Friday, May 22, 2009

Exhausted in Albany

After a red-eye flight that left after yesterday's two-hour intern training program at the counseling center, I'm now sitting blearily in Albany via Phoenix and Newark. The most memorable bits are:

- how much I hate traveling on any airline that's not Southwest. The people are meaner, the seats are less comfortable, and in the Phoenix airport, I actually had to go back outside security and re-enter after taking a bus to a different terminal, because I was flying on two different airlines (US Air and Continental, btw)
- the 60 mini-parliamentarians on the Phoenix to Newark leg -- mostly girls, and approximately twelve years old, they were all wearing light blue shirts with pictures of the White House on them. I overheard a woman at the gate asking if she could be placed as far as possible from them in the airplane, but I just took an Ambien (for the first time in my life!), slipped on my eyemask, put in earplugs, and thrashed my way through a fitful four hours of sleep. I hate anything that's not Southwest. the seats even recline farther, or maybe they just feel like they do. Also their in-flight magazine is made of gold. And their planes fly on biodiesel.
- there was a small weimeraner puppy which got loaded last into the cargo bay of our turbo prop between Newark and Albany. He sat on the ramp, wagging his tail and inquisitively looking at everyone through his carrier, until they stuck him in the Scary Cold Dark Room Of No Oxygen And Also Death, which was directly behind us in the rear of the plane. We heard some tiny little yips for a while, straight through the back wall, and then some howling and moaning. Then nothing but turbo prop engines. And the next we heard was the baggage handler exclaiming, 'Oh my God, he's so cuuuuute,' clearly audible through the double-sealed windows. He was too.

Albany airport has a meditation room. I'm going to go sleep in it now. Until I catch a shuttle to Kripalu and my weekend of yoga and writing fun with my mom begins, shortly followed by my week of family festivities for my grandfather's 90th. Mostly right now I feel like I'm bobbing up and down cause I'm so tired. When your own body has tides, it's not such a good thing. or possibly I'm just rocking back and forth and my brain hasn't noticed yet.

Edited to add:

I feel so much better, although still weird, possibly due to the fact that I thought I would sleep better if I took the second half of the Ambien cause the first one must have worn off in the intervening flight, right? I mean, I took it at like 10:40PST and slept until 6am EST, and then took a WHOLE SEPARATE FLIGHT and landed in Albany and asked the extremely friendly old people if they had a "lounge or a retreat center, something like that," because I absolutely did not want to bring myself to say Meditation Room if that was just a colloquialism.

Instead he said, "Oh, our Meditation Room is right over there!"
Right. I walked right past it.

Inside, it was dark and had curving wooden benches, and a large wall screen that was peacefully lit with a low blue light. It was silent, and had meditation cushions and a prayer mate in the corner with a mark on the wall indicating East. There were Jewish prayer shawls and something that I'm not sure what it was for (a piece of black fabric?) and books of all religions. Inside, two people sat silently, meditating, one on a bench, and the other on a cushion with her palms gently open.

Then I braged in with my rolling suitcase and stole the other meditation cushion to sleep on, and lay down behind one of the benches, like a bag lady. I put on my ridiculous eye mask (which is actually Justin's, so if he's reading it, now he knows where it went), put in one earplug to ensure I would hear my alarm, and promptly fell asleep.

It was only when I woke up at noon, with three hours of sleep under my belt, that I realized someone could very easily have stolen my laptop if they wanted. I guess you don't do things like that in the Meditation Room.

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