Friday, May 13, 2011

Air Journal: Bird- and Creeper-Watching

I went to Virginia for several days this past week to visit my aunt and uncle before the oppressive summer heat and humidity kicked in. Trip highlights:
  • Because I refuse to pay money to check a bag unless absolutely necessary, I didn't check a bag. No one blinked at the metal knitting needles in my suitcase.
  • Because no one wants to pay $25 to check a friggin' bag, the overhead bins fill beyond capacity on most flights these days. While we were boarding, they were again announcing the bit about putting your smaller carry-on item under the seat in front of you, etc., but certain rows didn't have that option, so they would have to put it in the overheads. The guy walking in front of me put both his suitcase and his backpack in the overhead bin. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, like maybe he was seated in one of the mentioned rows, but no, he was just a dick who is Special and Above the Rules. Asshole. Good thing I'm not a flight attendant or I would have taken the thing out of the bin and shoved it under his seat with a very brutal smile.
  • I almost didn't recognize my aunt Mary at the airport. Her hair had turned completely white. She was still short, though.
  • I was her enabler for visiting yarn shops. On Cary St. in the artsy-fartsy area, we were walking from a yarn shop to a Thai restaurant (she had never had Thai food before), when I saw this chalk drawing on one of the ubiquitous brick walls in Richmond:
  • We drove out to my grandmother's farm near Charlottesville, where everyone and their Beltway brother is now building their ugly "farm-house style" McMansion where there used to be real, working farmhouses. Outside, I dodged a dragonfly trying to divebomb me. Geez, I hate those things! I forgot how many, well, insects there are there. Here's a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the farm:
  • My aunt and uncle keep bird feeders in their backyard. While the hummingbirds have been absent this year, perhaps victims of the severe winter, there were still more birds than I see here in artificially-green desert. While the red-headed woodpecker we saw last time didn't show (its tree died and was taken out), we did see:
  • I somehow managed to avoid smacking my head getting into my seat until the last connecting flight home. I have a nice lump on my forehead.
  • I was sitting next to a young woman who could not be not touching her MacBook, and what appeared to be her grandfather. As we were landing, she turned to the elderly man and told him she didn't think it would be a problem at the car rental place, but she just remembered both of them have expired drivers licenses. "But we're still licensed drivers." Um, no, you're not. Hence the "expired" bit. I was sorely tempted to follow them to the car rental place and laugh, but instead...
  • I went to catch the Flyaway bus to Union Station (I flew out of BUR but flew into LAX for price and scheduling reasons). $7. Free (well, included in my monthly pass) bus ride from Union Station home. Ok, it took about 2 hours, but it would have taken a little less if I hadn't been waiting at the wrong corner for the connecting bus. And it has often taken that long with a shuttle, because you wait 20 minutes for them to come around, then you wait another 30 minutes while they keep circling the damn airport, then you're inevitably the last one off and all the people getting dropped off first all live 15 miles from the freeway, so it takes at least 2 hours to get home anyway. So I feel smug now :P
  • Kitties were happy to see me! Yay! They quickly got over the smell of my aunt's two dogs. Or they're plotting their revenge for later, when it is a dish best served cold...

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