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The Michigan Weekend: Part 1
Monday, 2005 May 9 - 9:08 pm
... in which I document the exciting journey to Michigan.

Saturday, 7:30 a.m.

It's a good traveling day so far.

When I travel, I like to arrive at the airport REALLY REALLY early. That's my OCD at work again. I hate even the possibility of being late for a flight, because I hate when something that ought to be totally under my control goes awry. I don't mind flights getting delayed or cancelled, because at least those things are NOT MY FAULT.

So for my 9:00 a.m. flight, I woke up at 5:00 a.m., and I got to the airport by 7:00 a.m. Of course, since practically nobody flies on Saturday morning, the airport was deserted and I sailed through. Electronic self-service check-in took all of twenty seconds. When I got to the security checkpoint, there was one fairly long line, but a guard took a look at me and waved me over to the short line. Maybe I looked especially gay good today. I was wearing my tight jeans.

I'm always anxious until I get through the security checkpoint and I'm sitting at the boarding gate for my flight. Once I'm there, I know that there shouldn't be any trouble that will prevent me from getting on the flight (at least, nothing that would be my fault). Before then, I'm always thinking about the possibility that I've forgotten something at home, that I've accidentally packed a steak knife, that I'm ticketed for the wrong day, or that I've woken up in a different city without realizing it. That's what OCD does to you. You can imagine my anxiety when I was traveling with a certain girl friend of mine and she made me pack her stick-on boobs in my luggage because her bags were full. I was certain that I would be taken aside to be searched that day. Fortunately, I was wrong.

By the way, when I was writing that just now, I found it funny to say "stick-on boobs" in the same sentence as "her bags were full". That is the random and silly thought for this post.

Anyway, now I'm sitting in the terminal, relaxed. And speaking of boobs, there's a row of four blonde women sitting nearby. They don't appear to know each other, but they look like a group of models on their way to a tight jeans convention. Hey! I have tight jeans too! Can I come? I want to take a surreptitious picture of them, but already I look like some kind of psycho, typing away while I glance furtively at them.

When I see pretty girls in an airport terminal, I always hope that one of the will end up sitting next to me on the flight, and some sort of MIRACLE will occur and we'll end up falling madly in love. That doesn't ever seem to happen, though. I usually end up sitting next to some old man who likes to talk about his grommet factory, even when I'm reading a book entitled "How To Avoid Conversations On Airplanes".

Saturday, 8:22 a.m.

Apparently the supermodel convention is in Minneapolis, because all the blonde women have left. I guess Detroit is hosting the Frumpy Sweatshirt convention instead. Oh, and it looks like the older gentlemen now sitting across from me are reading a manual entitled "A Primer On Grommet Design and Manufacture". OH NO.

Saturday, 8:45 a.m.

Over at the next gate, there appears to be some trouble with the flight to Memphis. There are about forty unhappy-looking people standing in line at the counter. Someone says the Memphis flight has a "mechanical problem"... maybe some problem with the tires? I think they use words like "mechanical problem" instead of "breakdown" to make airline flight sound fancier than it really is. It's like calling people "pilots" instead of "plane drivers", or saying "flight attendants" instead of "beverage slaves".

Saturday, 9:56 a.m.

I am on the plane and I'm thinking about a short story I had intended to write one day, called "101 Wacky Airline Death Scenarios." But I don't want to alarm anyone who might be reading over my shoulder, so I won't work on that story just now.

The flight thus far is silky smooth. Boarding went well because the gate attendant was strict about that boarding-by-row-numbers thing. The girl in 20F was not pleased that she couldn't board with the "22-and-higher" group. Before that incident, I was thinking that she seemed to be a smart and pleasant girl. Afterwards, all I could think was "WHAT PART OF 22-AND-HIGHER DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?"

Even though I'm flying on Northworst Airlines, the seats are not horribly uncomfortable; that's partly thanks to the fact that we're on a relatively new Airbus A320, instead of a creaky old DC-9 or something. The seat next to me is empty, and over there on the aisle is a fairly cute girl who I hope doesn't see that I'm writing about her. She's immersed in her girl magazine, though, so I doubt she'll notice.

