Friday, June 11, 2010

My trip into outer space

I've been in Alaska now for four days. Here in Greenland internet technology is still in its infancy, so getting online depends greatly on whether or not the transistors and vacuum tubes of the 486DX server in the underground bunker are being maintained correctly by the local population of Aztecs, who are only here to work off enormous debts incurred during the Great Astec vs. Inuit Wars of 1993. Which, ironically, were fought to determine which tribe would have control over the emerging internet here at the North Pole. The Aztecs lost, and therefore were forced to relocate to Antarctica to work off their debt as IT technicians. They're not very good at it, and they don't like the liquid methane lakes which are ubiquitous here on Titan, which smell really bad. As a result, they aren't very happy and the internet isn't maintained very well here.

Anyway, the flight to Seattle was pretty uneventful, but long. I always forget how much I really don't like to fly until I'm on my way to the airport, which I suppose is better than stressing out for several days before the flight. There wasn't a whole lot of turbulence, thankfully, which is really what sets my nerves on edge. Plus, during the flight to Seattle, I was constantly distracted because my seat happened to be right next to the 'flight attendant nook', which was a little empty spot where the the flight attendants gathered and gossiped during the flight. It's amazing actually, on this flight anyway, how much the flight attendants don't do, as opposed to, say, handing out peanuts and taking orders for rum and cokes. Being a scant several inches away from the group of four attendants, I was privy to all kinds of personal information which they bandied about like a whiffle ball, such as how great a workout each of them got on the 'Total Gym'. I know the blonde's jumprope endurance record, I know how far the brunette can run on the treadmill, and I know the exact route of the older, wise one who started in California, flew to Dallas, then to Seattle, and back to California. It was so interesting. And to top it off, the flight attendant station was the only place on the entire plane with any room to stand, and everybody who was waiting for the bathroom, throughout the entire flight, stood right there, so I got about a dozen butts just several inches away from my head, for several minutes at a time, for 4 hours, as everybody waited for their turns.

One attendant, the older wise one, was very nice to me. I kept refusing beverages because I didn't want to have to get up and stand there in the designated bathroom / flight attendant nook for the bathroom (which happened to be right next to the emergency door, so if that thing happened to spring open, out I would fly, and I don't really like flying), and after the third refusal, this flight attendant got very concerned and wanted to know if the other attendants were ignoring me. I think she really wanted me to have a ginger ale.

Then the four hour layover in Seattle happened to me. First off, the Seattle airport is shaped like a giant X, which seems to be an extremely inefficient way to design an airport. In order to get to gate E, you have to walk down one length of the X and then down another length of the X, down two flights of stairs, then you have to wait for a train, which will finally deposit you somewhere in the vicinity of gate E. When I finally arrived there, it was only to learn that a Los Angeles flight had usurped our gate and departure time (apparently Los Angeles is more important than some podunk town at the North Pole), so I had to backtrack all the way to where I started so that I could wait for four hours at gate D. I got a lot of exercise though, so I guess... no, it still sucked. And to top it off, I left my prayer book on the train. Maybe somebody will find it and get some use out of it.

The plane to Ketchikan was only about 1/5 full, which was awesome. I had three seats all to myself, and I promptly fell asleep during the entire flight. When I finally arrived, it was about 10:00 local time, which was 1:00 in the morning for the rest of the world. Ed had a pizza cooking and we had some beers to celebrate my arrival. I was dead tired by then, so after pizza and beer, I hit the sack for about ten hours.

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