Saturday night after the blackout we noticed the movie theater we'd failed to see Alice in Wonderland at on Friday was showing it Sunday at noon. We would have to get up early to catch it, but ... we could do that, couldn't we? We had the free passes, and when would there be a better chance, particularly while it was in 3-D?
So we got up early, and set out early, planning to see a movie and then eat lunch. As a result we didn't get a bag of Reese's Pieces, but settled for popcorn and soda instead. And we knew we'd be at less risk of hordes of teens in the theater, although there'd be more kids at an early Sunday showing. It wasn't a bad audience, though, after all, and wasn't any too crowded either. There might be something to seeing a movie at noon after all.
We also set out early, which was a very good thing, because the most direct route to the theater was blocked by a tree that'd knocked out a utility pole and blockaded part of the street. Also the next-most-direct route was similarly blockaded, although there was a shorter detour for that. The trees wouldn't be fully cleaned up until Thursday, as best I could determine, and I'm mighty glad that we got power back on Saturday night.
Now much as done with the Silverball museum I'll put our experiences and thoughts about that into a separate essay rather than let the length be too overwhelming.
Following the movie we had to pick where to eat. Jersey Mike's is always a strong bet, but there's also the diner where we first ate together. We went for that diner, which is ultimately the stronger tradition than cheese hoagies are. That's not to say we didn't have some variations; usually bunny_hugger gets something like French toast or pancakes, while I get an omelette. This time she got the omelette and I got pancakes. I also nearly stole her toast; I forgot that it didn't come with all the breakfast options but instead was attached to the omelette order. Yes, it'd be uncharacteristic to serve toast with pancakes, too, but, eh. We realized the mistake after I'd spread jelly over the first slice and before I started eating anyway.
Returning home, to pack and to check the airport information, we got the distressing news that bunny_hugger's flight, scheduled to leave 8:05, was running about an hour late. This would have her arriving in Detroit dangerously close to the departure time of the bus taking her back to her home city. In fact, the official arrival time was after that, but, the plane always gets in early so maybe there'd be time. And maybe the flight would come in early after all. We could hope.
We could also stop off at a McDonald's somewhere for one of those silly little things we hadn't had the chance to do before, and get a Shamrock Shake. Dismiss it as a silly little marketing thing if you like, but they do taste good and when you have few chances for them in any year why not take the chance? We hoped to have one together at some point but in the whirlwind of the short visit we hadn't had the chance to stop at a McDonald's before starting out the long trip to the airport. Nevertheless, there were quite a few McDonald's along Route 9; we could easily stop at one ... any ... time ... now.
It turns out there are more McDonald's on 9 southbound than northbound; in fact, we only passed two going north that whole trip. (Although now that I think of it, there was another just north of the diner, which we didn't even think to go to and which we bypassed driving to the airport anyway.) Still, the first one we stopped in was nicely located, and was the one I went to maybe too often in high school after getting my driver's license, and it didn't have Shamrock Shakes on offer. I didn't realize they weren't universal offers. Disappointed we carried on north and were relieved to find the other McDonald's, just short of the Parkway, did have them. They're nicely sweet things, and it'll be one more of those little things we can share when they come back around next year.
When we got to the airport the departures board had the same bad news --- her flight had been pushed back to after 9 pm, and moved to a departing gate we never heard of before. We went a bit window-shopping, looking at New Jersey merchandise from some of the shops, or just the general airport-themed merchandise at stores selling plush airplanes or travel Boggle or the like. And we went to a booksellers to find the Swedish Fish she uses as personal reward for getting on the plane. I picked up a box of candy too, a solid four ounces of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites.
We waited together in those seats which imitate but do not actually achieve comfort until about 8 pm, when it seemed wise to check the board and see if the security screening line was a reasonable length for her to get through before the projected new boarding time if we spent any more time with each other. The departure board had catastrophic news, however: the flight was bumped back another half-hour. Leaving at 9:30 there was no realistic chance that she'd get home in time for the bus, and she'd have to rely on her parents to give her a ride home. This would be inconvenient for them --- a long drive, and late at night --- but they had been forewarned about the possibility and were warm to it. But they had worse news: her parents said their flight information check, on the web site, had the plane not leaving until after 10 pm. This turned into a very confusing conversation for her since the best information we had still put the flight at 9:30, while they were thinking it would be an hour or even more later than that.
The moment she got off the phone the departure board switched again and reported the flight would leave at 8:45 and from yet another gate. It was a quarter-past eight already. We agreed, relcutantly, that she should get through security now. It was a long, slow line, possibly aggravated by people who were thinking their flight was as much as two and a half hours late all suddenly having to get through security instantly. Among the line distractions were a pair of people who hoped that, by declaring loudly that they had to catch a flight, they might accelerate their own passage through the screening line to reach the same plane bunny_hugger sought.
She finally disappeared from my view only after 8:35, suggesting a very tight fit between screening and flying, but I'd trusted they would have to leave late because of the departure board confusion. I settled in to wait to see whether the plane actually departed, or when. And then I got the call.
It turns out I don't know how to answer my hand phone when it rings; about all I can do is pick up voice mail. The voice mail from bunny_hugger was distressed: she'd missed her flight. She didn't know the new gate number, but none of the gate boards had her flight number on it, and there were no more flights that night and ... what to do?
With the calm assurance of a person who isn't in the midst of the crisis I called back with my suggestions: don't leave the security area; according to the departure board her gate was most recently number (I think 25); find any airline employee and talk. This went to her voice-mail and I could only hope she'd get the advice before anything irreversible happened. As I finished she called back, which of course went to my voice mail: she found her flight. While they had cleared the gate numbers, they called on the public address system for the last few passengers. She was, remarkably, not the last one on. Considering she got in the security line the moment the departure board updated the departure time, I don't see how she wasn't among the first few through.
So despite the worry, she flew out of Newark successfully, and arrived in Detroit with just the time needed to get the bus home. The spring break visit was over, and successfully. It was too short, but it was at all, and that's the truly important trait.
Trivia: Paramount Pictures's 1936 film 13 Hours By Air depicts a transcontinental flight on a Boeing 247-D. The flight depicted actually would take 17 hours. Source: The Boeing 247: The First Modern Airliner, F Robert van der Linden.
Currently Reading: The 1972 Annual World's Best SF, Editor Donald A Wollheim.