Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

I. Am. Home.

Delicious feeling, like a warm bath after a tough day in the coal mine.

Getting home was interesting, though not a bad experience, just interesting.

It started with getting to the airport, which went very smoothly. Then I registered at the front counter, where the ticket and I agreed that the initial delay we saw would put my connection out of reach. So she booked me on the next flight from Chicago, my connection, and I was set.

I then participated in the security theatre, complete with my first experience with the air-blowing machine. Not only was it surreal to step into the gates into an open-ended machine that belonged on Dr. Who or The Prisoner, but the mechanical voice that notified of the upcoming air blast clearly said, "Firing Guns!" - Awesome, I can't mention any of seventy-odd phrases, like bomb or blow up or explode or whatever, but our great and magnificent Homeland Security authorizes the use of a scientifically questionable device that says "Firing Guns." - ok, whatever, I'll address security theatre in another post.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, so I get through security and I walk to my gate. That's when I realize that I still haven't gotten a souvenir for my son (I picked up a NJ mug at the drugstore for my daughter). So I pop by my gate, confirm that there's a two-hour delay before my plane *might* be prepared for departure, and I start walking around the gate area, souvenir hunting. Except it's a tiny area with one food/restaurant choice and one bookstore/souvenir place. And the souvenirs they sold were just ok and the selection was sparse. So I ask the kiosk (I wouldn't call it a store) manager where else I might find souvenirs. She says, "Just keep circling this area and you'll see more." - Off I walk, circling the large kiosk, only to realize that she either doesn't care about the answer she gave or she is remarkably dim, as the only other products sold in the rest of her kiosk (which had a relative circumference of about 100 square feet or so) were toothbrushes and candy (lovely irony there). So I round the final corner, see her, inform her that there were no other souvenirs in her shop, whereupon she replied, "Oh."


So then I take a long walk around the entire gate area, only to discover that if I am to head back to the good shops at Newark means a new trip through the security area. Well, obviously, forget that. So I settle for sweatshirt for my son and settle back down in a seat and wait for the first leg of my journey to commence. I people watch for a while, embracing the lack of responsibility with which I am suddenly laden. A lovely feeling, really luxurious after the past few weeks.

I also read some of the Thoreau that I received for my birthday. Enchanting and entrancing words - life-affirming.

Finally my flight departs and I sleep (it's about 8 o'clock and I am chockablock full of Dramamine. When I awake, we are landing in Chicago.

If you've never been to O'Hare International, I recommend a visit. It's a beautiful building with a variety of modern art displays, including a wonderful neon piece overhead as you use the moving walkway to get from concourse to concourse. Also, my other favorite part, near Concourse B is a 72-foot long model of the skeleton of a Brachiosaurus. It is visually daunting and yet sublime and peaceful.

Eventually I reach my gate, where I discover that the person who booked me on my backup connection, which I have missed due to the enormously late takeoff of my first flight, shouldn't have done that (don't know why) and they want to put me on standby. Um, yeah, thanks for the very kind offer, but I shall politely decline. So they call over another gate attendant who, magically, finds me a seat on the next flight to Los Angeles International. Ecstasy!

Four hours later, at about 2:30am PST, I am at baggage claim. 'Cept no bag. So I find my baggage receipt and use the available "Where's My Bag" computer terminal to discover that my bag hasn't made it to California yet. Ok, no bigs, I just give the machine my address and the machine politely informs me that I'll get my bag delivered the next day or so. Cool.

I cab it home, am embraced by my better half, who has lit candles and put on one of my favorite albums on the stereo. We hug, talk, etc. I get to relieve the dog of his worry that I was never coming home, ever. Then bed calls to me like a muse and I drift off.

Now it's morning and I'm writing this, wondering what I'll have for brunch.

As my friend Ferris Bueller says, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."


Lori said...

brilliant!!!! first off HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! second - i miss you - i am thrilled that you are home where you belong - but i am feeling a hole where you fit. love you to the moon and back!!! xoxo

Ericka said...

glad you made it home.

i HATE that air machine. i curl up like a shrimp when the air puffs start and then the security yells at me to straighten up. it's HORRIBLE. gah!

David said...

Welcome home, Bro!!!

dad said...

Welcome home! and....Happy Birthday again!!!!!!!
Mom is taking a nap and I am reflecting on the two weeks we spent together. The two weeks you took away from your family.
What a rock you were for me. Every time I started to drift away from our goal you pointed me in the right direction. You showed me how to communicate with mom to put her at ease.
The biggest thing you showed me was what a mature responsible person you are.
I love you son

Dangermouse said...

Welcome home my dear friend. I am so thankful you were able to be with your mom and family and am comforted that you are safely home. You are valued nation wide! ;D

Suldog said...

Finally got over to read this. Lovely stuff, Stu. This is my favorite type of writing; heartfelt, personal, sincere. Very nice.