austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

A bridge that is too far for me

I had to leave Saturday. I'd rather have left Sunday, or not at all, but I did have to get back to work for Monday --- teaching has many wonderful side effects for me, but one of the less pleasant ones is I can't shuffle my days around --- and flying home Sunday would be impossibly expensive. Sunday after Thanksgiving, you know.

But I did want to pick up something, anything, locally-conceived that could be a birthday present for my mother. The talk of getting the whole family together that Sunday for a big Mom's Birthday celebration had petered out without action, but still, my mother would have her birthday Monday and I wanted to have something to give her, and something that was Michigan-touched would be nice. The previous year I'd found a book of children's stories in a used book store, and I thought that'd be lovely, as even if she didn't have the chance to read them to her granddaughter she could have the feeling of having these stories which she might have read as a child to her granddaughter. And I was right; even though she didn't have the chance to read any of them, she really liked thinking of reading them, and she's kept the book by her bedside since.

bunny_hugger thought of a store near the capitol which sells entirely Michigan-oriented stuff for the sake of local pride or tourist value. I admit I'm not precisely sure who the store's target customers are. But we went there --- it's on the same block as the Kewpie Doll restaurant --- and much as I was tempted by the books, I do always get people books so I looked farther afield, even if the one about real life in the upper peninsula seems hilarious by original design.

What I did buy was a couple packs of coffee grounds which were not grown in Lansing per se but were flavored and ground and packaged there, in a factory just across the street from the baseball park, and which we went past on the way to the airport (following our return home so I could pick up a pack of chocolate-covered cherries I'd got at the health food store and failed to open up earlier). We weren't positive my mother could use them in her new Keurig Excessively Over-Engineered coffee maker, but I guessed that we could work something out. It's coffee, we have solutions to that problem.

We drove to the airport and held each other as long as possible, given the sad fact that I'd have to return home and that my plane flight was ... uh ... well, the overhead monitor said it was delayed, but didn't say how long. There weren't any travel alerts sent to my e-mail or phone, though. Inexplicably, the next flight to Chicago was also listed as delayed even though it was very likely the plane for that hadn't even reached Chicago yet. We debated what to do and figured the least-troublesome option was for me to go through security at about the right time for my flight's scheduled departure. If it got really seriously delayed, well, the good thing about flying out of Lansing, besides the airport being more cozy and intimately small than most Barnes and Noble bookstores, is bunny_hugger could come from home and fetch me easily.

The boards were correct: my flight was delayed. It was Chicago's fault; they had an excess of weather and nothing was being allowed to leave, so they weren't letting anything fly in either. This could be a menace to my flights, although if nothing was taking off that would delay my flight back to Newark at least as much, wouldn't it? Maybe? Some people buzzed around the gate talking about the connections they were losing out on, quite fairly, and getting rescheduled, and I hoped that they'd declare the whole flight a loss so I could get rescheduled for Sunday. It might be a pain to fly in whatever's-free on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but another night in Michigan would be worth it.

But it didn't come to that. The weather in Chicago let up enough that they got us on board in Lansing and zipped over there. I didn't have quite as much time as normal to putter around in O'Hare as I'd figured on, but had enough time I didn't need to run through the terminals in a panicked haze either. We were delayed some leaving O'Hare --- the pilot said he was going to try squeezing into the line and sneak out the moment weather allowed, which they probably all say so as to under-emphasize the ``we're number 38 in line for takeoff'' aspect of things --- but since I was getting home by way of train to my brother and his wife's place that wouldn't be a problem as long as the Northeast Corridor lines on New Jersey Transit kept running. (They stop at about 1:45 am.)

My brother drove out, in my car, to pick me up. I'd figured he'd meet me at the kiss-and-ride spot outside, but he said something about meeting me by the new parking deck and huh? Well, they built a new parking deck next to the train station, on the far side of the station, so I went there and looked and he just wasn't there any. I wandered around, a somewhat irritating process since there were a lot of natural paths obstructed by construction zones, and found him at the kiss-and-ride spot. If he hadn't tried telling me where to meet him I'd have gone to the right place automatically.

It happens I'd left a disc with A Big Yes And A Small No on it in my car, so my brother got an introduction to their music while driving over and waiting. Unfortunately, he apparently wasn't taken with it, possibly because I'd left it off at the only song on either album which iTunes marks as ``explicit'' and you maybe should hear the more catchy-peppy tunes like ``I'm Always Manic When I'm Around You'' first.

Anyway, following all these things, I got home after midnight and unfortunately just a bit past the point bunny_hugger got to worrying about why I hadn't reported in just yet. I should've sent updates as I got through O'Hare and got on the train, really; I just wasn't thinking through the many ways I have of assuring people that everything's just fine.

Our next expected gathering is to be for New Year's.

Trivia: Lighting the streets of Paris in the late 1600s required the city to consume 1,625 pounds of candles every night. Source: The Essence Of Style: How The French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour, Joan DeJean.

Currently Reading: The Jungle, Upton Sinclair. Hm.

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