23 June 2007

22Fri - on my way to Oregon. 1st of a series of self-indulgent blog entries

Well, this is very exciting. the plane is striving for its cruising altitude and I'm well and truly on my way to Oregon. It's roughly at this point when I begin to have doubts and wonder if, when I get to the reception, I will have forgotten something key and I'll be cast out into (this being the Pacific Northwest) the rain. Then I'll have several days to do with as I will, I suppose.
Thoughts run rampant as the plane banks and shimmies. I look out the window and see the countryside as a pleasing patchwork of shapes and shades of browns and greens. It calls to mind the complexity and variations of an Andreas Gursky photograph. And as we turn so that the sun is more or less in my eyes I'm reminded of the other day when I saw a young-tough wannabe walking up Roswood with the sun shining in his eyes. He held his hand up to shade his eyes, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he wore what appeared to be a perfectly serviceable baseball cap with the bill facing backwards. Does he know that, properly angled, that bill could do just as good a job, if not better, as his palm? But as I consider how many clothes I'm taking with me, I realize I have no business making fun of someone else's preference for fashion over logic.
I'm astonished and gratified at how quickly the mother in 9B (to my 10A) has quieted her child who suddenly began shrieking in such a way that threatened to awake the timpanist in my head. While on a different day I might have been more wary of its abrupt silence, today I'm just glad of it. And besides, it appears to be moving again.

After the plane's descent, and the sudden and totally unexpected sensation of the upper left side of my face both imploding and expanding at the same time, I purchased some sinus pressure medication at Leigh's suggestion. At my own suggestion I purchased a pair of socks at a Brooks Brothers I was surprised to find in the Houston airport. While the purchase didn't immediately soothe my still sore sinus I suspect that, in the long run, I'll feel better about the whole thing.

I got to hear someone speak of Columbia from the point of view a visitor. The person two seats down from me had just been taking classes at the National Advocacy Center and was discussing how he kind of liked Columbia. Quite likely not knowing what he was getting into, the man on my right asked something I vaguely remember as innocuous which seemed to pull and break the string on the Chatty Cathy that guy turned out to be. It amused me to watch the reluctant audience of this soliloquy and how his body language changed from accepting to facing straight ahead to playing and tugging at the hair on his forearm while occassionally sighing. Whether the message was received or he'd grown dizzy from his efforts, talky guy quieted down and pretty much stayed that way.
Meanwhile, and I don't remember when it started, the view outside grew more and more fascinating. Cloud formations always entertain me at this height with their variations and their resemblance to terran topography. I like imagining that I'm flying low over Antarctic terrain. Then, suddenly, we passed mountains and there were these magnificent, rocky plains with what must've been gargantuan canals gouged out of them. More mountains with rivulets flowing down them that may or may not have been roads. More craggy plains and a peculiar expanse of what seemed like silt left over from a flood. Its smoothness confused and, out of nowhere it seemed, a mighty highway erupted from these flats and charged off towards the horizon in an impressively straight line. Clouds, sedate mountain ranges, scarred valleys.Then suddenly a sharp, snow-dappled peak that punctured and split a tumultuous carpet of clouds with an almost Japanese grace.


I'd reserved an economy car from Alamo (a Chevy Aveo) and was told to go out to the lot and choose which one I wanted from spaces C10 and C11. Oddly, the spaces seemed to go from C9 to D and when a man who worked there parked a Prius I asked him where C10 and 11 were. He looked at me flatly and gestured towards the Prius he'd just exited. "You laihk? You tehk it." I said that I was supposed to get an economy, not a compact. By this time another Alamo employee had joined him and leaned against a pearl Dodge Magnum. "You choosss phdum deez." he said, gesturing to two Priuses and something else kind of wagon-ny and the first guy repeated "You laihk? You tehk it." I warily put my bags in the back of a silver Prius and watched their expressions carefully as I pulled out, waiting for an explosion of laughter but saw only their heads swivel to follow my departure. The man who took my ticket and lifted the gate seemed to have no problem with my being in that particular car, even after he checked something on his computer, so off I went. Thank god for my experience with Leigh's Prius since it's just different enough to confound someone unfamiliar with its layout.

Changed my mind about driving to the coast tonight. By the time I'd get back to the hotel my body would think it's 4 in the morning and I should get my rest. Drove straight to McMinnville while listening to the Magnetic Fields CD that Matt made me. Called Leigh when I walked in the room, then let her go back to sleep. Put up all my clothes. Found a number of love notes that Leigh had hidden among my things (read a few, saved a few) and now I'm off to bed.

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