austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I'll be with you in apple blossom time

Last Friday began early for me, very early, so I could fly out to bunny_hugger.

It was not as early as it could possibly have been; in fact, I only had to get up about a half-hour earlier than I would for a normal workday. But still, that morning thing; and it was of course raining, that rain colder than snow. As my father --- who'd agreed to go with me to the airport but insisted I drive up because I somehow wake up faster than he does, what with his going to bed and naturally rising much earlier than I do --- and I looked out I made a joke to my mother about swapping cars, as her Toyota Something has heated seats. And, surprisingly, she accepted, so I gave her my keys, but it did mean we'd be delayed on setting out because we'd have to fill the gas tank.

So we started driving only a little late, but fell rapidly behind schedule because it takes time to fill up. And while we should have had plenty of time to get to the airport, traffic kept going slower than it should have, because of the rain, and because we kept hitting red lights, and because drivers didn't seem to quite know what to do with themselves. My father called it ``not a commuter crowd'', describing it well. We started gaining time finally on the Turnpike, but that's the last and shortest part of the commute. But the seats were warm, at least.

My father dropped me off at the airport just about exactly on time for me to rush through security screening and get to my gate and, yes, it appears I got there for annual Have Never Even Heard Of An Airport Before day. I admit I'm not always efficient in putting stuff into the plastic bins for X-raying. But I do like to think I always demonstrate awareness that certain things will need screening, such as, what I'm carrying. And as my shoes approached the scanner they were lifted away by the Security Theater team to have whifts of whatever sprayed around it. But it all came together, and I got myself together, and I got to the gate just as they had started calling my boarding area and before people had got up from their uncomfortable seats to board. It would be difficult to have arranged less dead time.

Anyway, my flight pattern took me first to Chicago, there to sit a while. We got in ahead of schedule and that was rather fortunate because I realized on looking at my boarding pass that I had approximately negative ten minutes between the scheduled arrival time and the start of boarding for the leg to Detroit. This was a mistake, though not mine: for whatever reason the arrival-in-Chicago time was Eastern, while the boarding-for-Detroit time was Central, so I actually had about fifty minutes. And since we arrived about a half-hour early I had plenty of time even for fussy, nervous me.

I thought we arrived in Detroit early too, so relaxed about getting off the plane to the designated meeting spot with bunny_hugger, and I saw her coming in just on the dot of when I thought she expected the flight to arrive. She thought she was running late due to the parking garage being unnecessarily confusing, and according to the boarding pass, ah, yes, she was behind the nominal arrival time. Well, she was on the dot for what I thought I'd said the arrival time was, but she knew what I'd e-mailed her, and the result was I thought it was odd she was apologizing for being, by my watch (which I'd actually left on the dresser back home), as much as a minute early.

We drove to her home, and after settling everything into place and greeting her rabbit who seemed a little more enthusiastic about me this time around, it was actually time to get dressed and head out again on a roughly hourlong drive. (There were a lot of roughly hourlong drives on Friday.) The objective here was to have dinner with her parents again; their birthdays were recent and they wanted to have a slightly belated birthday dinner with us as a couple. We started off making actually appallingly bad time, because bunny_hugger had forgotten about the Friday rush hour traffic and I didn't know or suspect anything about it. It threatened to leave us something like fifteen minutes late; but, what was there to do about it? Besides drive further and see just how late it was threatening to make us.

As we got closer to dinner and could be pretty sure, thanks to her satellite navigator and our understanding of the clock, that it was going to be fifteen minutes bunny_hugger took out her cell phone to call and tell them just how late we would be. She got their voice mail, so left a message, which I thought I was joking when I said they'd pick it up as we were in the restaurant's parking lot. In fact, when we did get to the parking lot there would have been the telltale vibrating of her cell phone, but since we were involved in getting out in the cold and walking in, neither of us noticed it. It turned out that they had left their cell phone at home. But the waitress, being helpful, loaned them her phone to call and find out where we were, which failed because we were too busy getting into the restaurant to hear that they hadn't got our message saying we were late getting there. It all somehow made sense and yet was ridiculous simultaneously.

There are some restaurants well-suited to vegetarians like bunny_hugger, or people who try to eat vegetarian under circumstances, like me. There are others where this diet is a challenge. For example, the Outback Steakhouse might be expected to not be vegetarian-friendly. The expectation is correct: they don't even offer a portobello-mushroom ``burger''. But it is possible, either by ordering off the appetizers menu, or getting something like salads or a pasta dish and holding the chicken. I can't imagine what Vegans would get.

Her parents had brought, for bunny_hugger, some postcards from World War II depicting Popeye (and, on one, Wimpy) with text meant to have an individual sailor's name filled in. It'd be, for example, Popeye telling Wimpy that the gun barrel he's inside, cleaning, is aimed at the hometown of ``________'', and if it goes off he should tell them he's fine. It's a little bit of armed-services-to-the-home front merchandise that I hadn't seen mentioned before but probably just because I don't look much into that sort of memorabilia. It was neat-looking stuff, too, and lead into the funniest part of the night's conversation other than cell phone confusions:

I faithfully, and eagerly, read the current Dick Tracy, which has fallen in its storytelling abilities so far below basic competence that it's achieved that sort of grandeur that the truly unspeakably bad will. I've been particularly fascinated by the current storyline, a wretched botched effort about killing an ambassador by way of a bomb-enhanced Stradivarius. And I described, as best as I could make out, the plot, which left bunny_hugger's parents highly amused and somewhat awestruck at just how determinedly it does not even imitate something that makes sense. And I wasn't even trying to mock it, in the retelling, just to try recounting the few yet endlessly repeated plot points accurately.

They like me, I'm happy to say, but I'm reasonably confident being able to wrap up the dinner on this sort of loopy comedy made things the better.

We got back home, as might be expected, and while it may sound anticlimactic to say we spent much of the evening online interacting with each other and online friends that was where we got (and which was important, too). And her rabbit seemed more friendly towards me than I remember him being previous times, scampering in his play time around me long enough for me to rub his head with either my knuckles or my feet. He did nibble briefly on my socks, which is much better than other things he might have nibbled on, such as power cords, and all felt most satisfying.

In quite a few ways being with her is being home.

Trivia: At the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics, only the skating events (speed and figure) and the ice hockey events were held in Grenoble proper; the rest were in six other venues throughout Dauphine. Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.

Currently Reading: Fugue State, John M Ford.


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