We know (we KNOW) that I am a picky traveller. We know that I have my routine, and I like to follow that routine. We know that I like people to follow the rules when travelling, stay in their lanes, stay in line, don't cut in line, wait their turn, keep their distance, and, good lord walk the extra two feet to walk behind me instead of cutting across the line in front of me. Just two more feet and you can walk in the GIANT SPACE BEHIND ME.
Besides that, you know what? During a pandemic, keeping one's distance is ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT.
Yeah, so, my routine at this airport is to arrive close to the C gates, head to the Starbucks, pick up a travelling drink and sandwich, then head off to my gate. The pandemic thwarts that plan a bit, in that I need to find a place to eat that is away from others, and that I want and need to keep a larger distance.
Which means, of course, every person and their brother will walk in front of me instead of behind me to cross the line. I counted this time. Zero people crossed the line in front of the guy in front of me, no one walked behind me, and everyone who crossed the line cut in front of me, even when the shortest distance was behind me. To stop the crossing, I would have needed to move closer to the people in front of me.
To my incredible frustration, my moving one step forward meant that the woman behind me would move two steps forward, closer to me each time.
Yes, Karen, you should stop moving closer to me.
I mean, aside from the dicknosing that she's doing, if she thinks the 24" distance she's standing is the 72" recommended distance between people, it's no wonder her husband thinks he has a 12" dick. [Narrator: "It's four inches."]
I had checked my bags for this flight, as I have road trip clothes and mountaineering clothes, along with the road trip food and camping items. Those were all heading to the plane's underside. With me, I had my work laptop and personal laptop and other electronics that I normally carry when I'm working remotely for months. Yes, I had two bags with me, just not the ones that I would roll on the ground, not ones I wanted even to touch the ground.
But needs must.
Glaring didn't stop the woman from creeping up on me. The bag would have to do.
Did I mention (yes, yes, I did) I like my personal space?
The flight wasn't much better, but at least my expectations were set: middle seats are open, expect to sit near someone either across the aisle or at the window seat.
The plan is arrive, gather my baggage, Lyft to the Oliphants, lunch with Claire and Matthew, hop in my car, gas up, drive to Seattle, pick up my rental gear, pick up my REI order, drive to Sedro Wooley, check into the hotel and sleep.
Mom has come out to say good-bye to me as I head off.
She isn't as goofy in this picture as I subsequently convinced her to be.
Say, did I tell you about my adventures three days before the first day of high school at a new school in a new state? I can't find that tale anywhere here, so ... just before high school, I moved from Indiana where I lived with my dad, to Arizona, where I lived with my mom. Three days before the school year starts, at a new high school for me, BJ and I are at Golfland, a water park that was still trying to figure itself out during the summer we had arrived in the state. They had slides that looped around, and two that went, well, not QUITE straight down, but not really not straight down.
These days, park goers go down the slide feet first. With enough swinging on the handholds at the top, you can swing out to some good momentum and lift off the slide on your way down. Most people are able to land gently feet first, as they have experience doing exactly that for most of their lives, landing on their feet.
That summer, however, when we were there, patrons were instructed to go down headfirst, arms straight out in front of them stiffly, don't get too much momentum, absorb the shock with your hands, but don't bend your arms.
BJ went down first. Once he had cleared the bottom of the slide, I went.
Yes, I lifted off the slide.
At 90 pounds soaking wet, lifting off the slide doesn't take much momentum.
So, at the bottom of the slide, I kept my arms straight, landed, washed out to the pool at the bottom of the slide, and looked around for B, who was already out of the pool and on his way to the line for another drop. I followed him out of the pool and started up the line behind him. On the way, my chin itched, so I wiped at it, and kept going. A red spot caught my eye so I looked down.
To see blood all down my white bathing suit.
I felt my chin, looked at my hand, it was bloody, too. B looked over at me and, oh, I hadn't kept my arms straight, I had landed on my chin. Blood wasn't exactly pouring out my face, but it wasn't exactly not flowing quickly. We went back to the lockers, called Mom to pick us up.
After Mom picked us up and dropped off B, she and I went to the emergency room for stitches on my chin. Just before me in line at the emergency room was a three year old who had been paying catch with his dad and fell, landing on his chin. He, too, needed stitches, similar to me. I was fine for the most part, until the kid started screaming in the back. My chin was still numb when I went to the back for stitches, but was nervous nonetheless.
Come Monday morning, first day of school, I had the choice of wearing a band-aid on my chin or having the stitches hang out my chin. I chose the former the first day, the latter the second day, and cut them out before the third day.
I still have the scar.
And, well, here's the place.
They're open. During a pandemic.
The day before a long trip, and I am okay. I've planned enough that everything is packed, separated into the climbing portion of the trip, and the road-tripping portion of the trip. I have a lot of stuff to be carrying, but most of it I'll be dragging. I am going to check luggage for the first time in I don't know how long.
This is okay.
My usual MO is of awake until 4am the morning of a trip, failing to sleep the night before, with anxieties and just-one-more things to do aren't happening tonight. I'm ready. I have a plan. If it doesn't work, I'll adapt. This is a data gathering trip, so there is zero chance of any failure. What's good? What's bad? Who knows? That's the beauty!
Tomorrow, I'm going to be flying, visiting friends, driving for hours, picking up gear, driving more, sleeping. The day after that, I'm going to climb a mountain.
I'm doing to try mountaineering for the first time. First step towards Vinson.