On the whole…

I’m at Gate C22 of the Philadelphia airport. We drove to Albany last night, slept at a hotel, and left our van there as we caught a shuttle to the airport at 5:45 a.m. We fly here, and discovered that US Air was offering round-trip vouchers to volunteers who surrender their seats. I sent Elvi and kids ahead and took the voucher. I’m on a flight that leaves at 7:45 p.m. today.

I did not tell the ticket agent, “On the whole, I’d rather stay in Philadelphia,” but I should have. How often will that opportunity, fraught with comedic potential, come again?

US Air overbooked the flight, but ultimately that’s not why I was not on it. It was a weight issue. The passengers had too many bags. In addition to the free ticket, US Air provided a $10 meal voucher. In airport terms, that’s a slice of pizza.

Some observations:

– Not that it implies causation or even correlation, but very single person I’ve seen in a Santa hat at airports today has not looked like the sharpest point on the rack.

– This stuttering laptop is driving me *@^#$*(@# crazy. No obvious cause shows up in the Task Manager, neither in CPU or memory usage. It’s not the network card, because it happens with the card removed. Virus scans show nothing. The only straw left for me to grasp is a horribly fragmented hard drive.

– A very cute flight attendant just walked by, talking to another flight attendant: …”You’ve never been to Montreal? Really, an above average number of really attractive people.”

– Free wireless in airports is awesome.

– A man came up to me to ask me about WiFi because he just bought a computer in the airport. He peppered me with questions, which I was able to answer. Only after he left did it occur to me that that might have been the perfect scam, because he had my complete attention. Fortunately, my carry-on bag is still on the floor beside me.

– When US Air offers return-trip vouchers, it’s for travel within the 48 contiguous American states only.

Brain games

As Elvi drove us in Minivan One to her aunt’s place for our postponed Christmas-y dinner Monday night, she and I chatted with Children Two and Three while Child One read in the back seat.

I don’t remember what we were discussing, but Child Two mentioned that when she’s in a car, she chooses a spot and makes it jump. Child Three said he did, too. Elvi was confused, but without ever having discussed this before with the kids, I knew exactly what they were talking about.

I explained that you can choose a speck of dirt on the car window and, using parallax, you can make it “jump” over bushes, cars, fences, or any feature of the scenery you’re driving by. I did it too when I was younger. I was right.

I welcomed my darling children to the world of mild OCD. I didn’t tell them I sometimes softly click my teeth between streetlights – although, curiously, only when I’m a passenger, never when I drive. There’s time enough for them to adopt that habit by themselves.

Elvi was flabbergasted that the three of us had this game in common. It has to be a function of neurology and not nurture, because all three of us developed the habit independently.