Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm back

I know I said I'd blog from Maine - but I have since then been re-acquainted with the wonders of a dial-up connection in a rural area where the only computer accessible to me is a Mac. I like Macs, in principle - just don't really know how to run them. I tried to upload one photo to photobucket over that dial-up connection, just to show folks how things went - and 20 minutes after that, I gave up and drank another cup of tea instead. Anyway, here's the short version:

Flew out of Milwaukee smoothly on Wednesday night, and got to Logan Airport earlier than planned. Love Midwest and their onboard warm cookies, love General Mitchell Airport, love Tasha for driving me down so I didn't have to deal with the whole parking thing - HATE Logan Airport. Don missed his plane in California and didn't get to Baltimore until about 10:30 that night. Add in the travel time to Boston and the extra few hours always attributable to any venture in which Mom is involved, and you have me sitting/ laying/ freezing/ crying/ moaning/ bitching at Logan for 9 freakin' hours overnight. (If I'd known, I would have gotten a hotel. But I honestly thought it wouldn't be more than half that time.)

I asked the guy at the information booth where would be a good, quiet, safe place for me to wait for a few hours, and he sent me to the children's play area. I later pleaded with the security guard for another option, and he said that the children's play area was the only place available overnight. But the center of the children's play area is dominated by a big kinetic sculpture reminiscent of the "build a better mousetrap" game, with little balls that roll down chutes, are lifted up chain-driven elevators, bang off gongs, roll through dangling chimes, jump into baskets, ring ships' bells, and generally make a cacophony of sound at unpredictable intervals. My fellow travelers (there were 5 or 6 of us in there by the end of the night) discussed taking up a collection to either bribe the guard to pull the plug, or to bail one of us out after we broke into the glass enclosure and did it ourselves - but somehow that never happened.

Instead, the lucky ones slept on cold steel benches under big yellow signs that read "Please, no sleeping. Play area." The rest of us were left trying to sleep across the black vinyl seats with immovable arms placed every butt-width, which left us with about a 4" wide strip of unencumbered sleeping area broken up by cold steel ridges of chair edge. And Logan seems to have a set temperature, which is somewhat comfortable when you have 20,000 or so people in the airport but which drops down so low overnight as to present a very real danger of hypothermia.

All in all, it was a wretched night. By the time Don & Mom finally picked me up on Thursday morning, I had (as Don put it) lost my sense of humor. But I got a little (very little) bit of sleep in the car as we headed north, and managed to let out only a restrained little "save me" when Dan greeted us with a hug in Brooksville.

But from there on out it was all good. More of the story (and more pictures) tomorrow.

P.S. Around dawn, a gentleman came in to the play area and quietly spread a prayer rug out in the far corner before pulling out his quaran and conducting a soft morning prayer service for himself. I hadn't expected muslim prayer to be so musical and soothing, and noticed that he turned the pages of his text from left to right like a Jewish scripture book. I think we're still in the holy month of Rammadan, which might have inspired an extra-long prayer; but he was busy for quite some time. It didn't occur to me until much later that some travelers might have been disconcerted to witness this kind of muslim piety in Logan Airport, where some of the 9/11 hijackers boarded their planes a little over 7 years ago. And then I had to have an argument in my head for a bit about freedom of religion vs. mass hysterical discrimination . . .

No comments: