Late nights and early mornings do not put me in the best of moods. But I demonstrated very well this morning and was done by about 11:30am. Then I drove to the airport. It was a very long and boring drive and I did start to feel a little sleepy and was very happy to get to the airport.
Because I was booked through U.S. Air and also on United I had to go to two separate check in counters. I usually bypass all that silliness by printing my boarding passes from the hotel or from home. But this was a special circumstance. My first leg from PIT to ORD was on U.S. Air my second leg from ORD to PDX is on United. United and U.S. Air are partners in the Star Alliance. That means that you can fly one airline and earn miles on the other. That is as long as your ticket has the right frequent flyer number. Luckily that is an easy switch from a self serve kiosk within the airport. I was able to make the change without incident.
What I cannot do is switch my middle seat to an aisle because the flight is so full. So I will have 4:45 of scrunching myself up between two other people. I should assert my armrest dominance but I donâ€™t want to be rude so I wonâ€™t. Maybe I will sleep, maybe I wonâ€™t. Who knows.
Because I was at the PIT airport so early I was able to get on an earlier flight to ORD. This is less appealing than it sounds. PIT has free wireless. ORD does not. Guess which one gets my vote as the better airport. PIT also has Quaker Steak and Lube and the whole way to the airport I was craving their buffalo wings. I didnâ€™t have time to get any so I had to settle for a quick burger at McDonald’s. This was less than desirable but I needed to eat something.
I got on the flight to ORD and when I landed I could have grabbed the earlier flight to PDX is I had the speed of the flash so I am in ORD waiting for my assigned flight and my middle seat of â€œMake Drew Happynessâ€.
However, my annoyance with fellow travelers is somewhat muted today because of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims.
I heard that the first people shot were the gunmanâ€™s girlfriend and a Resident Assistant. I think back to my two years as a Resident Assistant and my four years as a Residence Hall Director. I had my share of students who didnâ€™t like me. Many accused me of having it out for them because they were often in trouble. I was about the most lenient RA ever but I could not abide stupidity. If someone was stupid enough to get caught by me then that stupidity should be documented.
I had the air let out of my tires, things taken and more damage to my car from students, but I never had fear for my life. Why would I? I lived on a relatively safe campus in a tight community of people. I am sure that the students at Virginia Tech also though that way before one person committed the ultimate act of human selfishness and decided to end the lives of 32 innocent people. I just cannot comprehend the utter desperation, selfishness, hopelessness and sadness in oneâ€™s life where they can kill friends, teachers and loved ones. What drives someone to the point where they can to do this?
I cannot even watch the news to find out more about this, each time I look in a monitor at the airport I feel like crying and start to tear up. Part of that is my sadness for the families of the innocent victims and part is from the sheer exhaustion of the traveling I have been doing. I know if I watch this alone in my hotel room I will crumble from the weight of this loss.
I think back to the Columbine shootings 8 years ago and I was completely riveted to the TV in shock of the events. I was a Residence Hall director at the time and could only sit and feel the numbness of the loss. It was such a waste of so many bright lights that will never get a chance to shine to their full potential. The events of this week make me feel a numbness to the loss of people I do not even know but whose experience of living and enjoying college years I can identify with.
I found my self wandering around the airport in ORD and there is one tunnel that has an art exhibit with neon lights the length of the tunnel. I sat on the edge of the moving walkways and just started taking pictures.
I was attempting to capture the wonder of the colors and the speed with which people moved by the interesting art that was all around them. I tried to capture how I felt in the airport when I usually rush from place to place never giving quarter and never slowing down. I needed to stop and see what was around me and document that. That is what Todayâ€™s Photo-A-Day is all about.
Here are two bonus photos.
I noticed the pilots were taking pictures out the window so I went over to take the sunset photos too. We got to talking and the co-pilot had the same exact camera that I have, the Canon SD800is. He was just learning to use it and was going to teach himself on the flight. Our pilot shook the hand of each and every passenger on the flight, that is class.
My flight from ORD to PDX was long but I sat next to a guy from Maine who had my ear most of the time. I talked to him about iPods and podcasts and we talked about snowshoeing and white water rafting at the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers. We’ve each done both. He was a pretty decent guy and it made the flight go by faster. However, my body is telling me it is 3:30am and I have been up for nearly 24 hours. I need sleep but wanted to make sure that today’s photos went up.
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