Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Travel log

Hear Dad waking to go to work. Chienne is very excited. She soon joins me in the tiny bed in ToyRoom2. Mom sleeps behind closed doors in ToyRoom1.

Mom wakes and emerges. Chienne is very excited. Yell at dog to leave Mom alone. Decide to get up.

Evaluate health status as I head down the hall. Airport nervousness is not bad - I get quite freaked out sometimes, so this level of anxiety is fine. Head hurts. Badly. Ankle is OK, but not pleased about being drug around the country in a brace.

Dressed, packed, basically ready. Have taken 2 Advil, waited 15 minutes, then took an Excedrin. Not feeling well at all. Decide throat hurts and I am likely starting with some kind of evil virus as well.

Leave house with Mom so she can drop me at the terminal. Drive to airport.

Check in with American. Expect sympathy for ankle - receive none. Start to miss the South a bit. But I am granted permission to board early and we actually have a ramp thingie to connect with the plane. I often have to climb steps and may do so in Chicago anyway. Nice flight attendant does ask if I'd like a wheelchair in Chicago. I decline, hoping for a ride on one of those cool cart things. Acknowledge I'll likely walk and she says I'm connecting from G to H, I think. Since those are close alphabetically, I decide to hope they'll also be reasonable in terms of distance.

Join the quickly growing line to clear security. The sign says they'll return at 5AM and are now closed. Watch the various security people through the glass doors. Finally receive sympathy for my ankle! From a Southern woman standing in front of me in line. Midwestern people - in my experience and being one of them - aren't mean. They're just not so effusive as my friends in the South.

I am treated to my first ever set of shouted instructions from the TSA guy. Liquids in baggie. Computers out of bags. No breaking the rules! Start to shuffle forward but abruptly stop as a woman digs in her bag. "Have your IDs out and ready!" TSA guy calls to the group then sighs at the woman who wasn't ready.

This is a small airport, so the lines aren't long. I reach the TSA guy, he writes on my boarding pass, then I tentatively ask if I need to remove my brace. He glances around his podium, gives a quick expression of mild sympathy, then nods.

I make it through security without incident after removing my laptop, placing my poster tube on the table, tucking my left shoe on my bag and removing the bulky boot.

Hobble to chair to replace boot. It hurts already. But the head is better.

Open laptop to update internet on my progress. I wish I wasn't traveling today.

Am allowed to preboard and find my seat near the rear of the plane. I undo a couple of straps and sigh as the pressure is relieved on my sore ankle.

The sky is tinged pink as the sun rises. There is a flat blanket of clouds just below the plane with sparse puffs rising just a bit higher. The flight is smooth and quiet and short.

I'm landing at O'Hare when many of you are still sleeping. I scowl at this thought.

The plane clears and I wait patiently before securing my boot, retrieving my poster and hobbling off.

Realize that while G and H are alphabetically close, O'Hare must be ignorant of this fact. Keep hobbling.

OK, it hurts. And I'm moving very slowly. Stop to look at books.

My whole leg aches, I didn't find a single thing I was willing to read and I decide to move faster to see if that works.

7:55 and 10 seconds AM
That didn't work well at all. Scowl and return to turtle-pace. Watch people stream past me.

Have to dodge someone who is coming toward me and decides to go to my right side. Decide he looks sort of British and forgive him for not going left as I expected. I like British people.

Decide to look at books again since I realize I will not be wandering around sightseeing as was my plan. Feel moderately disappointed about this but forget about it as my ankle throbs insistently. Find no books. Buy People magazine. Buy bagel and soda to ease stomach troubles from pain pills.

Sit down at gate, then hop up to preboard again. Turtle-pace means I don't wait very long.

Wave off the apology of the woman with a toddler who sits in front of me. Little Sophie was very cute and did - I thought - quite well on the plane.

Take off on time. Enjoy a very pleasant flight since I don't mind children's songs being sung around me.

Finish People magazine - tuck into pocket in front of me for the next flyer.

Feel grateful for the empty middle seat as I contort myself to release the giant boot completely. Sigh with relief.

10:25AM/11:25AM (Time change!)
Land. Wait for plane to clear as I secure my boot and retrieve my poster again. Sigh and hobble toward baggage claim.

Realize it's taking a long time to get to baggage claim. Arrive and note the bags are already there.

Pick up my suitcase, realize my friendly white ribbon is missing, check the tag to be sure it's mine. Hobble off with carry-on, poster tube and suitcase in tow. I'm backtracking to find the taxis.

Finally make my way to the line and carefully step off the curb and into the car. Fasten seatbelt.

Glance around at the big monument and ponder whether the big dome with the figure on top is the White House or some congressional building.

11:43 and seconds AM:
See that Pennsylvania Ave. is heading toward said building and call it the White House. I think.

Acknowledge - after pausing to grimace in pain - that I probably shouldn't be an American.

Arrive at hotel. Hobble toward door. Beg for early check in saying "I fell down stairs." It sounds better than "I tripped and missed a step."

Feel smug and grateful as they find me a room. Decide I want a bed, pillows for my ankle and a shower. Then room service.

Take needs-remodeled elevator and trudge down the hall to my room. Wrinkle my nose at the temperature and look for the thermostat.

Still looking. Starting to sweat.

If I were a temperature control, where would I be?

Nearly rip off the front of the item that looks most like an air conditioner in the room. Fail.

Call front desk in defeat. Flip open part of the vent as instructed, turn air on high, go wash face. Note Bath and Body Works products in bathroom. Approve.

Sigh with relief as the room cools. Unpack my few outfits and many pajamas. Apparently I think the hotel will be like home and I will spend much of my time in sleepy clothes. Decide I'm probably right.

Can't get anyone to answer at room service. Frown because now I want crab cakes and they have them and nobody will bring me one.

Realize I have no idea where to register or what to do. Check websites and realize the conference is downstairs (good news) and should begin tomorrow morning (also OK). Resolve that I will head down tonight and see if anyone is around. If I'm not napping.

Call room service again. Order food. Eagerly await food.

Realize there is a searing pain in the top of my foot. Hope that means it is still healing, but make a note to see someone when I return home.


ScienceWoman said...

Here's a helping of southern sympathy for you. I hope the rest of your travels go very smoothly.

EA said...

Hey! You're in my neck of the woods. Welcome to the east coast. :o)

EthidiumBromide said...

Sorry to hear that you cannot actually enjoy being in D.C. by doing touristy things. I will keep my eyes peeled for someone in a boot if I find myself anywhere in the city other than my apartment and the lab. :)

Anonymous said...

oh dear, so sorry for your ankle! enjoy the conference and i indulge in lots of room service! do they have a jacuzzi or hot tub you could go in? if that would help the ankle i mean...

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