This has been a trip, thus far, of exceptionally useful voluntary purchases.
kitanzi drove me down to the North Springs Station over her lunch break, and as a result, I arrived at Hartsfield far in advance of my flight. With over 3 hours to kill, I had a leisurely lunch, and then headed up to the Delta Crown Room. I’d had the fortune of lounging in this little nest of splendor a couple of times courtesy of bedlamhouse, but I really don’t fly often enough to make it worth my while to pony up for the annual fee. Recently, however, it came to my attention that you could by a one-day pass into the lounge for $25. I paid my fee, secured one of the many computer terminals they have set out for guests, and spent the next three hours in a comfortable chair, chatting on #filkhaven and greatly abusing the open bar. While it was an indulgence, they lost money on me in the end — I can drink a LOT of crown-and-coke in 3 hours, and it was a far more enjoyable place to wait than at the gate. Around 5pm, I wandered down to my gate, feeling very warm and content and ready to submit myself to 4 hours in a tin can.
The flight was slightly delayed because of a thunderstorm on the end of the runway, but we did eventually take off about 20 minutes after we were supposed to. We were flying on a packed-full Song 757; there was not an empty seat on the entire plane. I stashed the book I bought in the airport (“The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman) in the seat and began to play with the touch screen. Song Airlines (one of Delta’s subsidiaries), has little screens on the back of every seat which control the inflight entertainment. The downside is they charge for a good deal of the content, but the plus is you can actually pick what you want to see. I decided to blow five bucks and watch “Hot Fuzz”, an action-movie farce by Simon Pegg that I had been wanting to see but hadn’t gotten around to. It was well worth the cost; in fact, I’d say that the movie was better than I expected it to be. It is a spoof, but there’s a real soul to the story that the action hangs on, and Pegg manages to give his character far more dimension than the usual action hero. A who’s who of great old British actors play the various people in the village.
The movie ate half the flight, so I glanced at the other films and nothing really caught my eyes, so I started flipping through the HBO content and found a selection of stand up comedy. Spent another two dollars to watch Dane Cook’s recent HBO special Vicious Circle, because I had heard some good things about his comedy and wanted to see what he was about. Cook isn’t a traditional stand-up. He tells long, rambling stories, and the humor comes from stories and not so much from punchlines. But he has a great sensibility, and I really enjoyed it.
The comedy special actually ended just as we were making our decent into SFO, so my timing was perfect. I hadn’t checked any luggage, so I made my say straight to the rental car facility, giving calls to kitanzi and cadhla to let them know I had landed safely. I had to phone cahdla three times, because my signal kept dropping, and she was vaguely irritated because her phone, not being edible, wasn’t what she was primarily interested in at that exact moment, but she assured me that porpentine would be along shortly to take her to something that was edible.
I got to the Budget counter and made my way through the line, finally getting a very helpful gentleman who very cheaply upgraded my reservation from a mid-size to a full-size car. While he was doing this, I spotted and inquired about an offer on the sign. For the princely sum of $11, he rented to me a magic talking box that knows where things are. Since I don’t actually know this town all that well, I thought this was an amazing deal!
Unfortunately, I had to improvise slightly, because the magic talking box insisted that the Bay Bridge was a good route to get to Concord. Normally, it would be right, but the Bay Bridge is closed, and as a result, detours must be taken. I drove south to the San Mateo Bridge and made my way across to the East Bay. This really didn’t seem like such a huge distance out of the way, but then again, I live in Atlanta, where everything is at least 45 minutes from wherever you are. It’s a quantum thing. Anyway, I get across, and then tell the magic box that I want to go to cadhla‘s house. “No problem, boss” it said, and promptly set a course, which I followed faithfully. This led me down onto surface streets and then barreling through the dark in my rented car on Crow Canyon Road. I imagine this is a very pretty drive during the day, but at night, the main thing your’re struck by is the image on the GPS which shows you, and the road…..and nothing else. If you’ve ever wondered where precisely the middle of nowhere is, about halfway down Crow Canyon Road may very well be the spot.
Surrealism aside, however, it proved to be a fine route, and I eventually found myself parked outside of cadhla‘s house. Since she had asked me to phone her when I was near, I dutifully called.
She came and let me in, and we chatted briefly, but everyone was utterly exhausted and I found I wasn’t remotely hungry, so I left her to her sleep, and drove to the Economy Inn 3 blocks from her house. Stopped long enough to set up the laptop and find out if there was Internet (There is..thank you MetroFi), said hi to a couple of people, and then set up my CPAP and surrendered the day.