Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Vacation: Day One Concluded

Even at its maximum possible speed, dial-up is extremely slow, and my mother's dial-up access is much, much slower than that (currently connected at a screamingly fast 26.4 Kbps)
I did warn you that I probably wouldn't be posting much, but I thought I should check in and let you know that I am alive and (reasonably) well and that I did, eventually, make it to the UP.
I don't want to spend too much time waiting for stuff to post, but I thought I should at least resolve my cliffhanger ending for those of you waiting with bated breath.

I haven't been keeping the kind of running journal I meant to since I got here, but I have been keeping track of the more noteworthy stuff, so when I get back to VA and fast access, I'll be sure to inundate you with all of the details. In the meantime, here is the conclusion to Day One. Enjoy.

Day One: The Waiting is the Hardest Part Continued Yet Again
Okay, so I was thinking about having a cigarette. Considering the day I’d had, I’d say I was entitled. I had to do something to blow off some steam, and considering that the only real alternative was to have a drink, a cigarette seemed positively inoffensive.
In any case, the guy mentioned how much he would LOVE to have a cigarette, and the girl, whose name was Jess (“the guy” will remain nameless), ashamedly admitted that she actually had some cigarettes in her purse.
She did not, however, have a light, nor did either the guy or myself.
They invited me to join them at Friday’s, and, having no better plans (and because Jess had a nice rack), I decided to take them up on the offer.
When I was riding in the shuttle to the motel, we went past a lot of places that looked familiar, and as familiarity set in, so did a growing sense of unease. This was Minnesota, a place that was not exactly home to my happiest memories, and, in fact, is pretty much where my life was at its most miserable, a place where my grip on reality was at its most tenuous.
So yeah, a little uneasy.
And yeah, I smoked a cigarette.
Two, in fact.I will decidedly not be making a habit out of it, though, as after more than two smoke-free years, those two cigarettes made me sick as a dog.
Anyway, it kept me from wanting to drink, even as I sat at the bar in Friday’s directly in front of the taps and as Jess and the guy each had a beer.
It could be that, like me, the two of them were pretty fried, but they weren’t a very lively bunch, but I concluded that my presence was serving as a drain on their good time. Also, I was being a cockblocker, and as much as I may have found the guy to be a sleazy con artist, I figured it wasn’t my place to get in the way.
Requesting my tab for the pot stickers I’d ordered, I asked that a round for the two of them be added, and that I be rung up. However, they declined the offer, and after they finished their beers we all made our way back.
I was never really tempted to drink while I was at the bar, but there was a moment when a song by Steely Dan came on the radio, and I found myself transported back to my drinking days back home, before I’d moved to Minnesota. Specifically it made me think of my friend Jeff, as he used to play that particular song a lot and it was always entertaining, in spite of myself, to watch him do his “thing” while doing so.
So that was an odd moment of nostalgia that did make me long for those good times that I had during those rather dark periods, but nostalgia isn’t enough to make throw away nearly six years of sobriety, or really even provide much of a temptation.
When we left Friday’s, I had my second cigarette (Jess had gotten some matches; when we first got there we’d gotten a light off of some other patrons who were outside smoking) while we walked back to the motel, and the guy just randomly took off his shirt, presumably to cool off, but I would guess it was for Jess’ benefit. I suppose it could have been for mine, as he was a little on the flamboyant side, but I took that to be part of his “act,” and not an indication of being gay.
Once we got the motel, we parted company, and I tried to settle in to sleep, which took a while.Not anticipating being stuck anywhere overnight, my carry-on luggage consisted of my Tablet PC, some DVDs, my headphones, and my Nano.
Not very useful items for an overnight stay.
Not having a case to put my contacts in, or a pair of glasses to wear in their stead even if I had was possibly the worst aspect.
I did manage to get a toothbrush and toothpaste, though even that was a comedy of errors that was right in line with the rest of my day.
Before heading out to eat I’d hit a vending machine in the motel to get something to drink, and I noticed that the machine sold toiletries, so I bought a travel toothbrush and toothpaste.I found out later that they gave them away for free at the desk. Oh well.
Anyway, that was more or less, mostly less, my first day of travel.
As I write this, I’m at the airport waiting for my flight, but am more than a little concerned by the fact that there’s a thunderstorm going on…
(Update: my flight out of Minneapolis was delayed by about an hour)

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