Thursday, August 26, 2010

I left my parents' house Wednesday morning at the Happy! Jolly! Gay! hour of 5:15 a.m., after saying goodbye to my mom and my brother and sister-in-law's cat; my dad drove me to the airport in a pre-dawn drizzle that made me want nothing more than to crawl back into the warm bed I'd left behind, even if it meant putting off the reunion with Joedy, Lula, and Malko for one more day.

At the Delta counter I checked in and coughed up a grotesque sum for the privilege of hauling back a suitcase full of dirty socks and underwear, then my dad and I said goodbye and I watched his head disappear from view down the escalator. After taking off my sneakers and plunking them, along with my backpack, on the security conveyor belt, I was told by a uniformed young woman to enter the Security Portal, stop, turn to the left, and assume the stance of a praying mantis. Ever the law-abider, I did as I was told, but I found it odd that I had to form a triangle with my hands, place them on top of my head, and bend my knees, all while a gigantic vibrator was waved around my chest.

If they were trying to cheer me up, it worked--I immediately saw that flying can be fun, and I was in a good mood for five minutes, until I discovered the prosthetic limbs exhibit in the hallway leading to my gate. There, I had to wonder what the message was: "If you plant a bomb in your shoe, you might not have a leg anymore"? "Tamper with the smoke alarm and we'll chop your finger off"? My eight-dollar cappuccino started tasting like bile all of a sudden, so I stopped looking at the cute fake fingers and legs with metal pieces sticking out of them and turned instead to the bookshop, where a wrecked plane, felled by heavy rain, dominated the papers.

Lately I've tried to be a more relaxed, less worried person--me? Worry? Nah!--so I did a mental shrug and proceeded to the gate, where the plane was boarding, found my seat, and then found a whole bunch of EMPTY seats, where I stretched out and felt friendly towards Delta and the skies in general.

After changing planes in Atlanta and realizing that the guys sitting across the aisle from me were going to loudly, OBNOXIOUSLY broadcast their "coolness"--specifically, the fact that they were in a band together, they cooked up all these HILARIOUS pranks ALL the time, someone had (oh gosh!) even Twittered about them--I quickly lost my zen and sank into a deeply sarcastic state, wishing there was someone, anyone, I could snicker and roll my eyes with.

There wasn't, so I just sat there and stewed until the plane landed and the most obnoxious guy in the group (he actually said "fucking" out loud, which--I'm old-fashioned I guess--I think deserved a serious spanking) more or less yelled: "So, ARE WE OPENING FOR THE CULT OR IS THE CULT OPENING FOR US?" and I replied with a (muttered) "Oh, shut up, you dumb, pretentious dork" and turned my back in a way that I hoped conveyed Major Chilliness.

Ten minutes later I was rolling my green suitcase out of baggage claim and into the warm Austin sunshine. Joedy and Malko were parked at the curb in the Super Deluxe Luxury Vehicle, the dogs happily panting disgusting breath from the back seat, and before I knew it the morning faded away, leaving me with the strange feeling that lots had just happened far, far away. Today, one day later, I'm still kind of in the faraway place, but I'm also here, on the bed next to Joedy, near Lula and Malko, Lapis, Astrid, and Diablo, and it's a pretty nice place to be.

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