Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9-21-11 California bound

There is always a moment in an airplane where I wax philosophical, thinking of the monumental task of lifting up an airplane, filled with people and their things, into the air. It usually comes about the time the roar of take-off greets me. I look around at the strangers beside me as that noise fills the cabin, and wonder, what if this was that rare time that it doesn't land safely? What are those "last moments" and last things said, or left unsaid, that would haunt the living if none of us returned? I'm sure it didn't help that I'd been saving my 9/11 copy of The New Yorker for the trip and had already started reading the memorial pieces inside before take-off. But I cherish those reminders, that life isn't ever guaranteed. 

(It also puts into perspective my mild annoyance at having my brand-new, totally unopened, small bottle of facial moisturizer tossed into the garbage can at security because it was .4 ounces too big.)

As  it turned out, A60 as a boarding pass was the last A number, but there were actually B and C boarding passes, too. And the flight to Phoenix was light. No one had to sit in a center seat unless they wanted to. I grabbed the aisle seat of row 7 of flight 1414, next to a very nice lady who was knitting, read my New Yorker (I can't fly without one, although The Atlantic is a close second as my must-buy airport magazine) until we got the all-clear for electronic devices, and then fired up the Kindle to dive into the book Courtney wanted me to read (and which I'm already telling myself I cannot stay up all night to finish) called The Sparrow. Last night I realized I was getting sick and started in on the cold meds. Today, having guzzled down the bottle of water purchased post-security, I realized my mouth full of cotton from the drugs was competing with the running nose that is always step 2 in the head-cold game with me. By tomorrow in class I will be full-on plugged up, sound like a chain smoker, and have a red nose and runny eyes. One package of peanuts and a diet coke later, we were landing and I was making my way off the plane and out the security gates to find Vicki. It was so good to see her. Man, I miss my friend. We caught up over an early dinner at Chili's before I had to get back through security to catch the second leg of the journey to California.

I did manage one picture of us together, though.

The flight from Phoenix to Ontario was completely full and this time it took all the way back to row 17 to find an aisle seat. The aisle seat thing comes from years of having to get up and crawl over people to go to the bathroom. I still can't seem to remember that, post-surgery, this is no longer an issue.

We got on the ground at 6:30 and the sun was setting, making this spectacular orange glow to the west and I was delighted to discover we were right up near the mountains here, too. By the time I caught the shuttle bus over to the rental car place, got the car, and was headed out of the lot, it had grown dark. And I realized my map was telling me to leave the airport by way of a road that I saw no signs or directions for. I fiddled with the phone, grabbed my paperwork and plugged in the address, and it kept telling me the GPS was off. I have a flash of Courtney playing with my phone and turning it on when we were in downtown Denver and then off again because it killed the battery. I began wishing I'd paid more attention. Then, out of nowhere, the lady voice started giving me directions. I still don't know how I got it to work, but she got me turned around and over to the Hampton Inn. Well, sort of. I thought she'd gone crazy, telling me to keep going a quarter of a mile when I was AT the Hampton Inn. And then I couldn't get her to shut up. I was checking in and she was blathering on about directions. I realized later that I'd plugged in the address to the training class tomorrow, not the hotel. So it's a quarter of a mile away and I now know how to get there. Clearly, I need to use my phone more often.

Anyway, I got checked in and was delighted with the room.

But what was even better was which room I had been given: #391. Each room number outside the door is graced with a black and white vintage picture. The rooms nearby me all had a traffic theme: the stop sign. 

The stop light. . .

The curvy road . . .

So my jaw dropped when I saw MY room's picture.  .  . 

this both tickles and amazes me. 

So here is the self-portrait, curled up in  my PJs, taking cold meds, using all the kleenex, playing on my laptop, in my Pie Room.

Life is good, even if I do have to sit through a full day of training tomorrow. Since we're out at 5:00 I will have time to roam a bit in the daylight and take some pictures, too.

Until then. . . .


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