lights from the ground
Saturday, July 14 2012
location: airplane over the United States
It's impossible to sleep comfortably in coach on a modern passenger jet, though at least this time I had the window to potentially lean against. I could tell the ambien had kicked in when the issue of the New Yorker in my lap dropped to the floor and I was too unconcerned to retrieve it. (Uncharacteristically, I'd been reading a work of fiction, but only, as Gretchen was amused to note, because it carried the title "My Internet.")
At some point I woke up and the airplane was somewhere over the midwest (I'm going to guess Wisconsin). I looked down at the glistening pearls of artificial light surrounded in inky black negative space and I marveled at their beauty. Unexpectedly, the lights seemed to dance as if waving at the tips of black vegetation. Since I cannot account for this movement any other way, I must conclude that the ambien was making me hallucinate.
These hallucinations continued as the airplane flew out over some expanse of uninterrupted blackness that must have been Lake Erie and then, several minutes later, crossed into what must have been the air space of either Ohio or Pennsylvania.
The sun never conclusively made an appearance during the entire flight, but it had just begun to brilliantly illuminate a small sector of clouds as the airplane descended into what had looked from above to be a lumpy carpet of fog but what turned out to be a widespread rain storm.
We'd landed in Philadelphia, but of course Gretchen and I needed to be in Albany, and to take the requisite prop plane to get there we needed to take the shuttle to Terminal F. The shuttle played a pre-recorded message as it took us there and in this message was an apology about the state of Terminal F. It definitely had the run-down look of an airport in Guatemala, but it was only when Gretchen tried to refill her water bottle that she learned how shoddy its infrastructure truly was; the plumbing system produced a brownish substance that forced Gretchen to completely empty the bottle.
After I'd drunk two whole cans of complimentary bloody mary mix, our little prop plane landed in Albany. For some reason the exit from the cheapest, most distant economy parking lot forces drivers to pass very close to the front of the airport, joining all the other traffic there for other reasons. This doesn't seem like a particularly intelligent traffic design.
I drove us back home, playing crappy top-10 pop music for the final ten or so miles. Sarah the Vegan and the dogs were in the yard when we arrived. Gretchen didn't even manage to make it into the house before finding herself in the middle of what would be a long conversation with Sarah. This included the tail of an incident wherein the dogs had stayed at Andrea's house, eaten unfamiliar food, and gone diarrhea everywhere and another incident wherein Sally had fallen down the stairs and, unable to climb back up, had shit all over the basement. (There was also a meassage on our machine from a well-meaning guy who had temporarily picked up Ramona from the end of our driveway, assuming she was a stray.) Meanwhile I unloaded the car, cleaned up the yard's accumulated dog shit (most of which was completely desiccated) and watered the garden. A drought had settled upon the Hudson Valley during our time away and a large fraction of the grass had turned brown. Sarah had watered the garden twice and it was looking pretty good, though she hadn't really noticed all the bounty within it, including the many big juicy red tomatoes. Instead she'd gone to the store and bought tomatoes.
Sarah had made us food, including hummus and tabuli [REDACTED], though I was still full from all that Indian food I'd eaten fifteen hours before. Mostly all Gretchen and I wanted to do was sleep[REDACTED].
Landing in Philadelphia this morning.
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