OK, I'm back. Miss me?
Last time I wrote to you I was buzzing out the door on my way to the airport. It was, as I left the office, 70 degrees - woo hoo! I savored the 90 seconds I was outside on my way to the cab stand. The cab driver was listening to talk radio. The topic was the history of Jello.
[I was going to write more on that, but I couldn't possibly do it justice.]
Arrival at Philly International Airport (note, we have not yet changed the name of our airport to commemorate a dead politician, dead native son/daughter, or dead movie star.) Anyway . . .
Arrival at airport: 1:20 p.m.
Arrival at Gate C18: 1:25 p.m.
Time of flight to Columbus: 3:30 p.m.
Amount of thrill experienced at prospect of waiting in airport for two hours: priceless
It took all of five minutes to walk from one end of Terminal B, go through security, stop in news-stand and decide that Martha's February issue on how to create the perfect valentine card out of home-made paper is too cloying to be purchased, and walk to the gate. I note that there is a 2:00 p.m. flight to Columbus that is directly across from my gate. I go up and explain that I am on a later flight, but would like to change - no problem. We board two minutes later - ah, the good old days of air travel when cutting it close was allowed and expected.
I was nervous, though. OK, so I'm normally not really comfortable on planes anyway, but I started having "what if" thoughts. What if the plane crashes and everyone thinks that I'm on the later flight? I did my usual superstitious aircraft boarding thing - I tap my purse against the right side of the plane next to the door as I enter. But not before I smiled as the man in front of me casually knocks twice, softly, on the doorframe as he entered. We all have our idiocyncracies.
I also count during take-off. Many years ago a colleague told me that most plane crashes occur during take-off, and usually within the first twenty seconds. Whether it's true or not, I don't know. But I count. To twenty. And usually again for good measure.
I read Attache magazine, the Useless Air guide to life and note a couple of interesting [I think] factoids:
The trend in hotels in no longer to have the military, square-cornered model of bed-making with the sheets and blankets tucked in all the way down the mattress. In response to guest comment cards, The Four Seasons chain has instituted changes:
"There is a bottom sheet which wraps completely around the mattress, then we've got a second sheet which is extra long. We make a foot fold in the second sheet at the bottom of the bed, which allows some extra room for the guest's feet. Then we put on the duvet, and then on top we have a top sheet. We do not tuck the bed in all down the side, we just tuck the corners."
Bravo, says I. Just the way I do it at home, with a foot fold at the bottom for the cat.
"Happy Birthday" is the most-performed musical work of the 20th Century. It was written and copyrighted by two sisters in 1893. In 1988, Warner Communications bought the rights to the song for an estimated $25 million. But that's OK, because the song brings Time Warner AOL an estimated $2 million a year in royalties. Every time it is performed in a for-profit public setting (like a movie), they get paid.
"Columbus Welcomes Ohio Township Association Winter Conference." So said the signs in our hotel. We believe they were wrong. It was actually, as identified by one of our colleagues, "The National Association of Yokels." We felt odd, out of place, incorrectly attired. Where were those bib overalls of mine?
I got on the elevator on the 1st floor to go to my room on the 10th floor. Apparently not every township in Ohio has elevators, because at the 3rd floor, a group of four looked in and held the door open. Here was the conversation:
Yokel One (holding door open): "Is this elevator going down?"
~ ~ ~
Me: "No, it's going up."
Yokels (together): "Oh."
(Door is still being held open).
Me: "You could press the down button and wait for another elevator."
Yokel Two: "What floor is this elevator going to?"
Elevator: "Beep, beep, beep. . ."
Yokel Two: "It will come down after that. We can just get on now."
(All four get on.)
Elevator: "Beep, beep, beep. . ."
Yokel One (still holding door open and looking into elevator foyer): "Hey Bill, we got an elevator."
Yokel Bill: "But it's going up."
Elevator: "BEEP, beep, beep. . ."
Yokel One: "But it will come back down then."
(Yokel Bill joins the group. The doors close. The elevator starts to go up.)
Yokel Three: "How far up will it go?"
Me (looking at lit button for 10th floor): [Silence.]
Quote du jour:
"If you die in an elevator,
be sure to push the UP button."
-- Sam Levenson (1911 - 1980)
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