Whenever I have a plane delay, I am thankful to have a computer. I’m currently camped out in the Chicago airport for the second time this week, only this time I’m flying away instead of flying home. Since my flight is delayed for over two hours, I’m going to hang out with you fine people for a little while.
To say this past week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I got home from Japan only six days ago, and I spent this week teaching two classes, trying to get over a thirteen hour time difference, and buying a truck that I can’t drive. Yes, you read that correctly. Rex and I got a new truck (Chevy Silverado) to replace our decrepit Suburban, but it’s a stick shift so I can’t even drive it. Rex tried to teach me to drive his Chevy S10 in high school, but let’s just say that it didn’t go well. He claims he’s going to teach me to drive this one, so I decided to promptly leave the country instead of trying THAT again.
I may be bad at driving trucks, but I’m usually good at planning trips. I spent weeks planning and packing for my trip to Asia. I had shopping lists, to do lists, articles printed out to teach me about Asian travel, and bags that were packed and repacked and repacked again to maximize efficiency. I was ready. This trip? I packed last night, starting when I got home at 7:00 PM. On the one hand, coming off of the Asia fellowship makes me feel like I know what need for this type of trip (which streamlines the process), but at the same time I’m curious to see what vitally important thing I’ve forgotten. I’m sure there’s something.
My brain has felt like it’s been in a blender all week. I’ve been jet lagged, trying to focus on teaching, trying to remember what I learned in Japan, trying to think about Germany, and catching up with friends and family all in just a few days. It was a lot. Now I’m sitting in an airport again, wondering what’s going to fill this blog from Deutchland. I tried to find an adventure in the Grand Rapids airport to tell you about, but there was nothing. Now that I’m in Chicago, I’m trying to lie low because there are hordes of cranky people swarming the desk of a flight that just got cancelled. They look ready to punch anyone who gets in their way. One man said, “I’m going to the most important meeting of my life, and you’re cancelling this flight!?!” as if it’s this poor lady’s fault, like she got bored and started cancelling flights for kicks. I feel bad for her. Perhaps I should buy her a Starbucks. I can’t help but wonder, though – what constitutes the most important meeting of one’s life? Is it a business meeting? Is he proposing to someone? Is he buying a new house? I wanted to ask, but remember – everyone looks ready to punch. I will stay in my corner.
I got a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich to munch while I wait. I know it’s terrible for me, but I lost ten pounds in Asia. That’s what happens when you’re on a steady diet of eat-as-much-raw-seafood-as-you-can-without-puking. I need to gain some of that back because my clothes are feeling loose, and I absolutely do not have money for a new wardrobe. I think Germany will help me out with this, because they’re a country of sausages and éclairs. Yum. I will say, though – coming back to America and seeing an appetizer menu that offered fried chicken, fried cheese, fried pickles, and French fries? I wanted to say, “Dear America, THIS IS WHY WE ARE FAT.” Not that I’m ready to say “pass the sushi,” but Japan does have the highest life expectancy in the world. Maybe they’re on to something.
The flight from Grand Rapids to Chicago was relatively uneventful. The man who was next to me is on his way to Shanghai, and – full disclosure – I got a high amount of satisfaction from being able to say, “Oh, that’s great. I was just in Tokyo last week. Isn’t Asia awesome?” So we chatted about that for a while, and I felt very traveled and cultured and cool, like a nerd who suddenly got to sit at the popular kids’ table. Then we turned to the other guy in our row, a guy about my age, and we asked where he is going. “Frisco,” he said. When we asked for what, he got all elusive. “Oh, uh…it’s a…conference.”
“What type of conference?” said Mr. Shanghai.
“One for nerds.”
“Oh, what do you do there?” Mr. Shanghai either didn’t realize that this guy was trying to avoid the conversation, or he didn’t care. I’m leaning towards didn’t care. Now I was curious, though, and I didn’t even have to be the nosy one. I kept listening.
“Like, um…computer stuff. It’s pretty dumb,” responded Elusive.
“What kind of computer stuff?” Okay, now I was starting to feel bad for Elusive. Mr. Shanghai was not giving him an easy way out. If I was Elusive, I would have been very tempted to say, “Top secret government operations. Sorry, it’s classified.” Instead, Elusive muttered something about games and YouTube and internet and “it’s really not that cool,” and I started wondering what sort of crazy thing this guy was going to that was so embarrassing he couldn’t tell two strangers on a plane about it. Let me tell you – people have told me TONS of stuff on planes simply because they know they will never see me again. One guy went on and on for two hours once about his problems with his girlfriend and told me all kinds of personal stuff about her that “she would kill me if she knew I said this, but…” I was so tempted to mention at the end of the flight that I’m actually her sorority sister or something, just to see the look on his face. Looking back, I kind of wish I would have done that.
ANYway, this guy on today’s flight wouldn’t give up what kind of conference he was attending, so obviously as soon as I got to my seat here I googled what conferences are in Frisco this weekend. I think I nailed it down – he’s going to the SGC gaming conference. It’s a videogame thing where they talk about Dragonball Z and Pokemon and Super Smash Brothers and also attend something called “DEATH BATTLE! LIVE!” which has my curiosity piqued once again. Come on, Elusive. You couldn’t tell us that? You’re a gaming nerd – own it. No judgement here. We, the strangers of flight UA636, accept you just the way you are.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much else to tell you. Chicago’s people watching is meager at best. It’s only 7:56 AM, so most people are sleepy and slugging along with their Starbucks (until they realize their flight is cancelled, and then MAN do they wake up quickly). Hopefully mine continues to be only delayed. I’ve got some adventures to chase.