Home > Travel > Entry 03/20/2009 06:07:10 AM – Mentat 492

Entry 03/20/2009 06:07:10 AM – Mentat 492

     Even though I haven’t been able to sleep right for the last couple of days, I have to admit that I’m having a really good time.  Although getting here has been the routine kookiness that I go through.  Unlike the time that I went through TSA this time was certainly pretty damn quick.  Certainly quicker than the trip I took last year when I went to Seattle.  I think I was in line before going through the security check-in process in about 10 minutes; as opposed almost 40 minutes last year.  Then it’s the routine feeling of hurry up and wait when I got to the terminal area; waiting for the plane to get in. 
     Of course, unlike most of the other trips that I’ve made in my life where I had either changed out my seats to a window seat (so that if there are any women in the row, I don’t have to worry about having to get up every 10 minutes when they have to run to the bathroom) or to First Class when I was traveling for business — I stuck to the seats that they had assigned me…  In this case the aisle seats someplace near to the window exits.  This of course also meant that based on zones, I would be one of the last zones to board the plane (to keep the chaos of seat figuring out down to a minimum).
     For the first part of the trip, let me just start by saying they were both women, and both clearly earned the nicknames of McCranky and McCrazy.  McCranky gave me the sneer like I was some sort of leper and important body parts were just falling of right there as I was standing in the aisle.  At first I thought that she was some man-hating feminist; because she was wearing those all-natural blended clothes and I think she was wearing various beads and baubles that looked like she had picked them up while walking some beach in the Caribbean.  Then I realized she was clearly a New Englander, and that scowl was just the routine look New Englanders make at each other to ensure one won’t be bothered. 
     McCrazy on the other hand looked somewhat normal, until I had sat down, and shortly after that the plane started moving.  In which case, she was acting as though she had a severe set of cramps going on, as she couldn’t sit still the entire time the plane was moving.  She frequently didn’t understand personal space, frequently invading mine by either stretching and bumping me, and then hunching over the tray table as though the plane were going to go down at any time. 
     I was certainly glad that when the electronics warning was turned off, I popped the earbuds in, listened to some soothing trance, and was able to catch a guarded hour’s sleep in spite of the fact that McCrazy would routinely bump me, without so much as an "excuse me" because she was as fidgety as a flea on a sunspot. 

     The wait at Charlotte was also interesting in that it reminded me all too well that I’m not as tall as I often felt I was living in the Biggest Little.  At home, 5’9" certainly feels tall when dealing with folk 5’4" – 5’8"…  but in the South, where the average height is in fact someplace in the vicinity of 6’2" — well… 5’9" is just a shade above average if that.  Then there was this man that was wandering the terminal area with this cell phone nearly permanently attached to his ear that stuck out like a sore thumb. 
     6’1" or so.  Black hair, cut short and something like a faux-hawk, he was wearing a pair of designers and wife-beater that shows off a tight body and a tattoo sleeve that looked more like something a gang-member would sport than someone just into tattoos.  The wife of a military man sitting about 6 or so seats away from where I was, had this scowl of a look that clearly looked like fear-fascination.  The way that she was talking to her husband was disapproving of this man, but every time I opened my eyes, she continued staring at him with that look. 
     Most of the older folk had the look like, "that generation…"  and clucked about his look. 
     The rest watched him with caution acting as though he would pull out some gun and pop a cap in their asses because he looked like a complete tough-guy. 
     And me?  I could hear some of his conversation on the phone, and while he had the typical attitude of someone from Los Angeles trying to hustle like he was someone really important, I smiled to myself because everyone wouldn’t or couldn’t realize that he’s all show and nothing more. 
     Oh, and I had the chance to get a lunch that I had sort of missed getting since living in the South…  I stopped over at the main concourse and picked up a grinder from Blimpies.  It’s a sort of Southern clone of "Subway" except that they don’t give onions or peppers with the sandwich.  They also know how to make a good sweet tea without it tasting like it was mixed from powder.  Pity they didn’t have Krystals or Zaxby’s…  I would’ve been there in a heartbeat. 

