Web Log Entry #0007, Monday, November 18, 2002: Day 0
Anchorage Sunrise: 9:12am Sunset: 4:15pm High Temp: 34° Low Temp: 23°
What a day! I woke up at 4:00am to be ready to head to the airport at 4:30 (dutifully there two full hours in advance of departure). And boy, a good thing I was so early, because there was NOBODY in line at the ticket counter and I had to wait behind ONE person at security, putting me at the gate around 5:15, leaving a scant 90 minutes to spare! Okay, I admit that I hate cutting things close, and if I had slept in an extra hour, there probably would have been a line, and I would have been REALLY STRESSED, and it would be bad. Better to sit for an hour and a half.
I was able to observe my fellow passengers, particularly the business travelers. They move singly, or flock in small clusters, wheeling their carry-on with a small computer case strapped on top. A mix of business-suit and business-casual plumage is seen, typical of the Northwest. I had chosen to carry my soft-side canvas bag, and felt out of place without my rolling carry-on. Apparently I blended in just fine, as nobody avoided me like they usually do.
The first leg was a 39-person plane to Sea-Tac. I admit, I consider any plane that carries less than 100 people to be "little," and I don't like little planes. Or rollercoasters. For the same reasons. Fortunately, the air was mostly smooth and the flight is short, so I was soon on the ground again, waiting for another plane.
I learned some important things on the flight to Anchorage. The plane was PACKED. I was the smallest person in the row, sitting between two other guys, so there wasn't much maneuvering room. Thinking I was clever, I had tucked my water bottle into the magazine pouch in front of me. When I wanted to refill my cup, I realized a mistake: the bottle was UNDER the tray, and I couldn't remove it without clearing the tray and folding it up. So I do the awkward dance to raise the tray without elbowing my neighbors. I retrieve the bottle. I open it, refill my cup, close the bottle, tuck it by my feet, and in bringing my hands back up, somehow hook the edge of the cup, instantly pouring the contents directly into my lap.
Here's what I learned: NEVER DO THIS! You might think a long flight in cramped conditions would be livened up by six ounces of cold water down your pants, but it's not! Try it for yourself if you doubt me, but here's what I did:
First, I jump and say a Bad Word. Then stick my hand between my legs in a manner not usually acceptable during a crowded long-distance flight. My aisle-side neighbor nicely helped gather some napkins, but they have the absorbency of a business card. I realize that the water has been rather promptly absorbed by the seat, but mostly by my pants. I consider not even trying, but I imagine what my seat-mates would think. "That's odd. He seems to LIKE his pants soaking wet." The massed napkins absorb maybe a tablespoon's worth. I consider waiting in line for the lavatory to get paper towels, but can't bear the thought of standing in the aisle with wet pants in front of 180 other passengers.
In times of stress, we fall back on what we know. I chose to avoid possible embarrassment, and hope that the situation corrects itself. I settle in for a long, damp nap. My pants do become mostly dry by landing, but I promptly put on my coat when I stand up. I'm thankful I wore black. If anyone notices, they don't say anything (to me).
The rest of the day was uneventful. I collected my bags, signed for the rental car, and walked out of the airport. The air is noticeably colder, a sensation not helped by lingering dampness. I find the car, successfully drive to the client site, and meet up with Jim. He gives me the intro to the client and the project I'll be working on. After a couple hours, my brain refuses to accept any more information. I head for the hotel, check in, have a quick dinner and go to sleep. I have arrived.
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© 2002 Evan M. Nichols