Brain droppings

On the road for another media convention. Here are the random bits and bites that have given me pause over the past couple days:

– With my brain clearly on autopilot, I managed to forget to pull my laptop out of my bag, thus setting off the “you are clearly a terrorist” red light on the scanner. Totally my fault, but then the guy did the special “wipe” thing on my laptop, which somehow came back positive for something dangerous. Given the current condition of my computer, it sure as heck wasn’t a cleaning supply chemical that set it off. In any case, this meant the Full Monty: every piece of my stuff came out, every page of my book was flipped through, every one of my candy bars was scrutinized. And then, I got the “pat down.” I think this is clearly a misnomer. I was expecting the “cop show” pat down and instead got the “altar boy” treatment. Lot of rubbing, pressing and a few utterances of “now I’ll be moving to your buttocks.” It wasn’t unprofessional, but it was not exactly how I wanted to start my day.

– Flying in to Seattle, I had a layover in Minnesota. Of course, I had 10 minute to change planes, so I did the “lunge and press” approach to getting off the plane, grabbing everything I owned and racing as far as I could up the aisle before other people got out of their seats. It’s a total dick move, and I understand this. I only try it when I’m desperate to make a connection. Otherwise, I let everyone one else off the plane first. In any case, I get off the plane, run to a monitor and scan the list, desperate to find my connection. Turns out, it’s not only at the same gate I just got out of, but it’s the SAME PLANE I JUST LEFT. When I asked the lady at the desk why I had to get off the plane if all I’m doing is turning around and getting back on the same plane, her answer was, “Well, it’s a different flight.” Uh… It’s the same plane, the same gate and I’m in the same seat. “Well, it’s a different crew and a different number,” she sniffed. “It’s different.”

– I got called to the podium for a “seating issue.” Turns out, I got moved from the window in the back to the exit row. When I got there, I was seated next to a woman who was clinically morbidly obese. She had to move the arm rest and was at least half into my seat. About five minutes before take off, a flight attendant came to her and told her that the law forbade anyone who required a belt extender from sitting in an exit row. They moved her out, which was kind of a spectacle and everyone was watching. I think it was the first time on a plane that I ever felt bad for someone other than me or a stewardess.

– I did not realize Seattle was built on the side of a mountain. The hotel is up a “steep” hill from the light rail stop. It was only three blocks and I’m in pretty good shape, but after one block, I seriously considered calling a cab and telling the driver, “Take me up to the top of the hill. Here’s $50.”

Drinking way too much for my own good. Would tell you more but it would be pointless. Sufficient to say that former students who now have expense accounts and the desire to either get back at you or honor you in some way lead to way too much liver damage for my own good.

More next week. Or when I sober up. Which ever comes first.