Well I was home for a week and I suppose I should thank my lucky stars because someone out there always has it worse than I do. But it still seems like too short a time to get back into the rhythm and flow of regular life. I pulled through my jet lag and I did manage a couple of bike rides – shocked at how sore my “supporting tissues” were after only an hour or two in the saddle. I guess though that it’s to be expected given that the last time I swung my leg over a bike was some time back in the middle of March. Looking at my spreadsheet, April 2008 was the second worst month for mileage during my 10 years of record keeping the worst being October of 2000 when it rained every single weekend for a month, allowing only 47 miles. April of this year was good for 59, and my 640 miles on the year (normally I have that many by the end of February) tells me that I have genuinely sacrificed something I used to enjoy for the sake of my current gig.
Here I am though, back on the road, this time on the short hop to Phoenix for a couple of days. As always, the little things in getting here is what makes traveling so interesting. Like the TSA woman whose line I chose that was processing one person to her peer’s six (yes, I did the throughput study while standing there.) The person before me warranted a UV light examination of his driver’s license. In my case, she pulled out a magnifying glass and checked the borders of the picture on my passport to make sure I had not pasted it in over the true owner’s. A small price to pay for security I guess, or perhaps she was simply exercising the skills she picked up last week at a seminar on forgeries. Moving on to the security check, I helped myself by telling the woman preceding me in the x-ray line not to shove her boarding pass into her purse before sending it down the belt. Having cleared that hurdle, I headed down to the ATM and was surprised to find a fellow using it. I have never waited at that machine in all the times I’ve used it. What was truly surprising was the fact that he was just standing there. Looking over his shoulder, I noticed the screen said “please swipe your card” and just as I was about to mention this, he pulled his card out of his wallet and swiped it. And then we stood there for another 2 or 3 minutes while the screen continued to recommend he swipe his card. Eventually he just walked away, perhaps bored with the fact that the screen never seemed to change.
The line-up at Southwest was a bit less confusing to my fellow travelers today and the only issue was the guy that lined up in my section ½ hour ahead of boarding. Knowing full well I had a lower number than he did, I debated whether I should bully my way ahead of him or whether I should just let it go. This got me fathoming why I would even care, arriving at the conclusion that I am simply competitive by nature and that there really is nothing wrong (more or less) with being that way. In the end, I stood next to him and waited for someone else to cross-examine him on his number and then I was home free, he having admitted he was #22. Not that any of this mattered, the plane was about 1/3 full and I ended up sitting in the 2nd row next to a young woman who insisted on watching a movie on her laptop during take-off.
One hour plane flights are always easy and appreciated. In this case it left me enough time for a chipotle turkey wrap at Paradise Café, it being a better option than the cafeteria at work. Naturally I got in line between the two women who took separate checks and then had to settle their financial differences right there at the cash register while I waited to ring out.
Lunch being done it was down the escalator and out into the furnace to catch the rental car bus whose ride over to the center was as wonderful as ever albeit a bit crowded. But it was quick and in no time I was cruising down I10 in my Chevrolet Equinox watching the outside air temperature climb from 90 to 99 in the matter of 8 or 10 miles.
Really, it was a pretty boring day which sometimes is just what the doctor ordered.
Now I know I can’t regale you with colorful photos of my exotic adventures when I’m sitting at a Marriott Courtyard in Chandler, Arizona but I do like to share the things I encounter. No Dalian Russian Street tonight, just the view off my balcony and the drain in between.