arcanamundi: (crazy stick man)
( Feb. 16th, 2009 12:38 pm)
I was up way too late last night, predictably enough. I don't imagine that I'd have been sleeping soundly even if I had managed to trundle to bed at a decent hour, but

Awesome pictures I missed:

The shoeshine guy asleep in his chair at the Indy airport
Pilot shaking a little boy's hand
A tiny Asian toddler in a red neckerchief with big white polkadots (I could have died, so cute!)
A tot who had to walk the gamut of about 20 adults lining the jetway, waiting for their wheelies. He didn't know exactly why all these tall people were lining the hallway, but he was clearly big-eyed and hesitant. Maybe three. His big kind of freaked out wonderment eyes were very cute, and it made me smile. He looked at me and stopped and said "BYE BYE LADY!" and marched off. 

Cleopatra, Geriatric Queen of De 'nial:

I finally made it to a Tim Horton's! 

I haven't ordered anything from it yet, but in another hour or so...

My chauffer from Classic Limousine this morning? Turned out to be an Aryan supremacist conspiracy theorist. I think I've mentioned this before, and people who only know me from my prickly, misanthropic internet writings may be surprised by it, but although I basically don't like people crazies of every stripe *really* like to talk to me. I feel like they *zero in on me* - like there's something about me which emits a green light to the garden variety wackadoodle.

Part of this is that I really like to get a look people's internal machinery, even though I basically don't like people. Maybe the one produces the other, and shouldn't be written as an "AND YET" type phrase. In the moment that I find myself face-to-face with a crazy person, I end up in this odd mental posture which is observing, and it seems to be a kind of encouragement. Later on I will be saying to myself "Merciful Zeus, what a fucking freakshow, and he looked so NORMAL, brrrr, scary supremacist brrrr" but at the time of the conversation, that crazy person will find nothing in my response that tells him to put on the brakes, to get off the topic, to move in a new direction, to step off.  He becomes more animated, pleased to have an engaged listener who is receptive to hearing his axioms and postulates. He talks so much and in such detail that when we arrive at the airport, the kind of talky trance that he has been in breaks, and suddenly he looks acutely uncomfortable. What if I call Classic Touch Limo and say to them "For the money, I'd really rather not be subjected to an hour long rant on the Jewish heritage of every president in the history of the United States, the Rothschild dynasty (fascinatingly, Rush Limbaugh is numbered by Jerry in the Rothschild conspiracy - RUSH is ALSO Jewish, which is why he supports Israel's constant violations of their legal borders and systematic extermination of entire Palestinan neighborhoods) and how Barack Obama is going to give America to Iran." What if the passenger does this? But the passenger knows perfectly well that she created the safe space, and wouldn't rat on someone for opening up when she wasn't sending out STFU signals. 

Being a conspiracy theorist must be a life of constant excitement and disapppointment. Never a dull thought.

A few words about Air Canada: based on my limited experience, it sucks ASS. I tried to buy a day pass to the Air Canada lounge, called the Maple Leaf Lounge or something, and I tried it this morning while I was waiting for my flight in Indy. I have never, ever, in all my actual life, interacted with a customer service rep for an *airline* as obstreperous, loud, and obnoxious as the woman I ran into. She screamed over me while I talked, and was just a total asshole. I was so tired and so uncaffeinated that I could barely speak above a murmur and was so chill and disembodied with sleepiness that I couldn't have been any calmer unless an actual coma was involved. I was just floating along peacefully trying to pole my raft into the damn Maple Thing Lounge. My persistence enraged her. I said: hey, look, you're really strident and it's affecting your credibility with me, I'd like to talk to a supervisor. And she starts screeching that I'm just upset because I'm not getting what I want. And I'm like "Hear me? I am calm. You, on the other hand, are screaming like a crazy person." I figured that what she was telling me (that I couldn't buy a daypass now and couldn't have ever) wasn't so much the truth as her just being an ass. Can I talk to a supervisor? Sure! And she hung up on me.  So I called back a second time and got some kid who said about the same thing "I'm SORE-eeeeee. I'm SORE-eeee." like a gleeful donkey. Can I talk to a supervisor? Sure! And he hung up on me. Now, the thing is, I have a hard time believing bad news when it comes from assholes. This is because assholes like to be shitty more than they like truth-telling. So I called back a third time, asked immediately for a supervisor, and talked to a really nice guy who understood totally why I would think the assholes were being lie tellers, because is there another airline on planet now that refuses to sell day passes? They are 'spensive as hell and I've never bothered with one before, but for this long a layover... you can just settle in. Food and drinks and the internet and television and a printer and all kinds of good stuff. If you have an eight and a half hour layover, that sounds pretty good. Instead I'm sitting in the lounge surrounded by The Humanity. And I am seriously not a fan of the humanity. The gorgeous baggage handler to my right excepted.

