Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Florida Flute Association's Conference and more

The Florida Flute Association has its act together, and the FFA Conference this weekend showed it.  Several aspects made it  very dealer-friendly: the location in the Marriott Orlando Airport was very convenient because car rental was not necessary.   The hotel room rates were extremely reasonably priced for the show, and the rooms were very comfortable.  Brunch was provided on Saturday morning for exhibitors: free food is always a highlight for yours truly.  Attendance was up 150 over last year and it showed.  Security was provided by uniformed guards who came into the exhibit space if someone entered without a badge.  Very comforting.  The attendees were happy, glad to see new things, and supported that with purchases.  It was a great show for FPS!

This is what I noticed in my Florida travels: people take the time to care.  I visited two college campuses on my way to FFA: UNF and Stetson Universities.  On both campuses students voluntarily helped me with the three enormous bags I had that held instruments and accessories and the 5 crates of music.  I didn't even have to ask!  They just said, "Ma'am, do you need help?"  When I gratefully said "I really do!" they not only took one load, but several.  Now, I love my home state of Delaware, and I love the Northeast.  But: this has never happened to me north of the Virginia/Maryland border.  I kid you not.  So to all of the young people who helped me: THANK YOU!  And you made this adult woman, traveling on her own, feel as if it was not her against the world.  My faith in humanity, and your generation, has been greatly restored.

Then there is the whole politeness thing.  Gee whiz!  People call me Ma'am, Miss Joan (which I love), they talk to me on the street.  The say hello with a big smile.  The give the right of way in traffic, the way it said in the drivers' manual.  The men treat you like a lady: open doors, carry things, tip their hats (really.)   I am charmed.   Is it the sunshine?  Vitamin D?  More lithium in the water?  Whatever it is, I am ready and willing to open a FPS branch office in, let's say, Del Ray Beach.  Really.

But of course, some things did go very wrong.  Like driving between Jacksonville  and De Land and having your GPS conk out.  Yikes!  I didn't even have a map!  Then, up ahead, a Target...And there it was, the next generation Garmin with a bigger screen.  (For people my age, a bigger screen is necessary)  It has life-time maps, the whole nine yards.  No more motoring down I-95 at the speed limit ;) trying to reset the GPS which you realized had been non-functional for the last 50 miles.  How do you spell relief?  G-a-r-m-i-n.   Now that I think of it, there was the comical scene loading all those 3 enormous bags at the Ft. Lauderdale airport with my car at the curb: Steering a "Smartecart" with two bags on it with one hand, and pulling a third.  Worked like a charm until I hit the curb cut.  Then I was pulled out into the road with the "Smartypantscart"...a very observant Southwest curb agent steered me straight with aplomb.  I spelled relief a little differently that time.  And finally, taking a nice, slow swan dive in back of my booth as I tripped over a suitcase for the third time: which was the charm, and down I went, taking a stack of music with me, accompanied by a chorus of stifled guffaws.

I am glad to be home, welcomed as thoroughly as only two Labradors can, basking in the 66 degree high temp today, and sharing trip stats with my husband.  I am more than glad to see the crew at FPS. And now: getting ready for Mid-Atlantic in Reston VA.  More fun on the horizon! 

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