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College Place

Started: 2004-06-12 12:03:25

Submitted: 2004-06-12 12:21:50

Visibility: World-readable

Kiesa and I got up entirely too early yesterday morning, which happened to be even earlier than our alarm was set. Due to some unforeseen and obnoxious circumstances, our neighbor decided to wake up at 0515 and turn on his or her tv. Since both of our windows were open, Kiesa and I could hear the tv, vaguely, although not enough to actually make any sense out of. (In the past I've heard the X Files theme, probably from the same tv.) I didn't actually manage to get any sleep before our alarm went off, for real, at 0545. We had enough time to shower, arrange anything we forgot to grab the previous evening, and toss our stuff into Yoda, leaving the Temple of Castor and Pollux right on time at 0615. I didn't want to deal with north Denver's Interstate traffic (even with the new bridge connecting US-36 to I-270, cutting two kilometers each of I-25 and I-76 out of our airport course), so I elected to pay the US$5.25 in tolls to take the Northwest Parkway and E-470 to Pena Boulevard and DIA. We parked in Pikes Peak shuttle parking (US$5/day) and caught the shuttle bus to the terminal, where we waited in an epic queue to check in (which fortunately gave me enough time to remember that I still had my pocket knife in my pocket; I quickly transfered it to my checked baggage) and another epic queue through security onto Concourse A. (Upon seeing the epic queue, I wondered if main security would be faster, but I didn't feel inclined to check.) Kiesa gave me the opportunity to declare that we would arrive only ninety minutes before our flight, instead of the recommended 120 minutes, so we didn't have to get up half an hour earlier. (Which turned out to be when I woke up anyway, but that's besides the point.) We got to the gate at 0800, when general boarding was starting, ten minutes before they started boarding our row. I felt vindicated; Kiesa was a little more dubious.

Not all that long ago I concluded that I enjoy flying, but it freaks me out. Intellectually I understand the physics that make flight possible (the shape of the wings exploits the Bernoulli principal by creating a low-pressure zone above the wing, thereby creating lift), but I still find it unnerving when the aluminum can I'm sitting in, twelve thousand meters above sea level, starts shaking. I practiced my relaxation exercises and reminded myself that a little shaking was normal and the two-hour, fifteen-minute flight went fine. We flew a new Airbus A-319 that featured individual LCD panels on the seat backs; one could pay US$5 to get access to live DirecTV (the listing of channels didn't appeal to me; I probably would have paid for SciFi), or just watch the in-flight situation display with frequent ads.

The best part about flying into Portland is fifteen minutes before the plane lands when the plane descends through the clouds and drops under the cloud layer, providing a magnificent view of the eastern suburbs of Portland and the Columbia River.

I'm wandering off to church now, so I'll continue this later.