     The second leg of the trip, had a sort of run in with this older woman that had made the decision she wanted my seat because it was in the aisle and she wanted the free movement she was too used to.  I wanted positively no trouble because it was almost 6 in the evening and wanted to sit down and get comfortable to get a little bit more sleep to make up what I missed.  So I showed the steward in the aisle near to where I was sitting, nodded down to the woman and he deftly and with the right authority asked the woman to pull out her stub and check as she didn’t belong in the seat. 
     If she had asked, I probably would’ve swapped out the seat…  But she just automatically thought that the flight wasn’t filled, she could just choose what seat she wanted.  Not that it wasn’t hard to figure out the flight was pretty packed, the gate attendants said it four times, not to mention the lines to get onto the plane was proof.  Ultimately she ended up bartering with the man sitting in the empty row in front of her seat who she thought was going to get the aisle seat again — but he proved it was his as well, and she had the window and a buffer between him and the window to be happy with…  Oh, not that it mattered, she was up 6 times during the flight hitting me each time out of the seat because she was a graceful as a baboon with two clubbed feet. 
     This time my row companions were a newlywed couple that kept completely to themselves, whispering to each other whenever they talked, and stayed close to each other the majority of the trip.  From what I could see they had been to at least a couple of amusement parks during their trip — Busch Gardens, Six Flag; and I think they had a day pass to Disney World, based on the bracelet bangles they had on each wrist.  
     Of course, during this leg of the trip, the family with the two small children that had boarded the plane in Providence were two or so seats behind me, of which the 5 year old decided that to placate her boredom, she was going to sing…  loudly.  Non-stop. And in one note. 
     I remember hearing the mother making the excuses to the nearby passengers that she was like this when she was bored, of which quite a lot of them groaned in pain when the daughter broke into her own version of an elementary school song, I vaguely remember singing when I was her age (yes, I used to sing before my voice broke, and quite well to boot — even joined the chorus because of it). 
     And once again, when the no electronics sign went off — there I went to grab my iPod and listen to whatever I wanted to listen to at the time. 

     Six hours later, I landed in San Francisco; with about 3 hours of sleep and near to the entire trip calmed and meditated and more than a little bit drained.  Getting off the plane, I go fishing through the pockets of my jacket wanting to turn it on, take a picture of something that would prove that I was in San Fran and realized my phone was gone.  I checked the other pockets, found my keys, my wallet, but the pocket that had my phone was empty.  I thought about going back to the plane and check to see if anyone found it.  But then I remembered that when I lost my hat on the flight from Seattle, no one was able to find the thing. And the last time I had a phone stolen (when I was living in Atlanta), no one said that they were able to find it either — so I just decided that the instant I got into the hotel, I’d fire up Skype, call customer service and get the phone deactivated and a new phone acquired.  Then it turns out, I remember that I had taken it out of my pocket and put it in its holder in my bag.  Checking it, I found it there.  I smiled and shook it off because I knew that I was over-tired and getting senile because of it.
     Heading down to Baggage Claim, I grabbed my bags from the carousel thankful that my bags were up first, in spite of the fact that all of the women on the flight were hovering near to the carousel and blocking everyone; hoping their bags will show up and they can get out of there. 
     I grabbed a taxi outside, and a couple of miles from the airport, found that the Ramada that I was staying at was along a main road in San Bruno (El Camino Real), got into my room and tried to get a little sleep that I had missed during the trip.  At that point I realized I was completely out of it.  I couldn’t follow simple instructions, I couldn’t remember simple instructions (like getting to my room from the lobby), and couldn’t even figure out how to use the remote on the television.  I passed out in about 10 minutes from getting undressed and crawling into bed.

     Next entry, I’ll talk about day one here…  Until then.

Categories: Travel
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