Pitbull breezed by with his sharp-dressed dude cadre, whisking himself to the famous bear. I took a photo of him walking by, and it's just a white blur — the man can really stride. I'm a little jealous, since I lope around like a square wheel.
I crossed the Asset Protection line and BS'd with Pancho, a member of Pitbull's crew. He had the same generous, laid-back vibe that Pitbull's manager had. He encouraged me to swing by Pitbull's next tour stop in my neck of the woods and see what the fuss is really about. Maybe some of Pitbull's demonstrated ability to retain his composure under absurd circumstances comes from surrounding himself with pleasant people.
You may wonder if everyone in Pitbull's crew was playing sweet so I'd write good things about Pitbull's Personal Brand. I don't think so. I soaked up enough teeth-gritted politeness on this trip to recognize the genuine article.
Suddenly, it was all a rush to leave. After only a few hours, Pitbull's time in Kodiak had run out. Last order of business: Pitbull's tour photographer, a long-haired rock-and-roll cat named Greg, needed some quick video of me commenting on the whole situation so they could throw together a YouTube account of the Kodiak trip. But with the clock winding down, they couldn't do it in Walmart. Pitbull's PR guy, Tom — yet another perfectly welcoming guy — suggested we meet up on the tarmac while the jet warmed up.
Pancho decided to throw HJ and I into one of their vans. As it turned out, it was the one set to carry Erik, Lindsay, and Sheets CEO Warren Struhl to the airport. Mr. Struhl shot us a why-the-fuck-are-you-here look, but Pancho came over and let him know our presence was endorsed.
The ride was a little tense at first, since Struhl wasn't in the mood to suffer a couple of flies like us in his ointment. We made some small talk. "So, what do you do besides sending my ass to Kodiak?" he asked me. I told him that was basically it. He warmed up a little when he found out HJ worked at Princeton, and was therefore not a complete idiot like me.
Tom ushered me aboard Pitbull's private jet, which was quite swank indeed. I stood dumbly at the top of the stairs as Greg closed a sliding door to film one last Pitbull segment. I guess Tom thought I'd be joining them inside the cabin for the shoot, but maybe he's never heard of nerd molecules. Pitbull emerged for one last handshake, and we exchanged our thanks and goodbyes. Greg brought me back down to the runway, where we filmed about 30 seconds of me babbling moronically. (Later, Greg somehow cut that into a couple of impressively coherent statements for the Pitbull/Kodiak YouTube video.)
That was that. I shook hands with Erik and bade him farewell. He said he'd keep sending me Fuel's press releases. I quote him on this next bit because his manner seemed to indicate that he wanted to be quoted on this next bit: "But next time, don't send me to fucking Kodiak."