Hey, here's another thing I'm very pleased about: my cobbled-together laptop battery is working just great. I had worries about one of the battery cells exploding or something (which would have been Wacky Airline Death Scenario #52) but that hasn't happened. Yet.

I sure wish I had Internet access right now. Not only would I be reading blogs, but I would secretly glance at the IM screen name of the woman a couple of rows away, and send her an anonymous message. "Meet me in the lavatory." Um, okay, maybe not. Especially because if I do manage to get to the lavatory on this flight, I will need about ten minutes of private time.

Saturday, 10:50 a.m.

The airplane lands, and I'm in Detroit. When I'm here, I'm always immediately struck by how multicultural this place is, especially compared to North Carolina. There are lots of Asian people here, and the airport signs and announcements are all translated into Japanese. It immediately makes me feel at ease. I decide that I'm going to keep a running list of Things I Love About Ann Arbor and Michigan, and this is item number #1.

The weather is gorgeous here. Being in Michigan on a sunny spring day makes it seem really cheerful. It's quite a contrast to the grim, grey Michigan winter that seems to last forever. When it's sunny and beautiful like this, and there are cherry trees and tulips blooming everywhere, it makes me really miss this place.

As some of my readers know, I'm not seeing Melissa this weekend as I had originally planned, because she got sent on a vacation to San Antonio by her darling husband. While I think that's a wonderful thing, I'm a bit bummed that I'm not going to be able to meet her. The reason I mention this is that I'm thinking about how she's missing this gorgeous weather after having to endure months of grey Michigan misery, including an April snowstorm. I suppose San Antonio is even nicer, though, judging from Melissa's present cheeriness.

Saturday, 11:50 a.m.

I've arrived at the hotel. The car rental was mostly hassle-free, and the drive from the airport to the hotel was fine too. Thing I Love #2: the speed limit on Interstate 94 from the hotel to Ann Arbor is 70 MPH the entire way.

At the hotel, there appears to be a problem with my reservation. The problem is that the reservation doesn't exist. AUGH, says my OCD. Apparently they rely on faxes from the on-line booking service that I used. FAXES. I had no idea this system was so... 1980s. But in a way that's appropriate, I guess, because I graduated from high school in the 1980s and this weekend is starting to feel very much like Grosse Pointe Blank. The radio station 89X (88.7 FM) is even playing "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes. Hooray! And 89X is Thing I Love #3, because it is leagues better than any Raleigh-area radio station. And, whenever I think of 89X, I say to myself, "89X... BAM, the future of rock and roll."

And while I'm going off on tangents anyway, I want to note this: the Violent Femmes are coming to Raleigh to play in a free downtown concert on July 16th, and I think that's just about the greatest thing EVER.

The hotel put me in room 410. Room 410 is full of spackle because Miguel is working on spackling the bathroom. AUGH. Please do not spackle the Fortress of Solitude, AT LEAST NOT NOW. But after a couple of phone calls, I get moved to room 413. Ahhh. Ahhh. [Details deleted.]
Permalink  4 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: lifetravel


Comment #1 from Javi (Guest)
2005 May 9 - 9:33 pm : #
dude - i want to travel with you!

oh wait, i have.
Comment #2 from Speaker (Guest)
2005 May 10 - 9:21 am : #
"Plane Drivers?"

What about "Plane Conductors" or "Plane Operators?"
Comment #3 from Travis Tidmore (Guest)
2005 May 11 - 2:15 pm : #
Personally I'm a fan of Plane Chauffers, myself.
Comment #4 from olafandyjon (Guest)
2005 May 20 - 8:44 am : #

OK, how sad am I? I came here from Javi's link being very interested in your weekend since I am also a former Ann Arborite/UM alumni...and then I just remembered to come back and finish reading just now.

89X rules!

Comments are closed for this post.

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