistician would. I told him about a performance I’d seen of Mark Twain by Don Shelby in St. cloud.

It is time to load the three of us passengers on the van. As we boarded, he smiled at me. It occured to me that it might be interesting to sit together. But we don’t – I sit in the front seat and write and he sits in the last and sleeps.  As I journal the about experience I think it might make a nice blog. But I wanted the exact quote from Mark Twain so when the other passenger got off the shuttle at the airport, I turned to him and asked about it. I told him that I am “kind of” a writer and I will probably blog about this encounter. “It was kind of funny, don’t you think?” I think he may have been relieved to know I thought it was funny. He gave me the quote and asked me about the blog. He wanted to know if it was political. I told him sometimes it is. He said his wife writes a  political blog. He told me about the work that a statistician does – it was pretty fascinating.

Our conversation was only about ten minutes. In hindsight, I wish we’d sat together for the ride.

As we parted ways he asked for my blog address…of course he’d want to read about himself. I gave it to him, spelling my last name because no one ever spells it right. I wondered later if he would remember.