Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Travels and Travails

One of those dreaded updates in which I veer into real life.... (Well, just for reference, the Rockies won both before and after my cross-country flight from hell, which was very considerate of them. Now, about the aforementioned flight from hell and the commencement of my sophomore year...)

So basically, everything that could go wrong on my trip back to school did so. I had to leave Colorado on a 11:55 pm flight on September 2nd in order to make it back in time for registration on September 3rd. Naturally, I got to the airport with plenty of time -- 10 pm, so I had almost two hours in which to satisfy the TSA with all the necessary bag-checking/security scanning/waiting etc. Then, for some reason, they inform me that the flight is oversold and I, of all people, have to go standby. Aside from the fact that I don't have a clue where they got that, as I have had a confirmed reservation for about two months, this freaked me out since there was no way I was able to miss the flight -- I had to get a connector in Philly and head onwards for NY, and being late or re-routing was not in the program. So I, uh, implored insistently for them to make sure I got on the plane. After the ordeal of watching everyone else with confirmed seats who had not gotten stand-by (stand-byed?) get on the plane, I was allowed to board and dashed down the jetway; I got hung up at the end of the queue but ended up in a window seat anyway.

Flight out of Denver wasn't much; just long, dark, uncomfortable since as you know there is no leg room in economy class on commercial airlines. My rear end got numb, I shifted vainly to find a feasible position, and my headphones kept fritzing out and annoying the heck out of me since only one side would play. I got to Philadelphia around 5:15 am ET, wandered around a largely deserted suburban airport, killed time, ate an unremarkable sandwich, and finally boarded my connector to New York, a small (and noisy) turboprop jet, but even this was not free of drama; for some reason, my boarding pass apparently showed that I hadn't paid for the ticket (WTF?) and while desperately convincing the airport attendant that I wasn't a crook or a terrorist so she would let me stay on the plane, she took my Frontier claim checks to prove that I had had another boarding pass (and, presumably, a paid ticket). When this snafu was over, we were finally on our way to LaGuardia. The damn turboprop was so loud that I couldn't hear myself think, and the only good thing about this flight was that it was short and we were soon descending into New York. I got off the plane normally, headed for the baggage claim, and of course, my luggage had failed to make the trip with me. Seeing as it was the first time this had happened to me, combined with everything else, I was on the hairy edge of freaking out and paced back and forth by the carrousel muttering obscenities as it failed, and failed, and failed to appear.

Once I had determined that my bags had in fact pulled a vanishing act on me, I managed to control my panic and get to the baggage service office, conveniently located right alongside the carrousels for flustered travelers such as myself. One of my bags miraculously turned up in the hold area, so I just had to go through the teeth-pulling business of filing a missing-bag report minus a claim check. Fortunately, the guy at LaGuardia was really helpful and promised to get my bag delivered once it turned up. White slip in hand, I sallied forth to the bus stop, waited for a while since I'd missed the bus I was originally scheduled for, and then departed for Grand Central. At least, this was the plan, and we spent a while caught in airport deadlock before actually moving. Nothing, at least, went wrong here, and I headed into the terminal, checked the schedule like a New Yorker without needing to ask when the next train to Bronxville was, and wasted some time until it departed at 11:23 am.

When I got there, I hauled my assorted heavy bags up a hill, in the hot sunshine, to school and arrived very tired and ready to just sit down for a while. I had to go through registration, get my packets, room keys, meal plans, etc. Then, with all my stuff safely sequestered in my new room (a single, loads of character, more on that in a minute) I headed back out across campus to find my friends. I was able to fall into their arms for big hugs and bitch about my bad flight, which was very nice; I was so happy to see them. I ran to Bronxville and bought some things, spent about freaking $100, and was able to finish (mostly) unpacking, before crashing around 11 pm; I looked at the clock, thought, "Oh wow, I haven't slept in 36 hours," and fell into bed.

