And now in a rare departure for me, a multi-day epic of things I've been up to in the recent past, in this case, the Maine Gathering with bunny_hugger and a collection of other strange people from the Internet.
Our plan was to drive up to wherever it was in Maine that we were supposed to go; I was vague on this point because I supposed bunny_hugger would have directions. I was reluctant to take the car, since it's a long drive and I don't much care for driving, but the cost of flying into Maine is slightly greater than the cost of actually buying a house in Portland, and the cost of railroad tickets would be not that much less, and besides, we both knew any attempt to ride a passenger railroad for more than about three hours means encountering some catastrophe involving infinite delays and possible great sickness. For a while I considered borrowing my parents' Toyota Something, noticeably more comfortable than my Scion, but they were planning to go to the Newport (Rhode Island) Jazz Festival that same weekend so they had rather some claim to their own car.
Besides, this would give us a bit of a practice run in long-distance driving. We needed this as we have plans to drive Route 66, and even though we planned to mostly take Interstates up to Maine the roads would roughly parallel that of the historic Boston Post Road (well, one of the Post Roads, anyway). So that we'd get a sense of whether we can be tucked into the same car for arbitrarily many hours and not run out of things to talk about even when there aren't specific roadside attractions.
All this would begin with bunny_hugger flying in to Newark Airport, though, and so after the end of work that Wednesday I went to pick her up from there. The timing of available flights meant I had to leave work early, but at the same hour I usually leave early Wednesdays for yoga, so that nobody really noticed any difference at work. In fact, one of the mainframe-room women wished me a good yoga class, and I felt it would be too complicated to explain what I was actually up to.
I got to the airport almost exactly the same time bunny_hugger did, albeit from opposite ends, so that I had just about enough time to get to the baggage carousel before she came down the escalator and we started walking dazedly and smilingly at each other while ignoring the rest of the world. And while she'd been worried she couldn't bring everything she wanted in her alloted carry-on space, she had managed it, making my comments about which carousel to watch for her luggage irrelevant, although I didn't understand at first why she was looking to leave the airport so swiftly.
Although we were driving back from Newark during rush hour the traffic wasn't unreasonable, by my standards anyway, and in not too long we were back at the diner where we'd had our first meal together enjoying such luxuries as checking whether they had French onion soup for the day (they didn't) or grilled cheese sandwiches (they did). And we certainly could have stayed all night, given our choice, but we did have to get to bed at some point, and I had to finish packing.
Still we had time to watch a few Carson's Comedy Classics, and for a fresh Floyd R Turbo American segment to give bunny_hugger a temporary favorite catchphrase to baffle online friends (``This raises the question: stick it up your nose''). And we got to eating a bag of flavored pretzel chips which had been in the house for roughly seven years but didn't show appreciable signs of ageing, possibly because of the strong spice flavor agents in them. It was looking like a good trip's eve.
Trivia: In 1891 shipping magnate Hermann Oelrichs offered in The New York Sun a reward of $500 for ``such proof as a court would accept that in temperate waters even one man, woman, or child, while alive, was ever attacked by a shark''. Source: Close To Home: The Terrifying Shark Attacks Of 1916, Michael Capuzzo.
Currently Reading: The Seven Cardinal Virtues Of Science Fiction, Editors Isaac Asimov, Charles G Waugh, Martin H Greenberg.