November 24, 2003
Ohio: Part I (The Journey)
The trip started on a somewhat uncertain note when Lucas, who was supposed to give some of us a ride to the airport, was nowhere to be found. Calls made to other team members met no success, but luckily Cori was able to give us a ride in Kitri’s car.
When we got to the airport, the first thing I saw (as in, through the car window when we stopped) was a Windows error message. This particular error message was on a large flat screen suspended above the Delta check-in counter which is presumably intended for the display of some kind of information that Delta thinks essential, such as advertisements for Delta. This was not a good sign.
After sharing some laughs at the expense of a business stupid enough to run critical applications on Windows, and a brief foray into the business politics that would cause such a decision, we sat around and waited. We were waiting both for Chris to appear and in what we thought was the line to check in. Chris wasn’t there because he had brought his own car, and had to leave it in long-term parking. He actually had all our tickets, but we waited in line anyway, on the assumption that if we got to the front before he was there, we’d just stay at the front. Not like the Delta people really wanted to hassle 14 people in matching jackets. We could be a gang or something.
The reason I say we waited in what we thought was the check in line is not that we were in the wrong line, it’s that Delta doesn’t seem to have the whole “line” philosophy figured out. Sure, they got us in a somewhat linear formation (which, just ask Chris, is tough to do), but they didn’t bother serving people in the order in which they arrived. Now, I certainly don’t want people to miss their flights, but there were people arriving at the airport with fifteen minutes to spare and getting bumped up to the front, while the rest of us who had gotten there in plenty of time were held back repeatedly until we were the ones that were close to missing our flight. grrr.
During this time, we kept seeing glimpses of Wes and his new team, who were on our same flight. They were in the line, and then out of it. At one point, they even got pretty close. I mean, the competition (!), right there (!). The feeling of rivalry was enhanced by certain team members’ (not that I would name names) dislike of Wes. Several of us envisioned a West Side Story-esque encounter in the aisles of the airplane, but, alas, it never materialized. Also, Chris had told us that it was important to be nice to them and socialize, advice which we all took to heart starting Saturday, about five minutes after our performance.
We took a red-eye flight because it was cheaper, but it certainly was exhausting. The first leg of our trip was to Cincinnati, a distance which takes an amount of time equal to a few dozen games of Mario Kart, one bad movie, and (as I remember it) a flash and a click when someone took a picture of me and Andrew sleeping. I brought my laptop dans controllers so we could play games on it, and Matt and Jerome demonstrated their mastery of go-karting. And then I watched part of the movie. It was The Hulk, a movie of surpassing mediocrity. Andrew warned me not to watch, but I had seen the trailers and knew there were some cool-looking scenes, so I gave it a shot.
I gave up on it after the scene with the giant poodle, and tried to get some sleep. I didn’t get much.
We then had a delightful three hour layover in Cincinnati (The City of Sin….cinnati), during which I bought Dan Savage’s new book, which I was quite happy with (despite its need of better editing), and because I was starving, bought and ate some McFood, which ended up being another Bad Idea™. We then watched part of Monsters Inc. which was mostly drowned out by the noise of the airport, and got some sleep on the floor.
I should point out that, by this point, about 100 pictures had been taken of each other sleeping in funny positions. We probably have almost as many pictures of people sleeping as we do of people dancing. But the ones that we got of Adam are great. He’s all curled up on the floor.
When Chris went to wake him up, he was quite disoriented. A transcript:
Chris: Adam, wake up.
Adam: [no response]
Chris: [kicks Adam] Time to get up.
Chris: It’s time to go.
Chris: The plane’s here.
Chris: We’re in Ohio.
That’s kind of how I felt, too.
Took a little puddle-jumper to Columbus, where we packed ourselves and our bags into a van that looked large from the outside, and trucked on over to the hotel, where we got showered and refreshed enough to care about food again (this would be the fifth consecutive meal I’d had without sleep). Some of us went over to Meijer’s, which is the result of a grocery store grafted onto a Target, and got food, which we brought back to my room and wolfed down using a bizarre assemblage of napkins, ice buckets, pita, and pieces of plastic as plates. I think there are some good pictures of that too, but I defend my method of eating to the end. You just can’t get all the meat off a chicken unless you rip it open like that.