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January 17, 2004

In-Flight Blog
Written 12-23-03

Sara and I are on board our United flight from St. Paul to Denver right now. We’re even seated next to each other, which is nice. Without a doubt, most of the flights I’ve taken in my life are, in way or another, because of Sara. I’ve flown to see her in D.C. and California on more than one occasion. This is, in our seven-year relationship, the first time we’ve ever flown together. So far, so good. Despite the Orange Alert status in the US, the airport was simple to navigate and lines were among the shortest I’ve ever seen them, Christmas or not. This flight has also been pretty smooth so far, so though I think I might jinx it by writing that.

At the end of our row of seats her is a passenger who seems to be making a crossword puzzle. That’s pretty wonderful, I think. I wonder if it’s her job or a hobby. I’ve tried to make a few crossword puzzles myself, but have never met with any success. Harder than it looks.

It’s been so long since I’ve flown west that I’ve forgotten how fast the earth changes from the sheer white flatness of Minnesota to the rough, wrinkled brown ground of South Dakota and Colorado. It’s really wonderful. This trip had seemed so far off and theoretical for so long that I didn’t really come to appreciate that I was really going someplace until we got to the airport. Now I’m almost giddy. This trip promises playtime with dogs, Christmas-themed fun, gorgeous scenery, a chance to see Sacramento as a capitol (and compare it against the other capitols I’ve been to lately), a dinner in San Francisco’s Chinatown (I love San Francisco), and an opportunity to prove myself to Sara’s parents, the soon-to-be in-laws.

Denver. It’s the new place on this trip; the city I’ve never been to. My old friend Matt Todd lives in the area, but we’re only there for about an hour, so no Toddage this time. He’s always told great Denver and Colorado stories, and I’m very much looking forward to putting a face on the city. Of course, that face will be whatever mask Denver has made of its airport. An airport lets you at least see the city’s eyes and therefore get a sense of its attitude, its ancestry, or its intent. A lousy airport, like the Reagan in DC, gives you a commercial artifice, a brain-numbing same-ness that suggests the spaces between American cities is all carpeted concourses, vending machines, and advertising. A good import is full of windows, a lousy airport is full of glass.

A few photos from the flight should accompany this blog. Hopefully I’ll have more from the whole trip. The camera has at last been upgraded to a good-sized memory card, so we can now take 150 pictures without downloading, whereas the old card allowed for sixteen or fewer pictures. Between this and the automated check-in process at the United counter, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas Future.

Noise: Jet engines and the Ghost in the Shell soundtrack.

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