Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Aloha ... can I come back?

I found this photo on an old post that I started writing but never finished. I'm not sure exactly when I took it. It looks so serene, so welcoming, so cold ... so very different from the place where I am at right now.

OK, so I'm killing some time in the nether regions of the Alaska Air check-in part of the Honolulu airport. It's 3:53 a.m. Honolulu time. There is some infuriatingly mellow island music blasting over the loudspeaker in this not-quite-inside, not-quite-outside kind of a room, and I'm already down to boxer shorts and a T-shirt, sticky with heat and sleep deprivation. Just need to make it until the Thrifty Car Rental place opens. Just a little longer ...

I know, I know. I'm in Hawaii on vacation and I'm not allowed to complain, especially since I haven't even escaped from the airport yet enough to give island life a chance. I guess it just feels good to vent after really bad flights. I know everyone has bad flights. This was the worst flight ever. I know everyone has worst flights ever. It's just that after 11 hours on a single leg of a flight between Anchorage and Honolulu, long after the foil-wrapped hamburgers ran out and the toilet seats were ringed in urine and the flight attendants were rationing water, sitting in 85-degree heat amidst a plane completely full of screaming children and adults whose good humor had pretty much worn out, I will say it was all a little too Superdome for my taste. And, having gone through and survived that flight, I will say that it's amazing the suffering so many people will endure to get themselves someplace warm on a vacation. I am pretty sure it is beyond any endurance I have ever exhibited to bike myself someplace cold.

Now I am sitting cross-legged on a floor near the only electric outlet I could find and observing how embarrassingly white my legs are, having seen no significant amount of sun in about three years, and wanting to put something on to cover them up, but I just can't deal with more sitting and sweating quite yet. I need to find a refrigerator to go sit in. Did I really think I was going to be able ride a bike in this climate? Ha ha ha. Maybe after I finally get some sleep, we shall see.

I really shouldn't complain. It's all good for me. Food, water and sleep deprivation training at its finest. I need to get past it, though, because I'm having strong urges to go somewhere quiet and be really lazy.

I guess I just need to think of that distant place I left 24 hours ago - seems so far in the past - with 2 inches of rainfall and an untold accumulation of snowmelt backing up behind several feet of snow base, driving my car to the gym through standing water deep enough to splash in through the closed door, running for two hours on an eliptical machine before getting in the dungeon-like shower only to have the power go out two minutes in, groping around a strange room wet and naked in the dark and thinking, "Wow. Here we go again." Snow. Rain. Avalanche. The city's only connection to its power plant gets taken out for months. Again. All in a day's life in Juneau.

Could be worse. Could be here.