Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Donut Wallah or the Trip Begins
Up at 3:45 I packed the truck with 6 suitcases averaging 47 pounds each, 2 moving boxes tied with Dilip’s special knots and filled with gifts and wedding stuff, 3 carry on suitcases, 4 backpacks and 4 x 2.5 lb trays of Costco baklava Jackson had wrapped up in a bag and tied off with para cord to make a sort of hammock style carrier. Luckily I still have my gold status with American so we got to shortcut a few lines along the way. The lady next to us was shipping either a small camel or a large dog in a kennel big enough to park a motorcycle. The old man in front of me turned to the old lady with him and said ‘I can’t believe she is putting her kid in there’ to which she responded with a medium length tirade about how unsafe and scary that would be for the kid. I think I understood them to be siblings and from the deadpan delivery I guessed this was not the first time the brother had wound up the sis, either she was playing along perfectly or was very dense and he never delivered the punch line.
A bit of breakfast in the terminal and then the 6:45 flight to Chicago was very unremarkable. TinaB had been working nearly round the clock for the last 2 weeks to get all her paperwork in for school and the night before we left she worked the whole night through. She passed out for the vast majority of the flight. The kids were tired and did sleep some but were so jacked with adrenaline that it took a while before they zonked out. I never sleep on planes. It’s a curse to be both tall and unable to turn off one’s brain in the necessary way to suspend disbelief that somehow 2 small engines can produce enough force to keep driving this huge machine full of meat and gear through the air. I have always believed that it is my will alone keeping us flying and so to sleep would be totally irresponsible. This of course does not bode well for the long flight coming up.
Knowing we would be in Chicago for 8 hours, the AA Admiral’s Club (link) was an easy decision so we could have some quiet and a little more comfortable place to recline. A few annoying guys on phones but mostly quiet and we had fun playing board games and eating. T had our Christmas cards done so we put together an assembly line to stuff, address, stamp and seal them to be sent from the little mailbox dropbox in the terminal. During the morning me and the kids wandered up to the food court to get coffee and donuts at the Dunkin shop. The guy behind the counter was a Patel and had this little sing song Gujarati/English thing going where he would confirm your order and try to upsell everything. He sang us a song that ended with me getting a free glazed in the bag with a wink and the wobbly head (link, link = about the 11 second mark you'll see 2 of them going together) that means…well….something or nothing, definitely that or maybe.
India for me started at the gate to board the plane, I had several people smelling like body odor and odd spice mixes start the kind of vague pushing and personal-space-crowding in line that I keep telling myself isn’t rude, just Indian.