Wednesday, July 04, 2007

leavin on a jetplane (6.13-6.14)

ok folks here is part 1 of my boston adventures. the rough draft for the whole trip? 5259 words. that's why i'm breaking this shit up, for you AND me. there are some repeats between what i wrote out here, plus what i included from journals on my trip. hopefully they are entertaining, and still read well the 2nd time around. :-p

also i must say, it's been a lot of fun writing this on independence day, since so much of this trip's history revolved around the american revolution. to visit so many sites from such a formative period in our truly filled me with patriotic pride, and believe me, that's saying a lot.

wednesday, june 13
god what a crazy day this was. i wisely arranged to work from home, both due to my nighttime departure and that min was getting an endoscopy that day. although the endo took much longer than planned, it was also MUCH smoother than the previous time (which was almost a complete disaster) so even though it messed with my planning for the day, having her test go well was a real blessing. even if the results of the test were not great (she's probably going to need more surgery on her esophagus).

after that we got her sister lori (who stayed over while i was out of town) and we got home maybe 2 hours before i had to leave for the airport and i wasn't even packed and showered. somehow i pulled it off and we got to the airport at 720pm, 90 minutes or so before my flight. it was baking hot that day so i couldn't stand the thought of eating dinner, at least not until i got into that air-conditioned food court.

i did this trip on the cheap, in the extreme. we had just spent a lot on our cambria trip so i was a little strapped. anyway i mention this now because i started off cheap: a kid's meal at burger king. :-o

that was more about being mildly hungry than frugal, but believe me, i can pinch pennies. i have been poor, i know how to squeak by. afterwards i figured i might as well get the security checkpoint business over with. i'd left everything questionable out of my carryon bag, although i got points deducted for forgetting to take out my cell phone on the first pass, as well as not remembering to take off my shoes.

Security Chick: Shoes.

Me: Yes?

SC: [points to my feet]

Me: What about them?

SC: Take them off.

Me: [blushing]

blushing because this is when i remember liz telling me to wear shoes that come off easily, because i will need to be sansashoes. oops.

on the other side of security was my boarding gate. at that point there were plenty of seats so i decided to write.
6.13 750pm
i'm waiting at gate c8, flight leaves in an hour. meantime i'm having fun people watching. got the burgeoning female exec with her laptop and too many bags trailing behind, plus a baggy floral print shirt drenched in sweat. now there's another female exec, buttoned-down, trim with 2 tiny, expensive bags hanging from her hands, and white blonde hair striking against her uber-tan skin, bordering on red.

i am a little red today. my veins are still popped out from the heat, which was an unwelcome surprise today. it must've been at least 90 degrees today, but whatever the temp, it just about killed me with all the running around we had to do. min had her endoscopy today and as these things go, it went swimmingly. she didn't feel anything during, barely even the IV since they got her in one poke. one! she's starting a trend, i believe that's the 3rd time in a row.

just saw a budding rock star - or more likely, country. cool, blonde hair, goatee, and a good sized guitar case, which means acoustic. no metallica for you.

the girl behind me is resting her head on my shoulder. it's an accident of course but it's sweet.

this really is a good way to see a cross-section of folks. at least, folks who can afford to fly, which i have to imagine is a $100 minimum.

well, now a woman just walked by who looks like she couldn't even afford that. disheveled hair, long and greyed, older than old sweatshirt and bag, muttering to herself. hmm.

a puppy! terrier or maybe griffin? i forget the name, but tiny (smaller than pearl), shaggy and grown. mom was holding her close, now she's in a soft carrier. so cute.

so we have everyone here. young, old, short, tall, wealthy, poor and critters.
time to fly. and so i say: jetblue, i love you. you are comfy, you have good snacks, and you let me watch the best shows ever without leaving my seat. also later, while unsucessfully trying to sleep, i also found out how to make money on the internet. a truly compelling program.

thursday, june 14
finally we arrived in bostonia around 6am. since i planned to subway my way around, i got me a 7 day pass outside the baggage claim and headed over to the subway shuttle. the subway station was actually kind of nice. high glass ceilings, beautiful light coming in, and down where the trains came in, endless brick. my first taste of bricky love.

while waiting, i see that my line's final destination is wonderland. i really wish i would've gone there, i was so curious what it was like. i'm grooving on the names of everything, they're so old. like alewife. then i think, ciderspouse rules?

