Friday, December 29, 2006

Post-Christmas, Pre-New Year Limbo

So I went to Alabama for Christmas, to see my family (read: the 34 people crowed around my Grandmother's living room Christmas Day).

They tell me all of us hadn't been in that house at the same time since my Grandfather died, and that was like 10 years ago.

It was really nice to catch up with everyone. I still feel like a little kid when I go down there. There's just something about that house, the area.

Sure, it didn't really feel like Christmas. In Alabama, I think it may have snowed (flurries) once during all the times we went down there. All the other years, it's cold, but not too cold. Think of a brisk late-October day in Northeast Pennsylvania. Instead of snow, all the grass dies. All the grass. It sort of looks like a fall wasteland, but without the pretty colors. All the leaves are gone, so it looks sort of like a perpetual day-before-the-first-snowfall.

But I like it.

I flew down this time. It's only the second time I've flown intra-nationally (We flew out to Los Angeles with the Concert Band two years ago). So it's the first time I've flown to and from the same coast.

I like to fly. I think it gives you a sense of importance. Well, it gives me a sense of importance. I drive everywhere. I drive to and from work, I drive to the lake, I drive to catch a train into Manhattan. I drive to Washington, D.C.

So when I have to go through the trouble to haul my bags on a shuttle bus, stand in line and check in, and then get violated by security, it makes a person feel like they're going somewhere important, to do something worth-while.

Now I'm not saying if I weren't flying the trip wouldn't be worth-while, and I'm not saying people who don't fly aren't important.

But you cannot deny the man who flies from JFK to Heathrow three times a week, first class, is not more imporant -- at least in his mind -- than the shlub sweating in a metro car on his way to work.

Plus, even though the flights (there was a connecting flight each way, so I was on a total of four planes) were only an hour and a half, they serve you free soda, give you airline peanuts, or Sun Chips, and provide you (at least in Delta's case on the way from Atlanta to BWI) with non-stop, heart-pounding, back-to-back episodes of Alias.

I read. I finally finished Murder on the Orient Express. It ended like I thought it might, having had the plot ruined by a stray episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I also had the delightful experience of feeling uber-important by opening my laptop once the stewardess (flight attendant, my left foot!) told the plane us important people could. I didn't really do much. As I've found, most of my idle computer use relies heavily on an Internet connection. I watched a movie in the background while working on the masthead to my Web log at work. Then I closed the computer up, and went back to being a normal, regularly imporant person.

The one thing I've found, though, it you don't really have a sense of how far you've traveled when flying, because for the flight you're in a tin can, rustling through the upper atmosphere. Sure there are clouds, but I think I would be able to comprehend the Atlantic Ocean better if I would be forced to traverse its vast expanse by steam boat.

But in this limbo of a week between holidays, I find myself (at the end of it, but also) wishing I was little once again.

Or, maybe, older. If I were younger I would have this week off. Everyone between the ages of 5 and 21 usually has this week off. Public schools are not in session, and colleges are in winter-break mode.

If I were older, I would perhaps have accumulated enough vacation time to take this week off, like Caitlin's dad.

Instead, I am in the very heart of the grind. The slimy, greasy spot of the machine that forces its workers to, well, work. Plus I'm in an industry on which not putting out a product on holidays is generally frowned.

Check it out, no preposition at the end of that baby.

The week went fast though. Sure, one day was basically travel. Even though the flight was four hours, if that, time spent in line, security, layover, and baggage claim, plus driving to and from the airport... It's pretty much a day.

But, I think I've rambled about my mind enough to become thoroughly separated from the point I began to make, so for now adieu.

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