So Kiss Me and Smile for Me

"Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane
I don't know when I'll be back again"

[Originally written 2008-11-25.]

Closing day. Got about five hours of sleep, which is a lot more than I got on the way over here. It's not quite 8 AM local time — or is it 9? — and the resort is still fairly empty with respect to activities. The pool is totally unpopulated. Laying in bed, awake and trying very hard not to have to get up, I had some thoughts about who I am and what I'm doing. I haven't really taken significant steps to outline my life' purpose before. I've tried, but any real work on the subject was casually dismissed by my mom with a "you're too young to worry about that[0]." Even if the answer at the time would have been "to eat as much ice cream as humanly possible," I think the question deserved to be asked. Fortunately, many years have passed and Mom isn't calling the shots, so I can begin to answer the question with untampered earnestness. The unexamined life, it's told, is not worth living, and a life without purpose is in all likelihood not with examination.

Examination #1: I don't think I brushed my teeth last night.

All my bags are packed. I'm ready to go. I was a little worried when I saw the security/customs agents checking bags in front of the check-in counter. "¡Dios Mio!" I thought. "This is going to take forever." There were 7 people in line in front of us. When we got to the nice woman in the necktie and the plastic glove, she merely asked if we were checking any luggage. No? OK, any liquids more than 3 ounces? No? Go ahead. It took five minutes: 30 seconds of conversation and 4.5 minutes of standing around waiting for her supervisor to OK her decision. Then we had fun with the U.S. Airways clerk, who looked for our boarding passes under six or maybe seven different names before hitting upon the right one. After that, we walked through security — literally. I approached the metal detector and began the stripping-down-until-you're-desnudas routine. The woman stopped me: "Are you wearing a belt?" No. "Take your sunglasses off your neck and put them through the machine." I began to disassemble my bag, but she stopped me. "Just put it through," she encouraged. I was clear and on my way in less than a minute. The TSA could stand to learn a thing or two about letting technology work for you. From there, we walked through about four or five different groups of duty free shops. They are literally unavoidable on your way to reach your gate. You must walk through them. At that point, I saw a huge array of perfumes, tequilas, and for some strange reason Bailey's Irish Cream. Not a single bottle of which would be allowed through U.S. Customs[1]. I'm bummed; a bottle of tequila makes for a great "I'm back" gift. I'm still in shorts and a T-shirt. I will have to change before I reach SeaTac. There won't be much time once I hit the U.S. to deplane, get through Customs, and reach my next connection. Running will probably transpire.

It turns out that I misread the times on my boarding pass. Combined with an almost total lack of comprehension of the timezones I'm sacheting through, this makes for a pleasant surprise. I don't have 45 minutes to get through Customs, I have an hour and 45 minutes. I clear Customs and the security pass in under half an hour, so I could potentially have made it regardless. I see on the departure info board they close the doors to the jet ten minutes prior to departure, so probably not so much. Either way, I'm back on U.S. soil and I'm imminently splitting half a pizza with Stef.

I have a funny story about barbecue chicken pizza. Well not so much "funny" as heart-wrenching and borderline sadistic.

Monk is re-syncing his phone to his e-mail. It's doing the equivalent of frantic sobbing over standard TCP/IP. I'm afraid of what is waiting for me on the other side of my inbox. I've finished both of the things I've brought along to read, so the remainder of my connections will require I purchase a book or magazine, play a videogame, or try to catch up on my woefully out-of-date podcast library. We'll be flying for another five or six hours — either in the air or waiting around — and I'm sure I'll begin losing my mind from boredom before the end of it all. I have stuff I could do, but I don't think I have a wide selection of options from which to choose.

The airport in Las Vegas is odd. I saw the Luxor through the window on the way in... two months too late to see The Star Trek Experience.

[0] Maybe Mom was right. I was 11.

[1] They might allow the tequila through Customs, but they wouldn't allow it on any connecting flights, that's for sure.

[This is the end of my vacation diary. Ken was a trooper and both drove us to and from the airport at some ridiculous hours of the night. We grabbed a late dinner at Palace Kitchen downtown and I proceeded to fall asleep on the couch, bending my eyeglasses in the process. It was a good vacation.]

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