since i've never ridden the subway before, and i have to take 3 lines to get to the hostel, i was a little nervous. it really was so simple though, they really do a great job with the directions. by my middle stop (switching to green, government center i believe?) i have already seen my 5th dunkin donuts shop. those guys were everywhere.

exiting the subway and into the light again, i am loving the smell of the city. sure it's a little dirty, old, and tired - but there's also this reverberation of energy. the pulse of life zooming and angling around me.

i check my map like crazy to make sure i'm going the right direction. see the berklee college of music where my college roommate kelly went briefly, i believe. i hope she is still playing music, i haven't heard from her for a few years.

i turn down the block, another left and voila - hostel! i register, check out my bunk and locker, freshen up briefly then out the door and back on the train to do my service!

and by service i mean the convention i'm supposedly out here for, eBay Live. security incorrectly routed me and several other folks to the wrong side of the building for registration. finally got there though, and met more...inefficient planning in the self-registration booths. anyway, that complete, i called the other coworker who's on this trip. she's running late, so we agree to hook up later. i went to a class, then down to the booths to meet Coworker. we chat, and talk about meeting for dinner (we never did). i go get lunch, attend another few classes, then hit the booths. since now i'm killing time until the keynote ceremony, i sit down to write:
6.14 227pm
well just like yesterday we have an amazing amount of diversity here at the show. people are determined to affix Every Button Possible to their shirt, coat, suitcase, lobster hat or colonial outfit. or maybe stick it to a crazy tall hat with dangly things on them. apparently this is the place if you want to dangle.

there is a preponderance of significantly overweight older white women here. sure there's kids, couples, white, asian, everything under the sun. but there are a TON of the chubby older white women in their gaudy floral print shirts, roller backpacks trailing behind them, blinking away with swag.

there are also just a lot of people who are really excited to be here. crowds hovering intently around a new credit card booth, others fixated at the possibilities offered by a drop shipper, and still more entranced by keyword optimizers. all completely uninteresting to me, but they are riveted. in that way, this is about what i expected and i am definitely bored, so i'm glad i never bothered going to this before. i'm glad i came of course, just to see it. this other world is stunning.

at lunch i overheard a couple discussing what they'd learnt so far that day. mostly the man was being pedantic to the woman ('everyone knows how to do 'x'') but beyond that arrogance it was fascinating the attention they were giving this topic -- idiosyncrasies of international shipping and their payments -- as if it were the most compelling topic on earth.

which it is not. at least not to me. but wow.

oh and additional swag is ribbons! indicating your ebay prowess as a buyer, seller, whatever. some of these ribbon banners go to the floor. pretty awesome.
finally it was keynote time, through which i got free dinner, woo! score one for the penny pincher. and finally got to try dryer's (edy's) nibs. oh my. those are dangerous. i found out that there are people with over 100k feedback. holy shit.

got bored to tears with the wooden speeches and value adds, plus hi, i'd been going nonstop since yesterday morning at this point, so i bailed at the end of the paypal speech. subway'd back to my room where i thought i'd crash but apparently i needed to wind down. and wind down a lot because i read this for at least 2 hours before going to sleep.

compelling book? not really. in fact, i almost put the book down because of tedious dialogue and a typo (their/they're) on page 9. yes, even 3 weeks later i remember it was on page 9. that's how much typos cheese me.

i also talked a bit to my lower bunkmate, a fellow conference attendee and budding ebay seller, from philadelphia. she said in the latter part of the keynote, they kept talking about win-something.

me: what?
her: you know those things you get when you feel real good?
me: ...
me: you mean, endorphins?
her: yes! but they called them windorphins
me: somebody's been thinking too hard.

anyway after talking and reading, i finally crashed. sleeping wasn't too bad although going to the bathroom in the middle of the night was tricky (down ladder, don't forget room key, amble down hall, come back, remember how to use key, grab ladder appropriately so as to not fall, put key back in easy to remember spot). then i woke up and it was time to write again.


gs said...

You were travelling on business, right? I'm a little puzzled as to why you had to be so frugal. When my company has us travel, it puts us up and feeds us pretty well. The idea is that it's to make up in part for the inconveniences and disruptions that the travel is causing. You had to pay your own way?

That windorphins thing is downright disturbing. ;)

heather said...

the only thing they paid for ahead of time was the flight. i'll be getting reimbursed shortly for the rest, but yeah, i still had to shell out at the time. admittedly that sucked, but i had an amazing time just the same.