Tidied up and double-checked everything before I left. Nothing left behind. Wheeled everything to work, finished three articles and discussed them with T_. I'm getting better, thank goodness. Did some housekeeping to keep track of my articles. G_ from CS called a cab for me -- my, she is a cutie.

After an uneventful cab ride to the airport -- outside of the fact that it was my first ride in a Prius -- I wandered around the terminal for a while looking for the US departures. Then I suffered through the moronic redundancy of check-in > customs > security > gate. Each time it is passport and boarding pass with a little undressing thrown is as well.

I felt nauseous when I passed under the sign stating Welcome to the United States of America. I didn't expect that reaction. Part of it, I feel, had to do with the inane paranoia surrounding travel in to and out of and all around the US. Seeing it from a neighbor's perspective provided the rest. The entire time I was in Vancouver, I watched the CBC exclusively, and the tone of any news and commentary in regard to the US was delivered with an exasperated tone, like a big brother just shaking his head at the maddening antics of the smaller one, all the time thinking, "What the hell is he going to fuck up next?" Sometimes my country reminds me of a pathological child pulling the legs off a live grasshopper. Pluck! There goes civil liberties. Pluck! There goes equality. Pluck! There goes a woman's freedom to choose. Then, still squirming, the grasshopper is buried in the dirt, suffocating without any way to claw its way out. Homeland Security, anyone?

No wonder it is easier being our enemy.

If I extrapolate from the past two weeks, Canada is simply a wonderful place. Friendlier and more relaxed. Welcoming. Tolerant. Respectful. Thoughtful. Everyone I met was helpful and kind and mellow. I can't wait to go back.

A coffee and burger and fries by the gate. Takeoff. The expanse of white peaks to the north and east. How I wish I was above timberline, camped in the snow. I cherish the cold. I would cherish it even in its abundance. Mountains as far as can be seen. Any one will do.

In Denver, my little peephole of a layover did not allow me to get anything to eat. The restaurants halfway down the concourse had lines out the door. Oh well. All I've done today is sit on my butt so a little hunger is not so bad. I have an aisle seat, but the guy on the other side of the aisle is looking at a Playboy. He's also got a laptop. If he starts watching porn on it, I might have to deck him.

When I got to baggage claim in Orlando, I learned that my luggage was still enjoying the frosty climate of Denver. As long as I get my running shoes and souvenirs back, I'll be happy.

C_ had parked my car in the employee lot. I rode the bus to the second stop and got out. The night was cool but humid, and thick cones of light fell from the lamps looming over the lot. I looked forward to the beer in my fridge at home. Home. My car was right where she said it would be, "Get out of the bus, stand with your back to the bench, walk to the row closest to ten o'clock. You're a few cars in."

When I got to the car, I couldn't help by smile. M_'s carseat had a toy in it and there was a soccer ball on the back seat. The driver's side seat was pushed all the way back to accomodate her long legs. An empty Diet Coke can in the holder. I could hear their voices. Laughter. I could hear them listening to U2. I could see them in the car, dashing off to do an errand, an adventure, an afternoon without end. J_ trying to change the music. V_ keeping peace in the back seat.

I got in and scooted the seat up and started the engine. There wasn't a lot of traffic. I made most of the lights.

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