I spent most of yesterday packing all my gear. I created a super checklist of everything I could imagine needing and crossed it off as I went. I also wrapped just about everything in individual zip lock bags for easy sorting. It’s a really useful trick. This way everything is together and you can even shrink wrap it sorta by sitting on the bag and pushing all the air out. Oh, and Loki helped.
It was a friend’s birthday yesterday and so I met up with them for a quick birthday dinner. I had most of my packing done and figured that if I was tired I could just sleep on the plane. Well I got home around midnight and so I only got three hours of sleep.
I made a playlist of songs to listen to over the trip before I went to bed and I wanted this one for takeoff. There’s a great part in the song that just sounds like an airplane climbing up into the sky. (Skip to 3:35)
Anyways, I woke up, grabbed my things, and went to the airport. The world takes on a strange and different quality when you’re driving to leave somewhere in the dark to board a plane. Everything becomes more ephemeral. The roads and street lamps begin to blend in with any other road and street lamp in the world and thus your location on the ground loses its importance. They might as well be the roads or streetlamps of any other place. You’re about to get on a plane, a portal where the rest of the world is swallowed into oblivion by the distance.
Ready to go.
I got to the airport and had to go through one of those body scanners. I hated it, and there are probably naked pictures of me on the internet now, but there really wasn’t anything I could do. Making a scene at 4am in the airport over the loss of my civil liberties would not have accomplished anything other than to possibly ruin my day. So I continued on, silently. My first flight from Columbia to Atlanta was very short, only 40 minutes. There was nobody next to me so I could spread out. I landed in Atlanta and had no trouble finding my gate and boarding the next plane.
The flight from Atlanta to Seattle was not to be as nice as the one from Atlanta. I had the dreaded middle row seat, you know, the one with a large person on both your left and your right, with nowhere to lean, no space to stretch out. I sat hunched over for the entire flight. Worst still, I found out that my game client didn’t download a computer game I was expecting it to, so I didn’t have that as an escape, and I had forgotten the CD for my other backup game. There was no escaping the uncomfortable flight or making it go by faster.
Odd side note, I was surfing the on screen menus and found an ad for homeopathic cream. I never new Delta was into pushing scam products like this to passengers.
(I also thought it a little sexist that the flight attendant button was a woman, but I’m one of those rabid feminists, so what do I know) But I survive and I make it to Seattle. I stopped in a burger restaurant in my terminal and had lunch. The cool thing about Seattle is that the announcements are in English and Japanese. Apparently this place is a big hub for travel from Japan, so much so that they even have the signs in Japanese.
I had a two hour layover here in Seattle and so I got on my computer and ran internet to it from my phone so I could skype with my girlfriend. While talking to her I realized there was nobody at my gate.
I looked at my ticket and it was the right location, but there was this tiny asterisk saying that the locations are subject to change. Panicked, I ran to check the sign and sure enough, they moved my flight to a gate on the other side of the airport….and it left in 2 minutes.
I got there in 5 minutes, all out of breath, having taken several flights of stairs and trains. No luck. It was sitting there at the gate, but the door was closed.
And so now I’m sitting here in Seattle for another
SEVEN THREE (four down) HOURS.
The night is fucked. I was originally going to get into Fairbanks at 4pm. I won’t get their till 11pm. I needed to pick up winter clothes from Prospectors, but they won’t be open by then, so I’m going to have to wait until 11am the next day. I’ll probably wake people up when I check into the hostel at midnight.
My nerves have finally calmed down a bit, but now I’m worried about losing my bag. It will have gotten to Fairbanks several hours before I did. I’m going to get in really late and have to run to get my bag and my car and to the hostel before it closes.
On the plus side I did download Civilization III from my game client in the time I’ve been sitting here. I’m glad I have unlimited data. Airport internet isn’t free and I’ve used a solid 2GBs of data through my phone today.
I also like to imagine that the flight I missed was packed full of screaming babies, and that this new flight will have peace and quiet and martinis.