I was woken up around 7:30 by my cell phone ringing, missed it the first time, thought it was the room phone, and was just about to go back to bed when it rang again. I answered, very sleepily, and was informed by SLC security that I had a cab waiting. When I expressed ignorance as to why a cab would be there, he amended that it was a suitcase delivery, and I almost fainted in relief. I scuttled down the twisty spiral staircase of my new dorm in pajamas and flip-flops, waited outside for the delivery, and then hauled it back UP aforementioned twisty spiral staircase. I yanked the extra pillow out of it and went back to bed, slept for another two hours, and when my alarm went off at 9:30, I first reset it and then decided that my fabulous day of faculty interviews could hang on for a bit; I was so sleepy that I just lay in bed and dozed for a while as another beautiful day matriculated outside. Once I was done regaining my senses, I rolled out, got dressed, and headed off to get my course schedule approved and in order.

At SLC, you interview professors before signing up for their courses, so naturally I spent the last leg of my 36 hours without sleep picking out all my courses and writing down all the pertinent information. My schedule, if I get what I want, is: Narrative Neuropsychology (a fascinating-looking psych course) The Legitimacy of Modernity (a political science lecture course) and a fiction workshop, which, of course, is the reason I am at SLC in the first place. Hopefully I get them all, as students are placed into at least one of their first choices and sometimes have to settle for alternates if all the spaces in their desired classes are full. I need the lecture course for requirements, so I'll probably get it, and I asked the psychology professor to place me on the priority list, so I'm guessing I get two. Hopefully. I'm excited and look forward to resuming my studies. Yes, I am weird like that.

My new room is also excellent. Apart from being located at the top of a staircase that would do some old Victorian proud (very steep, very twisty) it has wood floors, slanted roofs, a four-paneled bay window that I can sit in, and strange angles. I have papered the walls with all my Rockies photos, pennants, tickets, and cards, and since I am the only one in the room and don't have to contend with roommates (hurrah!) I am free to go to town with my fanaticism and I did. I'll probably take pictures eventually, as I have a mother and several friends asking to see where exactly I am living for the next year. There is a large Rockies sticker and this photo on the door, and inside is equally plastered with assorted purple, black, and silver tokens of my love. What the hell. At least the boys considerately won for me yesterday, kicking Matt Cain's ass in the process (always satisfying) which I needed after the hijinks of my travel arrangements.

Now that my suitcase is home and all I need to do is trust the post office to safely convey my boxes to me (I shipped them parcel post a week ago, and weekends/Labor Day/post office transfers will take extra time, so I'm not too worried) I'm really happy to be back at SLC in all my places and spaces, with my friends and my interests, ready to get back into classwork and get a few part-time jobs to supplement my always unfortunately-dwindling income. In addition to designing posters for College Events, I'll most likely get a job at the Bronxville Starbucks (I heard that if you have experience, they hire you, and I'm already trained and whatnot). Future reaffirmed, sophomore year begun, excitement high, here we go, and return you to your regularly scheduled Rockies blogging. Thank you.


Clutz B said...

I saw your blog because I live in Bronxville and have a "Bronxville" blog tag on Google. I go to Starbucks a lot. It seems most SLC students go to Slave to the Grind, the noncorporate coffee house. My wife goes there too, so we have a "mixed marraige", me Starbucks, she Slave.

Your loyalty to the Rockies is endearing, although I'm afraid you are destined to have to deal with a broken heart for many years, since they're unlikely to make the playoffs anythime soon. Personally, I live and die with the Mets so I've been jazzed for the last two years. What I find mystifying about the Rockies is how well Kaz Matsui is doing with them. As you probably know, he was a big bust in New York and never fulfilled his hype. Everyone here was happy to see him go, so it's kind of strange to see hitting close to .300, hustling, and stealing bases like the spark plug at the top of the order he was suppposed to be. I guess he couldn't handle the pressure of New York and found a laid back, more accepting audience in Colorado.

I enjoyed reading your posting; it was interesting and well written.

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