Sunday, August 4, 2013

Going Home

Yeah, as per usual, things kinda got ahead of me once I got home.  Tons to do at work; a $2000 estimate to get rid of my termites; and my cat peed on my bed.  A lot.  We will skip over the bit where I didn't notice it until after I'd slept in a pee-soaked bed, and go right on over to how expensive new comforters and featherbeds are.  (And, once I got the cat to the vet, the fun of chasing her around the house with antibiotics.)

I'm not usually depressed when I get back from vacations -- usually I'm pretty invigorated and ready to get right back into things.  It's a bit different this time.  I'm going to work, coming home, watching TV, doing nothing else, and noticing that I'm doing nothing else.  (OK, sure I'm seeing plays and reviewing them, but that's kind of an obligation as well.)  There's a level of dissatisfication with my day to day existence which has nothing at all to do with sleeping in cat pee.  Part of me wants to do something drastic (for me, anyway) and, I don't know, turn off the damn TV and see if I can't get a little more free time in which to get stuff done.  And the other part of me is the one writing this from the couch, with a bottle of water on one side and the remote on the other.  Guess which part is winning.

ANYWAY, I did want to tell you about the flight home, because it was memorable.  We started early at the Dublin airport and ... honestly, I have no freakin' recollection of flying to London.  We did that -- I know we did that because we somehow ended up in Heathrow.  Our flight to Chicago was delayed, so we spent a bit of time in Heathrow.  There was a DVD I wanted to buy, so I wandered the shops in Terminal 5, but they'd closed the HMV that used to be in there.  On the plus side, they had a Doctor Who exhibit, with a TARDIS and a dalek and totally uninterested employees manning it.  (I walked by about 4 times and couldn't figure out if we were allowed to take pictures or if we had to, y'know, pay them or something.)  Insert here jokes about security being pretty crappy if daleks could get in.

So eventually we get on the big flight to Chicago.  I'm in Business class (gotta dig those points) in the aisle seat on the right-hand side of the center seats.  I come down the aisle to my seat and find someone in it.  Not just any someone, but a baby in a baby seat.  There was a family which had the other three center seats and somehow thought they had mine instead.  I agreed to switch to the aisle on the other side, and got myself organized for the flight.  I'm next to their son; then comes the mom; then the baby.  Dad had a seat across the aisle from the baby.  Across the aisle from me is an older couple.

We get ready to take off.  The baby, who is strapped to her dad, facing forward (as flight regs require) is unhappy about this.  She's screaming and crying.  The flight attendant comes down the aisle, picks up the kid and hugs her (which quiets her somewhat) and then tries handing her to mom.  But, again, neither parent can hug the kid -- they each just have to strap the kid in their lap, facing away, which provides absolutely no comfort the child at all.

I am oddly not annoyed.  I am so not annoyed, it actually surprises me.  (Because, y'know, I am no good with kids.)  It's completely obvious why the child is crying -- the plane is speeding down the runway, it's noisy, it's bright, there are all these people around, and nobody can hug her and bounce her and do that standard comforting thing.  The kid that's sitting next to me is actually pretty well behaved.  The mom is both playful with him and explaining things.  It's working well.  When mom isn't trying to calm the baby, she's mouthing, "I'm sorry" in my direction.  I make a "no problem" face at her.

The problem is the older couple across the aisle from me, who are ten times more annoying than the crying baby -- because they should know better.  Loud enough for me (and, clearly, the parents) to hear, they are treating the rest of the plane to an endless stream of annoyed sighs.  They then decide to comment on the parenting of the couple with the baby.  Saying things like, "It's the parents' fault."  And then, my two favorite comments:  "They should just slap that kid!"  (because, yes, slapping a crying one-year-old is the perfect way to get her to stop crying); followed by a stage-whispered "Low class!"

Look, I'm clearly not Miss Manners over here, but I'm pretty fucking sure loudly calling someone "Low class" is, well, classless.

Of course, the kid stopped crying as soon as we got airborne and they turned off the seatbelt sign, so the parents could do their thing and calm her down.  Didn't cry for the rest of the flight.  

.... but we had been late leaving London and ultimately ended up late in Chicago.  I did not have a ton of time to clear Immigration and Customs and make my connecting flight.  That is an understatement.  They gave little "Fast Connection" passes to people who had tight connections to make, but they apparently did not think I had a very tight connection.  This is how tight my connection actually was:  I have a "Global Entry" card which qualifies me for a shorter line at Immigration; I used that.  I was also travelling First Class, so was able to use the First Class line for security (and bag re-check).  Had I not had either of those things, I wouldn't have made it.  No idea why they didn't give people on my flight "Fast Connection" cards, but I'm glad I made it anyway.

Oh, also, I may have flashed everyone in baggage claim in O'Hare.  I was standing around the baggage carousel when I saw my bags coming and realized I hadn't put my elastic back brace back on.  I'd been doing ok with my back, but, knowing the rule for back injuries (it takes twice as long to heal as you think it does), I wasn't lifting anything heavy without wearing the brace.  Well, my bags are coming and I certainly can't wait -- I just lifted my shirt and wrapped the brace around myself (from, say, ribs on down), not really caring that I was giving everyone a nice view of my bra.  Don't care.  Made the flight!

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