Another word about Air Canada: while I am basically a lover of the French language, the Quebecois accent hurts me real bad in the ear parts. I mean seriously: it isn't something I've ever heard at any length, and it sounds like French the way it might be spoken by a talking goose. From New Jersey. With a headcold. On speed. It's just HORRIBLE. I just came back from a three month stay in France and am still really habituated to the sound of French being spoken, and I could barely tell what the recorded Quebecois safety voice was saying. It just sounded like congested duck ronking. As Paula Abdul was so fond of saying a few seasons back on American Idol, it is really nasally up in their nasal. People think French is just a nasal language, and I guess that's true, but I've never heard a continental (or departmental) French accent that sounded even remotely this nasally up in the nasal. All relative!

I think there is some kind of emotional thing about Quebecois v. Regular French, because I tried to get some scoop on the differences from the guy sitting next to me and he got real weird about it. Totally the same, he said. Totally? Yes, he said. Other than some slang.

I'm thinking that's not quite right.

So I'm sitting here now and see a really lovely older couple and grab my camera to take a few portraits - and this table of 20somethings behind them think I'm taking pictures of THEM (of course) and get extremely freaked out, and all put on their sunglasses and start buffooning and gawping and acting like total dipshits, and one of the girls takes out a little powershot and starts taking pictures of ME to get "revenge" and "turn the tables", and it's just SO young people: it must be all about them! And it must be turned into Interpersonal Drama! Jesus Christ. I feel like humans between 16 and 30 just need to live on another fucking planet. You can come back to Earth and walk among the humans when you're sick of the functional retardation of the Yoof of Today. I am now sitting here deliberately goading them by letting my camera sit on the table pointed in their direction with the lens cap off and hooked up to my laptop. Because I too am an asshole, in my own way.

That's the report. IND-YYZ down, CDG-ORY-TXL to go.

Traveling while sleep deprived sucks. I slept fitfully for a couple of hours the night I left so my last full night's sleep is now  almost 60 hours behind me. I would have been better served, I think, by knocking myself out last night around 9 PM with a couple of stiff drinks and a Halcion, but I didn't want to be fighting a hangover or mental fuzziness, which is the predictable outcome for that kind of lullabye. What do you call a thing in which you're damned if you do or damned if you don't? A something something choice. The philosophers have a word for it that I usually know.

Air Canada really does suck at customer service, but the flight was nice. The seats were big, the plane was new (it had light effects that scared me at first - they lit up the top part of the plane in the same shade of blue as the sky above the when we were a couple hours away from Paris and it kind of gave me vertigo. In a good way. The meals were pretty good, the crew was great, and it was an uneventful flight. We got through I&C pretty fast and I went straight to a hotel. My flight to Berlin didn't leave til tonight, so I took a room at the Ibis for a few hours just to get a nap and a light lunch and a shower and change before continuing on to Orly. It was necessary and I'm really glad I remembered that Ibis had those day hourly rates because I nearly got hysterical thinking about having to do the whole 60 on my feet.

Orly was a freaking nightmare. I haven't flown out of there in more than 15 years. It was even worse than CDG - or close. I think the longest I've ever had to queue to get through security at CDG was 3 hours, and I was queued at Orly for security for nearly 3 hours, but with the added aggravation of it being in a really claustrophobic rat maze made of smoked plexiglass. It was a special kind of hell, seeing the hundreds of people and the snaking line and knowing that you're going to be standing in it for that long. I got frisked (they won't let you put your shoes in the scanner, so nearly *everyone* gets a full frisking and wanding, which you get to watch before it's your turn). The boarding for the flight was delayed although the board never changed. I'm sure they were just waiting for the rest of the plane to get through security.

Berlin Tegel was a breeze - tiny airport. In and out. Then I realized my phrasebook had fallen out of my pocket at some point (seriously, I should have known that would happen and I count myself lucky that it was my only loss in the first 48. I snagged a cab but it nearly spit me out as a fare when the driver realized I didn't know German to speak, but fortunately I was able to understand enough of what he was saying to react to it logically and we ended up getting on. I showed him the hotel address and he plugged it into his GPS and off we went. Conversing, hilariously. I can understand a good bit of the German spoken to me (thanks, German for Reading Comprehension! The most useless goddamn thing ever) but have no way to make sentences back. I have two verbs: haben, and essen. One person: first person singular. So on passing a really cool church that was bombed out during the war but restored with glass to show the bombing effects while creating a new inside, I wanted to know the name: Die kirchen! War nomen ist?   Of course now I can't remember the answer he gave me. A better example of my bad German was my reply to him when he asked me  why I came to Berlin if I didn't know any German:

Ich bin historichen mittelaltern! I said. Ich bin studien die handscriften latinischen im Deutchland!

He laughed. I'm sure it's very funny to listen to me, when it's not just ueber-frustrating word soup.

I need a new phrase book. Hopefully will find one sooner than later, but am waiting til I get to Braunschweig to worry about it.

I'm glad I started with Germany and Italy - get the hardest parts done first. The parts where I don't speak the damn language and talk like E.T.

Going to sleep now! Will upload some pics tomorrow.


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