2011 Vacation – Day 1
I can’t stand the commercials that play before movies in a theater (but for some bizarre reasons I feel like I’m late if I walk in during the coming attractions) so I make a point of arriving at a movie theater as close to the start time as possible. I take into consideration drive time and any potential lines at the ticket counter. I’ve turned timely arrival into an art form.
Conventional wisdom suggests this approach wouldn’t apply to air travel. Wait times at check-in counters and security checkpoints can an hour or more, especially during the holidays. With that in mind, I checked into my flight online yesterday afternoon and printed my boarding pass so I wouldn’t have to monkey with the ticket counter.
I hadn’t flown since April 2006, before the TSA instituted their 100mL rule for liquids so I had to procure the necessary items in tiny quantities and stuffed them into a plastic case my bed sheets came in, with a zipper top. I hoped that would suffice for their new rules.
Made good time on the drive down to DSM. Google’s directions to the airport seemed odd but I arrived on schedule. After parking in the long-term lot and being shuttled to the terminal by a chatty cathy, I headed straight for security and waited in line behind a whopping TWO PEOPLE before being waved through.
I was “randomly selected” for additional screening, which amounted to someone rummaging through my backpack for a minute. He gave me the okay, and my plastic case and liquids made the cut. No pat-down or x-ray scanning — my testicles made it through unmolested!
And then I wait. I wish Verizon supported tethering because I’m not giving Boingo my money for WiFi access. There was a pretty view to the west, of hills and trees beyond the runway. Some jackass at the opposite gate swore into a cell phone for over 15 minutes because security confiscated his lotion. I wanted to punch him in the face.
The flight arrived a half hour late. I took my window seat near the back and apprehensively watched the ground fall below me. As much as I convince myself that air travel is one of the safest forms of travel, I still get jumpy at the slightest bit of turbulence, which there was plenty of as we descended onto the Mile High City.
Took the neato underground train to the terminal and found Alex waiting for me. We drove to Aurora, unloaded my bags at his apartment, and then dropped him off at the college so he could finish up some work. With his car at my disposal, I drove around the neighborhood, following his directions to a nearby shopping area. I stopped at a King Sooper grocery store — it occupies a niche between ALDI and Kroger. Pick up a week’s supply of nourishment and drove back to get Alex.
We drove towards downtown Denver for a delicious Hot Italian sandwich at the Uptown Tavern, that looks a lot like the new Tony’s on the Parkade. We walked the neighborhood but found nothing else to our liking, so we drove a couple miles away to the Landmark Esquire, our destination for the evening.
Tonight’s movie: “The Tree of Life“, a magnificent, beautiful, raw film about the creation of the universe, the birth of life on Earth, life, grace, guilt, families, pain, growing up in the 50s, faith, God, death. It takes dedication to make it past the first 15 minutes, but anyone who has seen another Terrence Malick film will enjoy it.