Yep, my travel karma is back. I need to have Claire chuck it out the window again so that I can start over with naked travel karma.
I poorly timed calling for a car to the airport. Instead of taking the 10 minutes I was expecting, it took 30 minutes for the driver to arrive. Coupled with his distractedly driving and his slow speeds, I arrived at the airport 20 minutes before boarding began. TSA was surprisingly efficient with the opt-out "assist," the woman was available to walk me to the back before my luggage had made it through the x-ray machine. One of these days, I'm going to put a bunch of embarrassing things in my suitcase, just the embarrassing things, overfilled, just to watch the x-ray watcher's reactions.
The pat-down was a pat-down, nothing special, no particular gropings or assaults. I was through as the flight started boarding and by the time I managed to walk to the far gate, the B group was already on the plane. So much for early-bird check-in. I stuck my bag in the first available overhead bin, and set my ass down in the first middle seat that has two skinny people at the window and aisle. One particular woman glared at me as I walked down the aisle, and had a bunch of stuff piled in the middle seat, so when the flight attendant told a following passenger to sit in the seat next to her, I have to admit to experiencing a bit of epicaricacy. Not that she was particularly harmed or misfortuned per se.
The flight left on time, arrived early. Yay for that, short flight in the middle seat. Getting off the plane was an ordeal, one that I think is common and that I will never understand. If you are going to take a long time to get off the plane, and you are at the front of the plane, why don't you wait until people have exited the plane before you get up to leave? If your luggage is going to take you 60 seconds to get down from the overhead bin, and there are 120 people behind you, you have just caused 2 hours of wasted time. Had you bothered to wait for 60 of those people to go by, and a break in the crowd happens, you can jump up and get your bag at that point. WHY WOULD YOU NOT WAIT? I totally wait. I get out of the way of the people behind me, and as the opportunities arise, I move as low-impact on the flow as I can.
This is a situation that Kris tells me I think more holistically than most people do. So I'm inconvenienced for 30 seconds, so what if the overall efficiency is increased by 2 hours. How is that not a win? Most people don't think that way, they just say "ME ME ME ME ME," and yes, I am that way, too. Which may just be the reason why U.S. sucks sometimes, we have more of the "me me me" and less of the "we we we."
My connecting flight out of Vegas was delayed. What I found most interesting about the delay was the lack of any communication around it. The flight was delayed, no reason was given. The plane was at the gate, we just weren't getting on. They kept announcing "We're in an oversold situation. We need two people to volunteer to fly to Milwaukee tomorrow." As near as I can tell, no one was getting on the plane until two people volunteered.
Eventually we did board the plane. Despite being A56, my favorite seat was available, so I was happy for that. As was my bladder, with the four trips to lavatory that happened on that three hour flight. WHY I think drinking anything on a flight is a good idea, I will never know.
Upon arriving at the Milwaukee airport, I looked up my hotel reservation. While it was technically the second of October when I arrived, my reservation was actually for 3pm on the second, not 12:15 am on the second. Sigh. Totally my fault on that one.
A generous laugh at my mistake, an opportunity for "Oh, how fantastic!", a quick call, and a few minutes later, I was in a car on my way to the hotel, with an extra day on my reservation.
Of note, my Lyft driver, Geoffrey (cool guy, had a great conversation with him), commented that, "90% of women will get in the back seat, 90% of guys will get in the front."
I am never sitting in the back seat of a Lyft car again.
Okay, another book of Mom's. I feel this is one of those "classic" books I should have already read already, along with some Lovecraft (check) and Dostoyevsky (check). So, through this slog of a month (holy moly, barely any books this month, and yet I am right on schedule with my original goal of one book a week - goals are weird sometimes), I finished this one just as the month was ending.
Holy crap, the ending of this book.
This book is worth reading for the ending alone.
The book, aptly titled, is about a spy who came in from the cold, which is to say, he'd been a spy in the post World War II, East vs West Berlin, Cold War not-quite-around era. A large part of the spy's network had been killed off, with the protagonist, Alec Leamas witnessing the death at the beginning of the book of his last spy, who almost got out of East Berlin.
So, for Alec to retire, he needed to do one more job, one more before he could come home, a final clean up job. It meant defecting, so he did. In the process he fell in love.
Such things never end well in the spy world.
There were many references to George Smiley, which I vaguely recall as the hero in a series of spy books that a high school classmate of mine really liked and devoured. I suspect, as a result, that this is an offshoot of that series, tangential to the series, maybe a wrap up.
I enjoyed the book, as far as spies doing spy things and the uncomfortable secrecy and the people being cruel to people sort of things involved in those spy things can go. If spy thrillers are your thing, and you haven't already read a bunch, this is a good one to start with.
But that ending. Wow.
I don't have a slow connection normally. When I travel, I do. If this is your website for 20 seconds, I am neither staying on your site nor coming back to view it.
Just a note. performance matters.
Oh, good lord, when is the list of books from my mom going to end? I swear, I've read more of her books this year than I have of mine. No, wait, that's not quite true. Feels like it, though.
And what is it with all the Harry books? Harry Dresden. Harry Potter. Harry Bosch. And now, Harry Hole.
I am not kidding on that name. The main character's name is Harry Hole. Just let me die of laughter now.
He's a detective. The plot is set in nominally Oslo. There are deaths and they are murders. At least there isn't any Mab. Or tunnels. There is a BAD COP, though, so maybe this is just a Norwegian Bosch tale. No, wait, no tunnels.
This book was a fast read. I know that Mom enjoys Nesbo's work. I also know there are Stieg Larsson comparisons. Blah blah blah. Right. Fast read, somewhat interesting. This Harry is, as just about every other Harry also is, flawed in ways that adversely affect the outcome of his life. He's an alcoholic. He obsesses. He makes mistakes. In the end, he solves the murders, and I really didn't see who-did-it coming, so there's that.
Not recommended, not not recommended. If it's on your night stand, go ahead and read it.
When in Portland earlier this month for XOXO, Jonny Gotham and I walked over to the Tao of Tea off Belmont, as I had wanted to pick up some tea sipping cups similar to the ones I had purchased at the Chinese Tea Garden years ago. When I asked recently at the Tea Garden entrance if I could forgo the Tea Garden admittance fee, as I had just wanted to make a purchase at the Tea Garden's shop, and would leave straight away, I was told no, to make that $8 purchase, I would have to buy an $10 dollar admittance ticket. Not worth it to me, and visiting the SE Belmont store was added to my "Do in Portland at some point."
While there, I did pick up my tea cups, and also some teas that I hadn't tried before, but looked interesting. One of them was a puer tea.
For the uninitiated tea drinker, exactly like myself, puer tea is fermented tea. Originally, named for the town of Puer, such teas were pressed into bricks then sent out into the world, often by horse and camel. You can imagine as this bricks of tea travelled slowly, they went over different terrains, through varying climates, and with ranging weather. Which is to say, the tea basically rotted somewhat on its journey.
But you can't stop a tea drinker, especially one who has waited for his tea. So, early drinkers of such tea from Puer embraced the flavor.
Which is to say, this dark, inky color tea tastes like shit.
I'm glad I have a small tin of it, because I really can't stand the taste. I might just compost it, since that's where something that tastes like this belongs.