Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, November 20, 2015

Prologue - Act One

So, I'd done lots of things to get prepared for the trip, but I had lots of little things to do beforehand, everything from taking the trash out, returning a library CD, and doing a libation to the Gods for safe travel, but knew I needed some sleep. So I went to bed at 8 pm Wednesday night, determined to get up at 1:30 so I'd have a couple of hours to do everything I needed before I'd normally be up. And it worked. I didn't sleep well, as I was worried I wouldn't get up in time, but I actually got all the plants watered and the rest of my list at home completed, left a little earlier than what Google told me to so I could return the CD, get gas, put a cheque in the bank--that sort of thing. While at the gas station getting gas for $1.93 in Lexington per gallon (It's $2.69 or so here), I got a drink and a blueberry cheese danish sort of thing. Not ideal, but I didn't want something heavy, and it was cheap, and I'm trying to go as cheaply as possible. Then I drove around a good portion of the city (I live on the opposite end of town from the airport), parked in oeconomy parking, and went through security. I'd checked in using the Delta mobile application, and so spent the day scanning my phone rather than a piece of paper, which was convenient, but, I had to have my phone out an awful lot, and it was hard to juggle. I may just check in tomorrow the old-fashioned way, particularly as I have something to hold the ID and boarding pass to make it easier to keep up with.

It's always a joy to be behind me at a TSA checkpoint, as I have to take out liquids, CPAP, laptop, take off my shoes, and load my various bags (I had three, as one didn't count as it was medical supplies only). When I went through the body scanner, I guess they couldn't see my lower left arm well in the image, because they patted down just that lower arm. Weird. I gathered my stuff, put my shoes back on, and went to the gate, where I gate-checked my rolling bag for free when they requested volunteers. I noticed many people were not volunteering. It's a small plane, and I like gate-checking, although I didn't realise they would check it on to my final destination, and my liquids and other minor conveniences were in there, so I spent the day without a comb, eye rewetting drops, or lip balm, for example, something I'll keep in mind tomorrow when I pack.

The flight was pleasant and went off without a hitch. It was very dark, as they fly with the cabin lights down and no one really turned on their own personal lights. We arrived in Atlanta about the time the sun finally got up. I had a soda and a cookie packet there in the dark. Once we disembarked, I grabbed a drink and some pretzels and went to the next concourse, where I had an hour and a half layover until the Chicago-bound plane left. There was a mechanical delay, but we left on time and arrived at Chicago on time. I learned that one person can charge their phone (my seatmate did) while on the flight, at least on the 717 we were on. I was in the O'Hare airport, and meant to call YKWIA to let him know I made it okay, but then got distracted redistributing things into my purse and purchasing my 1-day (24 hour) transit pass, wound up taking the train to Division, where I lugged bags up many stairs to a world of newspapers blowing everywhere, oriented myself by the sun to be heading south on Ashland, and then caught the bus to a stop right across from my hotel. I got here at noon, conveniently, as that was when I could check in, and my meeting was at 12:45 CST.

I checked in, actually was able to use the key they gave me for the elevator (I had trouble the last time I stayed at this hotel, and had had to rely on the kindness of strangers to get me to the room then). I washed my face, located my comb, used it, and called YKWIA briefly to let him know I was alive. He was concerned, and had called the hotel already. I hadn't expected it to take two hours to get from the airport gate to the hotel (quite a while, yes, but not quite that long), so I apologised for not contacting him sooner. Then, somewhat more presentable, I took just my purse, put on a light jacket (it's all about the layering, as many Chicagoans are wearing their winter coats today; I had a heavy sweater over a thinner shirt, and had been sweltering in the airports and on transit, so it felt good. But I was happy to have that little layer of jacket.

We had lunch before our meeting, and it included sandwiches with mozzarella, arugula, and roasted pepper. We had an absolutely wonderful meeting, mostly on outreach, and I had a brilliant outreach idea that wouldn't work in my present position, but I might be able to partner with someone to do. I was afraid it would fade; I wrote it all out. It would be easily fundable as well. Part of the meeting could have been webconferenced, but the participatory exercise really couldn't have been. I'm very glad I came, even though it wasn't a direct flight.

After the meeting, a few of us walked to an Italian restaurant a few blocks away called Francesca's, which was excellent. I was tempted to get the salmon, but instead went for a lentil salad and a Napoleatano pizza. None of us could do desert. We walked back. Throughout my stays here, my rock of a landmark has been the St Basil Greek Orthodox Church, which is on the corner of Ashland and Polk. The library we had our meeting at is on Polk; the hotel is at Harrison and Ashland. So it really has helped me get my bearings. A couple of years ago they were using all this scaffolding, but now it seems in much better shape. It's beautiful. [I love the varied architecture in Chicago, and not just the stuff downtown. On the way over on the train I saw an esquisite Turkish bath.]

We got back to the hotel, grabbed some complimentary hot chocolate, and I've already told you the rest. I guess tomorrow will be Act Two. Wish me luck. I've got to get up at 5 am, eat breakfast when they open at 6 am, check out, catch a bus by 6:30 to get to Midway Airport by 7:30. My plane leaves for Detroit at 9:19 am CST, on a smaller plane. Then I'll have another hour and a half layover there before arriving home sometime around 3 pm our time. Whew!

No comments: