austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

In apple blossom time

So, Tuesday, would be my going home. I'd got an afternoon flight leaving Detroit, connecting to Chicago, and arriving home in the evening in maybe not enough time to exercise but certainly enough to get a normal night's sleep.

For breakfast or lunch, whether you name the meal literally or by the hour, we went to Theio's, a diner where we'd eaten once and received an odd comment about bringing in the laundry when it rains from the waitress. Nothing that odd happened this time; if going to a diner is one of our little traditions, we reinforced it with one of our little traditional meals, French toast for bunny_hugger and a cheese omelette for me. I like omelettes a lot and don't seem to have them very much, probably because I usually have a breakfast that's an apple or two or slices of cheese rather than something complicated like omelettes, which are pretty much the least complexity one can possibly add to scrambled eggs. Looking around the diner, which is festooned with old posters including many featuring the products of the R E Olds corporation, bunny_hugger realized she'd lived here over a decade and never been to the Olds museum. I'd love to go there. There'll be time together again.

Driving out to Detroit brought us past landmarks I'm starting to recognize, some of them towns of significance, some of them just general places, and we ended up at the airport with just about the right length of time. We wandered around the feeble out-of-the-security-corridor shops, one of which sells hats made to look like cartoon animal heads which I don't quite have a silly or whimsical enough look about me to get away with wearing. This gave us about enough time to hold each other, and get mentally ready for the separation, and not quite enough to get too mawkish about it before I had to go through security. Mid-afternoon Tuesday is apparently light on queues.

We did have the time to think about Mentos and how in Singapore the packages I got were labelled ``chewey dragees'', the latter a word I had always taken to be Malay. Well, it looked Malay. bunny_hugger pointed out that those little silver balls that we used to put on cookies or ice cream back in the late 70s/early 80s were called dragees too, and I realized that I had forgotten those, and didn't know the name of them back when we ate them, and you never see them anymore. It may be the silver thing. Anyway, this suggests that dragee is not a Malay word but from some other obscure language pillaged for usable parts. I still think Mentos in the United States would do well to advertise themselves as ``chewey dragees''; just say that and don't you want to eat one, even if you still want to punch the people from the commercials twenty years ago?

The first leg of the flight, to Chicago, was unexceptional and I think we might have even arrived early. Good news, that; I feel anxious when I'm in the wrong area and I had to get to the Continental section for my last leg. The bad news: my flight was delayed by about an hour and a half. It was delayed enough, in fact, that my gate still had its passengers and flight information displays for the flight before mine. That the gate next to it was also going to Newark, and was delayed to about fifteen minutes past when my flight should have left, left me confused about flight number and whether the departure boards were right or the gate information was right. Both were right; it's just one of them, I wasn't going to be on. I wasn't the only person confused, in my defense; someone else going to Newark asked me for help straightening it out, and this was when I was walking back from the bathroom rather than waiting forlorn by the departure gate.

I did get a ``Mediterranean Salad'' from the slightly pretentious restaurant kiosk next to the gate --- I would have called it an overpriced fruit salad --- and found the genius who designed the restaurant kiosk hadn't thought it useful for people to be able to set their purchases down on some kind of counter in front of the cashier. I also later got some candy bars from the Hudson News. And I called my father to warn that my flight was (a) late and (b) with Continental rather than United even though I booked it United. I'd have tried explaining the code-sharing but my father's built up an immunity to his current hearing aid so I had to limit things to the most important details, namely, ``pick me up about 11, at the Continental terminal''.

And I belatedly thought to call bunny_hugger and report just where I was, and what happened, and that I'd probably, sadly, miss the chance to talk with her that night online. She'd made a decision about work, though, and we talked about that. And she mentioned how since this trip, I'd barely been out of her sight, I didn't have the chance to hide any little surprises like an extra plush toy in her house. So if you were at the Continental terminal in O'Hare a week ago and saw someone on a little candy bar-style cell phone suddenly have his face light up and bite his tongue to suppress laughing and start fidgeting joyfully at having gotten away with something so far, that was me, and yes, I had hidden at least one surprise. She was right that we didn't have much time out of each other's sight, but there were moments, for example, when I went upstairs to get my carry-on bag, and could take an extra moment without it standing out.

The flight would be delayed a few more minutes before taking off, but that wasn't anything too bad. And Continental offered a little amenity that United doesn't on the Chicago-to-Newark leg, an actual (cold) sandwich with chips and a drink. But the sandwich was turkey, and I do try to eat vegetarian with bunny_hugger, and like seeing how long I can keep going that way after visiting, and the flight attendant apologized. It's just a short flight, they didn't have space for alternative sandwiches. This makes sense if you don't stop to think about it. I took the Fritos instead, and my chocolate.

I'm not sure whether the flight was slow, but as we got closer to Newark and the heavy rains which had got everything delayed --- they officially blamed Air Traffic Control, but it was the weather that was the real problem --- we got put into a holding pattern and an extra half-hour or so waiting around for the ground to be ready for us. As this went on my father left me voice mail that the cops weren't letting him wait outside the Passenger Drop-off zone like we'd have used if I had got there on time; I'd have to find him in the parking deck somewhere.

And after the holding pattern and the landing we had some kind of weird delay, I suspect traffic-related, in pulling up to a gate so that I finally set foot back in Newark Airport about midnight, with only a vague idea how to get to the parking deck from here. But I had to admit the value of the cell phone in a case like this: I knew my father's car was on the third deck, about ``twenty or twenty-five'' cars to the right of the pedestrian footbridge. I used the wrong pedestrian footbridge and far overshot my father's car. He called to say he'd realized there were multiple footbridges to the parking deck about as I found his car anyway.

It was a quarter-past twelve. I can take that sort of hour. My father really can't. He insisted I drive home. My father tried to adjust the windshield wiper for me, apparently unaware that I'm quite good at turning the wipers on and off, but I was distracted enough trying to get out of the parking deck that I failed to slap his hand for interfering with the driver. He recommended I take Route 9 because the rains meant the Parkway was probably flooded. Also, though he didn't say this, the Parkway is a modern multi-lane limited-access highway and he'd rather take the smaller, narrower road with stop lights anytime. I figured I'd be better off on a road without so many expected stops and starts, and sure enough, the highway was as reasonably dry as it could be, and nearly empty. Great driving conditions, considering.

Still, we got home past about 1:30; never mind exercise, never mind checking in online, I'd be doing well just to sleep. Work was coming in the morning, at its usual time. It was a great trip, but the return to normal was going to hurt.

Trivia: In 1214, town officials of Oxford agreed to regulate student rents and the price of food, and to pay the new-forming university annually as financial support for the less wealthy students, after five years of a dispute between the town and the school over a student who had killed a woman. Source: 1215: The Year Of Magna Carta, Danny Danziger.

Currently Reading: Archform: Beauty, L E Modesitt, Jr.

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