Here I am, waiting to board my plane, and what better do I have to do? Yes, of course, I am noding.

I left late, but arrived early. Traffic on I-695 south, around Baltimore wasn’t too bad at 6am. As a result of my being early, I managed to be the first individual on the bus back to the terminal from the long term parking lot. This allowed me an early start at a log day of people watching.

The first people on, a group of three, whom I mistook for being Cuban initially, or something Latin American, at least. Forgive, I suck with assigning national origin. It doesn’t really matter, right? Anyway, they were a married couple and their daughter. I’d put the husband and wife in their mid-fifties, both well dressed, sophisticated, calm and in control, but both seeming to possess a down to earth nature about them. Their daughter, probably about 23, was beautiful. We made extended eye contact. I groaned inwardly, screamed “shit” inside my brain as loud as I dared without fear of someone else hearing, and tried to say, “I’m sorry” with my eyes. She looked away too quickly, and I spent the rest of the bus ride doing my best to not look back. I stole a glance at their luggage. Lufthansa, it said. Definitely not Latin American.

The rest of the people were boring, IMHO. I was operating slightly sleep-deprived, however, having packed at the last minute, like I always swear I won’t do, and like I always end up doing anyway. Some guy asked the husband mentioned above for a pen. He just shook his head and held his peace. I happened to have a pen in my backpack, placed there solely for the purpose of writing this node. Therefore, I regret to inform you that…

This node was touched by a man with mismatched socks
and several facial hairs missed during the morning shave.

My apologies.

My time on E2 finally started to pay off today. First, I arrived early, and reached the airport almost 2 hours early, as suggested in Travel 103 – Getting to the Airport and checking in, which I read last night, instead of packing. I walked inside first, hesitated at the counter check-in, noticed the longish line, and proceeded back outside, where I had myself checked-in by a sky-cap. I tipped 10 USD. Coincidently, my bag arrived safely at my destination. It was well worth the tip, due to the precious contents inside.

Next, I found my gate, then headed for the men’s room. As I walked in, I applied proper Male Bathroom Etiquette, noted the current urinal openings available, and deduced quickly that this bathroom had reached critical mass. I quietly waiting for a set of two empty urinals, remembering to keep my eyes towards the ceiling. A urinal vacated, and I recalled How to Use a Urinal, then identified the Optimal Urinal Firing Target without too much trial and error. Then I remembered that 3 shakes counts as… well…

Finished, I returned to my gate and sat down. At this point in time, I wrote the above portion of this node, while I listened to two ladies wish they’d brought some valium along for the flight.

I got stuck on an aisle seat. I hate aisle seats. My single-serving friends were boring. I avoided conversation, and dozed off after breakfast. I got through the first hundred pages of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation before the flight landed in Houston, and I shuffled off to find some real food and a good place to eat it. Ahh, yes, Subway. The way a sandwhich was meant to be... prepared by a nice lady with very minimal English skills.

Next thing I remember, I’d finished my sub, gone through another 60 pages of Foundation, and was hearing Final boarding call for my flight. Shit!

Did I sleep?

There was a nice old lady seated across the aisle from me, who spent nearly the entire flight talking with the man next to her. She did, however, grace my presence for a few brief moments. She noticed my book and told me he was a great auther, which I heartily confirmed. She said she hadn’t read anything by him in years, but loved him. A friend of mine had recommended him to me, since James Michener, a favourite of mine, might be a little too boring for a plane flight. She asked if I’d read Texas, which I had, and told me it was 2nd only to the Bible in Texas. This, for some reason, did not seem odd in any way to me, and she seemed to be completely serious. She laughed and then returned to her previous conversation, which excluded me.

Just in time for me to notice the “cowboy” one row ahead of me breaking out his laptop. Brown cowboy boots, jeans, a long sleeved shirt, the ever present cowboy hat, and a belt that said Steve on the back. The laptop was a brand new Dell Latitude, with a mobile Penitum III processor and a 15” screen. Supposedly a nice laptop. I watched as Windows 2000 Professional booted, noting with interest that he had to press ctrl-alt-del before he could log in. Kinda like I do…, I thought. Once logged in, he clicked on Start… then Programs…. Then Accessories… Then Games… and finally, Solitaire. Definitely a cowboy. He sucked at Solitaire, and I tried in vain to force his mouse to make the better moves. Alas, my efforts for all for naught, and he lost 3 games in a row before he decided to put the thing away.

We all got lucky and arrive 15 minutes early. God bless the pilot.

I call my mom and tell her my plane had mechanical problems, and we had to make an emergency landing in Albuquerque. I might be stuck there overnight, I told her, because there are no direct flights from here to Phoenix until tomorrow. However, I might try to get on a flight that goes to Los Angeles first. She flips out. She worries way too much about me. I tell her I’m just kidding, as I always am, and that she needs to start taking everything I say with a very large grain of salt. I’m in Phoenix, safely.

One thing I did learn, which I haven’t found on E2 (yet) was proper taxi cab usage. Maybe this is old hat for some users, but I was losing my virginity on this trip. Yes, until today, I had never been in a taxi. Outside the airport, the cab drivers had all parked in two lines. Always select the cab at the front of the line, perferrably on the outside edge. Hmmm… maybe I’m wrong on this, but… oh well.

I arrive at the house, tip the driver, and find the nearest couch to fall asleep on. Tomorrow, my brain tells me, I’m going to the Grand Canyon.

Oh yeah, I’m on vacation in Phoenix, Arizona, for a week. Any fellow noders in this area, who might not be busy over the weekend?

I’m bored, already.