Monday, March 2, 2009

Smokin' a cig with a Sam Elliot look-alike at Frankfurt Airport

I'm typing this on OO Writer at the Frankfurt Airport. I arrived here at 5:30 in the morning, and my flight to Zagreb is not until 9:30, so I had some extra time to open my laptop and appear technologically savvy. “Oh my, he has his laptop open at the airport. He must have some very important business to attend to”, the passersby wonder. What I don't have more of is money, though, and web access is expensive, so I'll transfer it later (which, for those of you reading, is now, or maybe even years before).

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!

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