{ Sunday, November 28, 2004 }

Dumpstered Tofurky.

I didn't sleep Wednesday night. I didn't feel like it. I... really don't have a better answer than that.

At five am, I started packing. My plane was leaving at seven thirty. I worried a bit about my lack of packable, warm, dress-up clothes. I decided to wear my green khakis, they're a little ratty, but they fit me so well and even create the illusion of an ass. I paired that with a sweater, concluded I looked like I got dressed in 1998, and decided it would do.

I drove to the cash machine and then the airport. I wanted to park in the lot right next to the terminal, but that one was closed, so I had to drive all the way back across the airport to the other lot. When I got there, I was informed I would have to pay two extra dollars per day and park in the garage since that was the only space with parking. Whatever.

I parked. I found the elevator, the bus, the check-in counter, tickets, the line for security.

I put my stuff in a tub. The woman working on the other side of the conveyer belt informed me that those tubs were not for me to use. She moved my stuff into one that had someone else's stuff already in it. He jumped about ten feet into the air and put his in his other tub.

I took out my laptop and gave it a tub. Then she had me put all of my stuff. My coat, my sweater, my boots, purse, travel bag, all of it in the one tub. I walked through the metal detector and passed.

Then I grabbed my stuff in the madcap end of security dash to get out of the thousands of other people's ways. There was a knife in the bottom of the tub. Not a pocket knife, an actual knife knife.

Ask yourself, "Self, what's my biggest security nightmare when flying?" I would have to say "A knife that is not mine being at the bottom of my tub" is pretty high up there, wouldn't you? I immediately turned to the nearest TSA employee "This isn't mine." I said, without touching the knife.

I was searched. Fortunately, the guy in front of me also stopped and admitted his stuff had been in there too, but that wasn't his knife either. He and I were both searched. It was very scary. I questioned the reasoning behind this, since I had reported the knife AFTER it made it through the x-ray machine, under all my other stuff.

After that I managed to buy my "bad airline reading material" (Skipping Christmas if you care. It was totally readable but is not to be confused with literature. The last plane ride was The Red Hat Club, same review) and get on the plane. The flight was uneventful, I managed to finish my book and write 1500 words of the novel.

Shelly picked me up. There was some drama when I landed myself at "departures" since she was at "arrivals". "I'm under the Alaska Air sign. I'm right on the curb."

"I don't see you. What are you wearing?"

"A big blue bag and a brown sweater and green pants. I'm right on the curb."

"I don't see you. Step out into traffic."

"No. I'm on the curb. Directly in front of the... oh, wait, that's curbside check-in. I'm at departures."

"Try one floor down."

When I saw her, I was instantly relieved of any pressure to look nice. She was wearing a pair of pants that mostly consisted of stains and patches and didn't come down to her ankles and an ill fitting pink sweater.

We went to her house before the breakfast. A bunch of her friends had surprised them by coming up from Sacremento for the holiday. The next thing I knew, I was one of eight people in an early nineties model Accord driving to breakfast.

Breakfast was good. There were a million people there and two adorable cats. We had a nice time hanging out. Her friends were all of the dirty vegan make-your-own-clothes anarchist variety. They were all very, very nice to me. They really were very sharp, fun people to be around.

We hung out for the afternoon and then headed over to the potluck dinner. First, they had to get dressed. My sister and her friend Goblin (that is not a pseudonym, that's how she was introduced to me) decided to be Thanksgiving Pirates. It had something to do with Pirates and Pilgrims sharing the same values. There were sharpie'd on beards and homemade eyepatches involved. Seriously. Thanksgiving Pirates.

The anarchists were not serving in a timely manner. We hung out awhile. I talked to a nice boy who grew up in Tucson. Dinner was served and it was really good. It's so nice to have a Thanksgiving dinner where I could eat everything.

Shelly and I shared a piece of vegan pumpkin pie and talked to Mom and then I went upstairs to curl up on my coat and get some sleep. I'd been up for more than 36 hours at that point. It was very cold upstairs, and I ended up zipping my sweater up and pulling it over my head so I could sleep.

We went back to her house and I went straight to bed in the sleeping bag on the floor of her room.

When I woke up it became very clear that there were thirteen people and one bathroom in her house. I got directions to a coffee shop from Shelly and loaded up the laptop and headed down there. There was no internet, but there was a nice latte and a bagel and more novel to be written.

I met them at "the everything store" down the street. (Them being Shelly and Goblin) Shelly bought a pink Huffy Capris ten speed for twenty-five dollars and three old books. While we were trotting back to her house, my bag broke. The straps on one side ripped out. Very sad.

After that, we headed to the Goodwill in a pack of eight or nine. I found a nice sweater that I will wear to work once a week for the rest of my life (it's camel, as is most of my work wardrobe really). I also bought a couple books and my sister was adamant that I NEEDED the Say Anything soundtrack and a Pat Benetar tape. So, I got those too.

Her friends had a nice haul, which they did not pay for. They shoplifted at the Goodwill, y'all. While we're talking about this, they also get the vast majority of their groceries from the dumpsters of grocery stores. I can't talk about it too much, it makes me crazy.

We hung out at her house for a little while, and then she had to go to the Post Office to pick up some mail. Her friends were headed to a coffee shop with free wireless internet. I decided to go along with them. Shelly was having dinner with her boss and a former worker and her family a few blocks away. She said she'd call and then pick me up.

The dinner was very nice. Her boss is fun and the member's children are the three most perfect, beautiful angel children in the world. It's really amazing.

We rounded out Friday night with a game of Scrabble that all fell apart when someone had been thinking too much and had to toss the board onto the floor. Then there was much dancing and laughter and mindless merriment. I went to bed a little after midnight.

Yesterday we milled around and thought very hard about breakfast before finally having some granola and soy milk. Then we rounded up the troops, piled eighty-five deep into the Accord (not my sister's car, we did have two cars at the house) and headed downtown to Powell's World of Books. Shelly convinced her friends that they didn't want to steal from Powell's.

I got a bunch of books and then met back up with Shelly. She was still looking for something.

"I've kind of stopped reading."

"What? Why?"

"I don't know. I think I'm all literature'd out."


"I know. Right now I only buy books that I want to own, not anything I want to read. How sad is that?"

"That's really very sad."

(This is when the man standing next to us started laughing)

"I would like to get this book and make [her boyfriend, I guess he's still her boyfriend] read it. That's what I do now. He reads for me. It's great."

"I guess so."

"It is. I just give him books and then he tells me about them. Like little book reports. I think I'm post-literate now."

(This is when the man had to turn around because he was crying from the laughter)

We left Powell's and found a very nice vegetarian Chinese restaurant to have dinner in. I immediately got on the phone trying to find someone to get into my e mail and tell me when the plane was leaving. Shelly suggested I just start calling 800 numbers that seemed to be approximately ALASKA AIR. I eventually did hit upon the right one. Once I'd determined when my flight was, she checked her voicemail and returned cals. We're the rudest rude people ever.

Then we talked to Mom. We're the rudest rude family ever.

That was pretty much it. We went back, I crammed my twenty thousand new books into my suitcase, Shelly fixed my bag for me, and then I headed back to Phoenix where I only share the bathroom with my cat...

The Fine Print:

2003: "Five years ago today, my mother's mother died."

2002: The last Thanksgiving I spent at my sister's.

2001: "Anyone want a 21 year old boy? He's very housebroken. He can cook, but he doesn't clean well. And he gets high a lot."

posted by mary ann 7:19 PM