Saturday, October 14, 2006

In Detroit, Suck City

As I write this I am sitting in a Best Western in Detroit, unable to sleep thanks to anxiety, the effects of being in a strange place, an uncomfortable bed, and my brother’s snoring.
Naturally my only option was to squirrel myself away in a surprisingly comfortable chair and write a blog entry.
I didn’t start out the day wanting to find myself in a Best Western in Detroit, and, quite frankly, I’m not ending the day that way either.
But here I am.
The plan was to catch a flight from Detroit to Marquette. My brother had managed to schedule his flight out from Rhode Island in such a way that he and I would be taking the same flight out of Detroit. He even managed to get us seated together.
However, upon arriving in Detroit I went to the board to see what gate our flight was leaving from only to find that the flight was cancelled. The recorded message from Northwest that I found waiting for me in my voicemail informed me that the flight was cancelled due to the lack of a flight crew.
How does that happen? I mean, if you schedule a flight, don’t you necessarily schedule a crew?
Regardless, I went to the gate my brother’s flight was arriving at and waited for him, then the tow of us went to a ticketing agent to try to sort things out.
I had already been rebooked on a flight out at 1:30 on Saturday, but that one went to Marquette by way of Minneapolis and I wouldn’t get there until almost 6.
My brother was rebooked on a much earlier flight, which was already oversold. We got me put on standby, but then the agent – her name was Liz – found a somewhat earlier direct flight that I could get booked on and we decided that the best course of action was to book my brother on that flight as well rather than his even earlier, overbooked flight.
Once that was settled it was off to the motel, where we ate dinner in the motel lounge and were serenaded by karaoke singers, one of whom put in a surprisingly strong and stirring performance of that Billy Vera and the Beaters song At This Moment.
Watching my brother interact with people – the booking agent, the guy in the motel gift shop, where I spent $50 buying all of the stuff that I once again didn’t bring in my carry on just in case, and the waitress in the lounge – I was struck by how effortless it is for him, or at least how effortless it seems.
In a million years I could never ingratiate myself with people the way he can in a matter of seconds. As much as we’re alike – and we are alike in a lot of ways – we are two very different people.
As for my dad’s condition, we really don’t know much more than we did. The EEG shows brain activity, though it is abnormal, but that could simply be the result of age.
The only real indicator of brain damage is the simple fact that he won’t wake up.
He has seemed to respond to people, but it’s not clear how much of that is reflex, or even wishful thinking on the part of my mom and my sister.
There seems to be some hope that hearing me and my brother might provoke more of a response.
I don’t know.
I broke down this morning and tried to let out as much as possible before going out into the world. Better to cry alone than to do so surrounded by uncaring strangers.
I don’t know what to expect, I don’t know what I can reasonably hope for, and I quite honestly don’t know how I’m going to react when I actually see him lying there.
I suppose that I should head back to the room and try to get some sleep.

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