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May 16th, 2007

Minneapolis to Raleigh travel...

I got up at 7:00, and I walked over to the convention center in search for "official word" that our student chapter did indeed get recognized as a Community of Distinction last night.

Eventually, I caught up with Lisa Pappas, who was the one who went up to receive our award since she's an alumnus of our school, and more specifically, an alumnus of the MS in Tech Comm program.

She didn't have the certificate with her, but she did confirm that it was true. Woohoo!

I was on the phone in a heartbeat to share the news with Sarah.

Before leaving the convention center, I saw a guy who I was pretty sure was the guy who taught the Podcasting 101 class yesterday, and I stopped him and asked him if he was.

"Yes," he said.

"Well, I think you are absolutely hysterical," I said to him.

I can't even describe how much his face lit up, and he sort of jumped in the air a little, and said, "Well, thank you! That just makes it all worthwhile. You've really made my day. Thanks!" I was glad I took a moment to say something.



On the way back to the Marriott, I stopped at Panera's to grab some breakfast and to devise an e-mail to the STC and Tech Comm listservs about the award.

As I paid for my breakfast this woman—gabby, gabby, gabby, gabby—leans over my tray peering at my little Spinach and Bacon Quiche, and says, "Mmmm. That looks pretty good."

Ten minutes later, after inviting me to come over to her table for a minute, she is drawing a map on a napkin indicating four or five restaurants that I must go to while I'm in Minneapolis, and by then I was already in too deep to say, "Actually, I'm flying out in a couple of hours."

It went on and on and on. "And this place right here is a deli, and my favorite two things there are..." She is describing the sandwich and then starts drawing the sandwich on the napkin: a round circle for the bread, "And on this side they lay the meat out like this..." and drawing oval things inside the bread circle... "then they lay the cucumber slices right here..."

Okay, now I'm thinking, "OMFG, this is a nightmare. This is a lonely, lonely woman."

In the meantime, my laptop is by itself at my own table, my food is getting cold, and just when I think she is finishing up, she says, "I'll draw the bus system for you so you can get to these places." Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!

At that I said, "I'm very sorry, but I have to get back to my convention, and I have to eat and check my e-mail before I go. I really appreciate the information, though."

"Well, you should have brought your breakfast to my table. No problem. Go back and do what you need to do. I'll bring the bus map over to you."

Ten minutes later, she came over to me, and showed me all these streets and bus line indicators that she had drawn on another napkin, complete with the bus route numbers and arrows indicating which way they were running.

She started going over each route, saying things like, "This one, you can take it up to 46th, and then you can get off here, and all these spots over there you can walk to from here, but when you come back, pick up the Number 6 going this way at 43rd..."

Just when I was about to scream, and I thought she was winding down yet again, she flipped over the napkin to an entire other series of streets and routes.



My Super Shuttle ride back to the Minneapolis airport was on time and uneventful, only stopping to pick up one other passenger. Check-in and getting through security was equally as uneventful.

Before going to my gate, I stopped at an airport information booth, which was staffed with a Ralph Kramden- and Ed Norton-like pair of older men who looked like they were working this booth as volunteer work. Male blue hairs, if you will.

I looked at the one and asked, "Can you tell me where I can get a Chicago Hot Dog?"

And he deadpanned, "Yeah, in Chicago."

"Oh shit, that's where I'm going; I'm not there yet." I stammered.

He then proceeded to tell me about this great hot dog place right across from Wrigley's Field and then one up on some other downtown Chicago street, and I thought, "Please god, no napkin maps." And then, "I've got a lady for you to meet at the Panera's on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis."



Once on board, the middle seat on my side of the plane was left empty until the last minute, when this nice looking guy finally claimed it. He had blond hair, and was fair-skinned with light fur on his forearms. A thick, shiny gold wedding band donned his ring finger.

I had my book, My Sister's Keeper out, and after we had taken off and the beverage service was making its way to our row, he spoke, "Is that book any good?"

"It's absolutely riveting," I answered. "It is so full of conflict, and of course conflict is what makes good fiction."

He asked me if it was a mystery, and I told him that it wasn't and gave him a brief synopsis.

"Yes, it's obvious that that situation would create a great deal of conflict. Very interesting plot."

We had just a little bit of uncomfortable silence as, since we then "knew" each other, the conversation expectation had been elevated.

I took a stab at the silence with, "You reading a good book right now?"

He said, "Uhm..." a little hesitatingly, and then, "Yes. The bible." I thought, "That's not a good book; that, purportedly, is the good book."



In Chicago, I did indeed get my Chicago-style Hot Dog, which came with tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, diced onions, hot peppers, and some celery salt on it.

It came in one of those elongated hot-dog length Styrofoam containers. "The fries in here?" I asked when all I saw go into the bag was that container.

"Yes," he replied.

And they were, under the hot dog, which I found a little bizarre. Good thing they weren't too greasy.

At the gate, for the rest of my one hour and twenty-minute layover, just as it approached boarding time, a 55-minute delay was announced. Grrrrrrr!

Once we got on the plane, another one-hour delay was announced and we taxied over to a "hangar area," to sit out that hour. Very annoying, but what can you do? I just kept reading.



So, we ended up arriving at RDU at 9:15 instead of the planned 7:15, and by the time I got my bag, and Joe got me home, it was close to 10:00—so I blew off dancing even though I planned this return time specifically to allow me to dance tonight.

As I said, "Annoying."

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