Though Monday was to be a short day together, it was spent with more time together than we might have had: I got a flight out of Lansing's airport for the first time, so we didn't have the need for an hour-plus drive to Detroit or Grand Rapids or an equivalent city. We could just pop off a little outside the downtown area instead, giving us much more time together.
We even had time to leaf through a local newspaper, where I discovered in the Six Differences panels of Hocus Focus --- which I didn't know was still running either --- that I have become highly optimized to the grammar of Six Differences as presented by Slylock Fox. It's subtle but I think the key difference is Hocus Focus is comfortable making changes in shading be one of the differences, whereas Slylock Fox tends to rely on actual differences in shape, mostly by removing things in the second panel.
To eat we went to another of those places we always talked about visiting but never quite got to: Jersey Giant. This is a Michigan-area sandwich chain which bunny_hugger had theorized might have some connection to Jersey Mike's, which is not yet in her area. The big twist of Jersey Giant is you can't buy a regular or even a mini sub; they only sell the giant size. And the menu is similar to that of Jersey Mike's, albeit with wholly different arbitrary numbers assigned to the menu board.
The decor strives for a New Jersey Theme, not so much in the arrangement of the booths and tables and such --- there's not a lot to be done about that --- but in the pictures hung on the walls. They almost might be accused of going for self-parody, if New Jersey were to admit the existence of such a thing: pictures of the Rat Pack, Sopranos stills, a reproduction of that Bergen Record September 11 Attacks front page, and so on. I think they failed to have any replica Garden State Parkway signs but surely just because the Turnpike Authority has failed to start selling them.
I still can't guess whether there's any connection between Jersey Giant and Jersey Mike's, but I do feel the place offers a satisfactory hoagie experience. (And I confess I'm not precisely sure what makes a hoagie Jersey Shore-style, although I think it amounts to fresh-cutting the meat and cheese and relying more on oil and vinegar than mayonaise.)
Heading toward the airport we overheard a radio commercial for Shipshewana, Indiana, which was bringing some of its Farmers Market experience to the Lansing area. This I was primed to recognize as I have an aunt and uncle who live down there, and it was at that Farmers Market where I first acquired copies of the James Blish novelizations of the Original Star Trek episodes. I didn't know they even took the show on the road any. Thus informed, though, bunny_hugger would be able to use the road market as a source for small gifts of her own.
The Lansing airpot is small, on the same order of magnitude as Albany's airport; since I was charmed by Albany's this worked fine for me. When I got to my nominal gate I found there wasn't even a waiting area there; it was just the far end of a hallway. I asked for a gate claim tag for the larger of my bags, but the attendant sniffed a bit at the strange buzzing coming from within my luggage. My electric toothbrush had turned itself on. He wanted me to go through security again, which you can see how that makes sense. I turned the toothbrush off, and walked away, waited a couple minutes, walked back, and got a gate check tag from a different attendant.
In Chicago, my flight was delayed some, but despite this I wasn't able to ask for a gate claim tag until boarding was almost begun. This forced the attendant to double-check my boarding pass for some reason and go looking up pages after pages after pages of stuff on her terminal, making me against my will out to be that guy who has issues at the gate. She started to explain that yes, it was theoretically possible to gate-check a bag but then I would have to retrieve it at the end of the flight and I said fine, never mind, don't worry, I'll just get on the plane. This failed to avoid creating my own little backup on the line and I'm just sorry to everyone who was stuck behind me. I still think the attendant could have just given me a gate-check tag without searching the history of baggage on her terminal.
Anyway. While the flight was proportionately late getting in to Newark, I wasn't inconveniencing anyone thanks to my train-to-the-plane strategy. In fact, I got an unexpected bonus besides the extra time to read while commuting back to my car. At the Newark Airport train station AT&T had thoughtfully installed a Public Phone 2000, italics theirs, offering Phone Plus Services, the telephone that lets you connect to the information superhighway. This must have been done so that a decade-plus later would-be bloggers could marvel at this endearingly old-fashioned public telephone with a tiny television screen and a pleading invitation to be used for whatever it is a Tele-Phone 200 might be used for.
So, a not-long train ride back to my sister-in-law's New Jersey Transit-based rail facility, a shorter taxi ride to her specific house, my keys handed out while I was hushed because my niece was not being good about falling asleep, and I was back on my way driving home at the end of one of those weeks that makes me wonder why I do leave Lansing, exactly, anyway.
Trivia: John Wesley, founder of Methodism, railed against tea and urged his followers to pray for the strength to abstain from the drink (putting the saved money to aiding the poor). Later in life he recanted, and obtained from Josiah Wedgwood a gallon teapot. Source: Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire, Roy Moxham.
Currently Reading: Jeeves and The Tie That Binds, P G Wodehouse.