The past few days have been my typical pre-travel arrangements. I usually make a point of seeing most people I keep in contact with in the span of a few days, which means multiple lunches, lots of expensive coffee talk, and general bullshitting while I put off important things like time with my family and packing. On Thursday, I met up with former roommates David and Eric (who is now a showbiz bigwig with the customary “I'm culturally significant” goatee) to travel down to Champaign and see some folks for the last time. While I usually enjoy trips down to campus, I found that I have passed some invisible marker of aging, because I couldn't keep up with their party habits and now found the timeline of DRINK->SMOKE->DRINK->VOM->SLOPPY MAKEOUT->JIMMY JOHN'S #12 @ 2:55AM->PASS OUT IN CLOTHES to be tedious and alienating. I'm not sure if it was the hangover or the atmosphere, but I am no longer as welcome in the confines of the Alma Mater.
Sunday morning was me at my finest. My dad's 55th birthday was the night before, and I committed the cardinal sin of Russian birthdays, which is to leave before the cake arrives. A non-native can be excused for this, because they are usually unaware that while the party starts at 8 in the evening, the cake never arrives before midnight. Then, DRINK->SMOKE->DRINK->DRIVE WHILE DRINKING->PASS OUT IN BURGUNDY TURTLENECK AND WHITE SHOES. I had to get home early to hang out with Jen before I left, so I was yelled at over loud music by my grandmother. I got up early to start packing, but found myself to be inundated by many small tasks, so it took a lot longer than usual. As a result, we were late to the friend-breakfast at the Deluxe Diner. I am lucky to have friends like the folks who could meet me for biscuits & gravy on a snowy Sunday after pulling all-nighter shifts. I love every one of you, whether you like it or not.
So, a quick story about my flight before compy dies and I leave this to another day:
My naiveté in the art and science of flying springs not from my inexperience; I have been lucky to have traveled a fair amount at this age. Yet I keep repeating my mistakes, and occasionally I suffer the consequences. Jen dropped me off in an emotional goodbye (cue sappy “I'm missing you already” ambiance) and I got to the check-in counter. Now, I knew my bag was heavy, but the airport scale read over 70 pounds. I found out from a nice lady at the counter that bags over 50 pounds were an extra $150 to check in, and MY bag would have to be checked in as freight, which would cost me a gilded testicle. I stuffed my carry-on with some books and shirts, which got the bag to just under 70, but I'd still have to shell out the Franklin & Fillmore (can you tell I have nothing to reference who's on the $50?) for the duffel bag with wheels. It was then, as I was bent over and shoveling my wardrobe into an already-full backpack, that a guardian angel in a navy blue vest whispered celestially into my ear, “Y'know, you kin just buy a box fer $10 and check that in as a bag.” O Hosanna, I am saved! She brought a box over and I packed it with relative nonessentials in case it was sacrificially burnt to honor St. Fuselage, the Patron Saint of baggage handlers. I ended up not even getting charged for the box!I'm buying a second bag in Croatia so I don't have to go through this again, but I can't trust myself to learn from mistakes.
There seem to be a lot of words here, so I don't want to set your expectations too high and tell you that most of the following posts will probably not be as long as this one. Maybe. But probably not. Tschuss!