wednesday was solely a travel day and a long one, at that. we left the house around 09:15, dropped a crying zen off at the boarding kennel, and headed to oakland. i expected the freeways to be quite congested, but they weren’t, so we were all checked in and ready to go well over an hour before our flight’s departure. the layover was in phoenix, which is a dull little airport, but at least it had medicine that settled my stomach. the trip from phoenix to detroit was really miserable. first of all, we got america west “snack boxes” which consisted of frozen chicken mcnuggets on a bed of wilted sprouts, cold honey mustard dipping-sauce, a miniscule dollop of dill-heavy potato salad, six red grapes (five of which were worm-ridden), and a metric ton of vanilla wafers, presumably to cut the chicken’s aftertaste, which was suspiciously reminiscent of rubbing alcohol.
horrendous food aside, mister decibel sat directly behind us. he started talking – nay, shouting – about a half-hour into the flight, and never shut up. to top it off, he didn’t really say anything interesting. i drifted in and out (mostly out) of sleep, knitted, read some more of the third volume of tad williams’ otherland, and tried very hard to tune out mister decibel, who near the end of the five-hour flight proclaimed his born-again christian status. i tried not to nod and mumble, “ah, that explains a lot,” but failed miserably.
so then we were ten seconds from touchdown, the very tips of the nubs of the tread of the wheels of the landing gear grazing the tarmac, and all of a sudden the plane … takes off again. like the pilot had just slammed on the gas pedal – um, if there was a gas pedal in that behemoth, you know what i mean though – and it was terrifying. we found out a few seconds later, while hyperventilating, that another airplane was just sitting there, on the runway, right in our path, and we had to “relaunch” and circle around again in order to keep from crashing right into it. lovely. welcome to detroit fuckin’ metro: make sure you don’t die on the way down.
we finally did land properly and retrieved our baggage without incident. it was just about 23:00 local time and we waited for another hour until dad and melissa showed up. they had been waiting for an hour at the wrong gate on the wrong concourse, even. regardless, it was great to see them. i’ve missed my family so much. we piled everything into their van and headed to gramma’s (but stopped for mcdonald’s on the way, making a chad very happy). there wasn’t much visiting before everyone started to get sleepy, although chad and i kept each other up laughing for a while before trying to sleep on the lumpy back bed. ugh.
fifty-eight years of lumps aside, the bed served its purpose: we slept for twelve straight hours. near-death airplane experiences will do that to you, i guess. when we finally got up to greet thanksgiving day, the detroit lions were already kicking new england patriot butt all over the pontiac silverdome, and various family members were wandering around gramma’s, mumbling about dinner … (to be continued)