Friday, March 17

Spring Break!

When we lived in Metropolis, we were 19 miles from the airport we generally flew out of (and that's according to Google Maps rather than as the crow flies). Here in Smallville, we live 72 miles from the airport we generally fly out of. Ironically, the difference between relying on mediocre public transportation and being able to drive it ourselves generally means that in both instances getting to t he airport took 90 minutes or so -- if anything, it's faster to get to the airport nowadays than it used to be, and certainly much easier than dragging bags on the trains and busses.

But despite this similar time to get to the airport, one crucial difference is that here in Smallville the college I work for has a shuttle service to take me to the airport. And since K. and I share a single car and I had a 10am flight last Friday, I took advantage of the college's transportation. Now, under normal circumstances they allow us faculty to pay a little more and get a private shuttle, but on the day before spring break they were rather taxed and so I had to ride with the commoners students down to the airport while all of our luggage would travel in a separate cargo van. Which didn't sound like a big deal when they first told me, but when I arrived at the shuttle stop to find that I would be on a bus with 25 students, 22 of whom were about to spend a week backpacking and
rock-climbing together, and none of whom had slept the night before and several of whom still reeked of whatever beverages they had been drinking the night before -- well, suffice it to say that it was not the most pleasant shuttle ride as the students (none of whom were actually my students, thank god, though one was someone I failed last semester, adding ever so slightly to the awkwardness) partied on the bus while I sat there reading my newspaper and trying to listen to the podcasts of Le Show instead of listening to their tales of wild R-rated exploits. At some point during this adventure the students mentioned that they were flying to Tucson for rock-climbing, which was also the location of the conference I was flying to, and I had panicky thoughts that I might also be on a plane with the loud and excited spring breakers, but it turned out that they were flying through ATL while I was going through PHX.

And then, of course, the shuttle broke down on the side of the road. Something about a tube breaking and smoke coming out the back and overheating and they weren't really sure what it was but somehow the bus we were on was stuck on the side of the road about halfway to the airport and the driver of the cargo van was making lots of panicked calls on his cell phone. And my flight was only an hour away.

Some sweet talking on my part convinced the shuttle drivers that I should go ahead on the cargo van to the airport while the spring breakers waited behind for the bus to be fixed, and so off we went, leaving the hung-over students on the side of the road as we went ahead to the airport, where I made my flight.

All in all, it was a very eventful trip to the airport (and, incidentally, a nice conference visit as well although the fact that I spent spring break doing math means that I didn't get any work done on house projects and I am not exactly re-energized for the second half of the semester, alas and alack.). But I'm still thankful that upon my return I was greeted not by the college shuttle but by K. and the minivan. Picking me up gave her an excuse to come into the big city and get into lots of trouble at IKEA and Target, but I'll let her tell those stories.


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