Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rooney Meeting Lasts Minute--Lifetime

By Lisa E. Crowley
If Andy Rooney wasn’t late for his presentation during a journalism conference in Hartford, and I wasn’t late for Andy Rooney’s presentation during that conference in Hartford, we never would have met in a cramped elevator.
Of course I was late…I often am.
During one of those late-Lisa moments I nearly backed into Andy Rooney in a hotel elevator.
Along with doing whatever else to be late for his program, I ran back to my hotel room to get Rooney’s book, “Not That You Asked,” printed way back in 1989. The conference Rooney was speaking at was sometime between 2000 and 2002. I can’t remember exactly.
Anyway, late as usual, I squeezed myself into an elevator packed with people heading down to the lobby about 8 floors away.
I didn’t look at any of the people as I got in. I just wedged myself in, trying not to run over the people who were already in the sardine can. I faced the closing metal doors--we were so tightly packed my nose practically touched the doors--and wondered how much of Rooney's presentation I might have already missed.
As I was thinking to myself, it dawned on me the whole car was silent.
I thought that was odd since it was full of people. At least 20, maybe more. We were packed in row after row, back to front.
But no sound. No talk. Usually somebody says something to somebody, even if it’s “excuse me,” for stepping on feet or bumping each other as the car moved.
Nothing but silence.
While thinking this, I got a nudge in my side from one of my fellow reporters. I looked at her and she cocked her head and eyes to the small, older man in the gray suit directly behind me.
I swiveled my head and immediately recognized Andy Rooney.
My eyes opened wide and so did my mouth.
I bellowed: “Hi Andy Rooney! Guess I’m not late for your talk,” and nearly elbowed him in the gut as I maneuvered in the small space to face him.
That would be my luck--break Rooney's rib with an elbow trying to say "Hi."
He cracked a smile and said, “No, guess not, but I am.”
God knows what I said after that, something like it didn’t matter if he was late, or sorry, didn't mean to almost put you in the hospital.
For the ride down to the lobby, Andy Rooney and I were best buddies.
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