Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Travels

Walk. Train. Transfer. Walk. Wait. Train. Bus. Plane. Train. Walk. Beer. Plane. Car. That’s not bad for one day.

That’s what it took for me to get from my dorm in Cambridge to my folks’ place in Nebraska. I never figured I’d become the kind of person who visited any one airport enough to become familiar – not like the fellow sitting next to me on flight from Boston. He was a former MIT and current Harvard scientist who worked with getting drugs to clinical trials, and circles the globe from airport to airport racking up frequent flyer miles. Nice fellow, and lucky, too – to finish out this year’s mileage he’ll be going to Chile soon, touring wine country and stocking the cellar.

Anyway, Continental is one of the few major carriers to service Omaha’s cosmopolitan Eppley Airfield, and Continental hubs in Newark (not to mention they own the Nets’ basketball arena), so I found myself there again. I missed their terminal-to-terminal shuttle, leaving me to go through airport security a second time in one day. But in the age of bottled water and “going to the gym,” taking your shoes off with a bunch of strangers may be the closest any of us get to real camaraderie. Obviously this is what the shoe bomber had in mind. But who can foresee the true consequences of his actions? I just felt bad for the woman ahead of me with the baby; angry TSA checker couldn’t fit her baby stroller through the machine, and didn’t have the patience to run it through the larger machine or the vision to just let it go. So he dismantled the back piece of the stroller and shoved it through, leaving her on the other end demanding that someone help her put it back together. It’s really too bad that planes are so fast and convenient; if you take the train you have double the legroom and you can show up a minute before departure time and climb aboard. And nobody dismantles your stroller.

Just getting to Newark was a hoot, and I don’t just mean waking up before 6, which I don’t care for. The Boston T, it seems, tends to have its fits of unreliability in the morning when operations first commence, which is a damn terrible time to do it in a city full of stressed people trying to get to work. Me, I just wanted to get to the airport on time, and I was momentarily concerned when the orange line ground to a halt. So after muttering a few solemn curses I just left Downtown Crossing and hiked it down the street to State, where I was going to catch the blue line for the airport. It cost an extra trip, $2, to leave the station and come back in. But man do I hate sitting still.

Time at home was good. Didn’t accomplish anything, really, but that’s what January is for. I’m back at the Electric Earth, my old Madison neighborhood coffee shop, trying to get motivated to do more thesis writing. I only have another hour before I have to move the car again, but that’s fine. Keep on travelin’.

1 comment:

chaviva said...

Ahh, I love your writing. So smart, so funny, such wit.

Well done.