Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mythcon Day 0 (Thursday): From MI to OK

Our travels plans for today were to fly out of Flint at 3:30 p.m. and end up in Oklahoma City at 10:30 p.m. We eventually arrived in OK City, but things didn't quite go as planned.

Our flight from Flint to Detroit was good but the plane was very warm. Our first clue that it would be a warm flight was when the pilot welcomed us to "Northwest Sauna." I was glad I had tossed a battery-operated hand-held fan in my flight bag at the last minute (in case of air conditioner- or power-failure). I was really annoyed that decided to wear jeans and a medium-weight silk polo shirt. My friend Nathan convinced me that the air conditioning would be so cold (to compensate for the extreme Oklahoma heat) that I'd want jeans and probably a sweater. I about died of heat stroke on the plane! I was ready to mug someone for a pair of shorts and a tank top -- and there were lots of potential victims. Everyone else I saw all day was dressed much more sensibly than I!

When we got to Detroit they rolled out the covered walk to the plane and the darn thing broke. It wouldn't open or move. We sat around in a hot plane while they tried to fix it. We offered to exit the plane via the emergency slides but the stewardess thought we were kidding. Just as they decided to move the covered hallway and use the open air stairs to the ground, a huge rainstorm broke. Fortunately, at that point they fixed the covered hallway and we were able to deplane.

Judy and I enjoyed walking around Detroit Metro a bit, then took the people mover to the end of Concourse A and had a nice dinner at Quiznos. I'd never been through the tunnel that leads to Concourse A: its sides are lighted with panels of multi-colored lights which change to the accompanying music. It was beautiful, sort of like the northern lights.

After dinner we found our gate a settled down to wait... and wait ... and wait for our flight. It was delayed twice and the gate was changed twice. We left nearly four hours late (almost 10 p.m.). I'm so glad I was traveling with Judy! Having someone to visit with made the wait much nicer.

The flight to OK City was good. I don't think I've ever flown at night. I could see the nearly-full moon and the cities under light cloud cover looked like Christmas lights shining through snow. I even got to see what a t-storm looks like from above! Very cool. The only down side (besides being exhausted) is that Judy and I were very crowded in seats obviously not made for tall or large people. I was so glad when we finally landed so I could stretch my legs! Unfortunately, when we did we were delayed again because another plane was at our gate. And they turned off the air at first so the plane was very warm.

By the time we finally deplaned, got our rental car, and got to the hotel (the Red Roof Inn near the OK City airport) it was 3 a.m. I hadn't slept well Wed. night due to the lightning so I was more than ready drop into bed.

Warning: Arachnophobes stop reading now.

When I flipped back the bedcovers I developed a whole new sympathy for my acrophobic husband: I found the biggest spider I've ever seen in my life. It was nearly the size of a quarter!

After nearly having a heart attack I called Judy to ask for advice. Then I called the desk and asked the nice young man who checked us in to come kill the big nasty spider. He had to dismantle the bed down to the floor to get it but I didn't care. That just assured me that Mr. Humungous Garden Spider wasn't living with all his family and friends under my bed. The nice guy not only put my bed back together (with military corners), he shook out each layer of bedding (including taking the pillows out of the pillowcases) so I'd know there were no more spiders -- and he wouldn't let me tip him! I told everyone at the desk this morning how impressed I was and got a business card so I can write a letter to his manager. His name is Ryan and he just got out of the Army and he didn't make feel like a whimp!

Despite exhaustion and knowing the room was spiderless, I had trouble falling asleep. All I could think about was spiders. First, I tried to relax and picture something pleasant, like my cats (who would have killed the spider for me...). Crap.

Next, I tried to meditate using a guided meditation on my iPod. "Imagine you are sitting on a cliff looking over the ocean..." (where there are no spiders). "Now imagine the sunrise..." (now I can see that there are no spiders). Crap.

Third, I scrolled through my iPod for something else to listen to. I lamented loading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (the one with the spiders!) on my iPod. Crap.

Finally, I decided to listen to The Fellowship of the Ring. I chose the "Lothlorien" chapter because our characters find a safe -- and spiderless -- haven there. Finally feel asleep. Woke up repeatedly because the bed was too hard. Kept listening to "Lothlorien" to keep away the spiders. Thank God for audio books!

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