I find myself this evening at the end of a very long day — one that started yesterday. I had a red-eye flight from Seattle to Baltimore via Detroit, that left at 22:00 PST and arrived at 08:15 EST. Perhaps I should back up a bit.
My day started around 08:00 PST yesterday, as I woke up, saw Amanda off to the first day of her sub-internship, and set to work coding and analyzing data. Between rain and the season, it got dark at around 16:30. In the evening, everyone came home, I packed, dinner came and went, and Amanda drove me to the Seattle airport. You might think that my day would have ended sometime shortly thereafter.
What actually happened was that I caught about two hours of sleep on the three-hour flight, and was booted out of my cozy seat into the sleepy mid-field terminal in Detroit. I had only ever been in that terminal when it was a bustling hub of travelers. Normally, giant (50-foot?) screens show CNN for you to watch ten gates away, with speakers dispersed everywhere, hundreds of people walk by in a few minutes, and restaurants and stores beckon you in. Lately, I pass my time there by watching this fountain.
At 04:15, hardly anyone is there. The screens and speakers are mercifully off, and all of the restaurants and shops except McDonald’s are closed. It is surreal. Slowly, as I wandered through this foreign place, things came to life. Most of the shops and restaurants opened at 05:00. I acquired breakfast. By 05:45, I was sitting at the gate, watching “Jay and Slient Bob Strike Back” on my laptop. A sudden assault on my senses began — a quick look at a clock confirmed my suspicion that it all turned on at precisely 06:00 EST. The drive-in theater sized screens sprang to life. The CNN Crawl snaked(snook?) across the bottoms of the screens in foot-high letters. The endless stream of inane talking-head babble was forced into my ears, past my in-ear headphones.
Shortly thereafter, I boarded the plane and had a cup of coffee. I had given up on creating any lasting separation between the days. They were separated by a mere two hours of intermittent sleep, which were quickly forgotten. Only now, 32 hours after I woke up, do I feel like the true end of yesterday is arriving. Hopefully, tomorrow things will feel a bit more uh, … correct.
(1) You “acquired” breakfast? 😉
(2) … and now you can draw on this experience to have more empathy for Amanda when she is post-call….
OK, I guess acquired is a strange word for it, but it’s shorter than “purchased then ate”.