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Boston = Rlyeh
Boston = Rlyeh
And a tip o' the pin to the Lovecraft fans out there who know whether or not I correctly spelled the name of the city where dread Cthulhu sleeps.
This blog is supposed to be about me, and helping people get to know me better. I'll try to frame the story of my trip to (and from) Boston with that in mind.
The night before I travel, my wife attacks me. Naturally, I enjoy this so much that I don't care about the loss of sleep. Neither of us lasts very long, but after 11 years of being together, we know how to dial "O" on each other's flesh phones. I can't get much sleep, because I don't like waiting in lines. I didn't react this strongly to lines until after Desert Shield and Desert Storm, so I suspect all the waiting in line that I did in the desert is linked to this reaction. I don't mind waiting for things (anticipation can be very erotic, of course), I just don't like institutionalized waiting. The significance to my story is that I like to get to airports early. Some people would say crazy early. Now, I stopped traveling for work way back in 2002. I stopped traveling more than once a year for work even further back, in 1999. So many of the modern travel conveniences, like web check-in are new to me. E-tickets still make me nervous.
So on the 19th I drove myself to the airport almost 2 hours before my plane was scheduled to leave (the plane's supposed to leave at 7:55 AM, I get there a bit after 6). I endured the usual comedy of America West (aka America Worst) and the lack of personnel and clear signage, got my seat assignment and gate, and went through security. I learn quickly, usually from the first lesson, so I had no trouble with security after going to the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this year. Went to my gate, read the manually-placed signs to make sure that my plane was coming to that gate, and then went to get breakfast. There was even a plane at the gate. Time passed. About forty minutes prior to departure, I turned my cell phone back on, because my traveling companions hadn't arrived yet. There was a message from one of my fellow travelers saying that our flight was cancelled. No one had come to the gate and made an announcement, or changed that primitive sign at the gate. There was no PA announcement. Nothing. There's not even a ticket agent or help desk in the terminal to assist. This makes me annoyed (it takes more than that to really make me mad). There's just no excuse for stranding that many people. Some of my annoyance is reserved for SeaTac itself, which apparently can build a third runway and a new mall but hasn't install modern computer equipment for all the agents and gates.
I went back out through security, where I met my companions in the long line of passengers who had to be re-routed. I find this comforting, even thuogh I'm waiting in another line. Having friends to share the discomfort makes it easier for me and, as I point out to one of them, having someone else to worry about forces me to stop concentrating on myself. I'm such a caretaker.
We finally get a ticket agent, and discover that our internet-ready cell phones are better equipped to find another flight than the ticket agents. Finally she walks us through security and puts us on a plane, but not to Boston or to Phoenix (our original connection), but to Las Vegas. We then spend an hour on the runway in Seattle, while some problem with the plane gets fixed. So we missed our connection in Vegas before we even took off. We are, however, on our way. Even in my annoyed state I'm capable of remembering that Vegas is a hub for America West, and therefore likely to offer us better service and more options than Seattle.
Turns out that's correct. They take great care of us in Vegas, although the best they can do is a flight that arrives in Boston at 1 AM Tuesday, a full four hours after our original arrival time. We call ahead and make arrangements, and we get something to eat. There's another key tip about me: Any time I get stressed out, I think: Am I breathing deeply? When did I last eat? Lots of stress can be dealt with through steady breathing and keeping my blood sugar even.
We get to Boston and go to the curbside to wait for the shuttle bus to the rental car lot. After 10-15 minutes, we decide that our bus isn't coming, and one of my friends goes inside and calls the company, which apparently wakes up the guy at the lot. He promises that a bus will be along in 5-10 minutes. 15-20 minutes later, we get a bus. Then we wait in the rental car office behind a couple that can't stop hacking and coughing. Once we get our car, the real adventure begins.
I know about the Big Dig in Boston. I know the roads are torn up and there's major re-construction going on. Knowing about it and experiencing firsthand are entirely different things. Our detours have detours. The entire road system seems to follow some eldritch, non-Euclidean geometry. We're pretty sure that we've survived to the other side when we pass the crew putting down traffic cones. We get to our hotels (three of us, two hotels) about 2:30 AM on Tuesday. That's just a long day, even if you subtract three hours for the time change. I do, however, get up a bit earlier than my friends to do calisthenics in my room, since I always feel better with a little exercise under my belt.
The rest of the trip was fine. I took a few days off when I got back, ran 6 miles on Saturday (looks like 11 minute miles are the next wall I have to push through at that distance), went back to work this morning. Worked my butt off all day, but caught up enough to go to the gym and lift weights for an hour. Now I'm home, and about to log in to City of Heroes with my friends.
To sum up:
I'll gladly give up sleep for sex. I hate lines. I never want to fly America West again. Working out and eating regularly keep me mellow. Alaska Airlines is a very comfortable flight, and they're smart enough to feed their passengers - at no additional charge - on non-stop, cross-country flights.