(note: After this post, I am done talking about white, fat, pasty people. My obsession was fuelled by my anger at my brother. I have to let it go.)
I've spent the last three days staring at white, fat, pasty people in Bloomington and a fourth staring at a mix of tourists and white, fat, pasty people in Chicago. On Friday, I'm renting a car and driving eight hours to Minneapolis where Jeremy has graciously offered to let me crash at his house and to give up a whole weekend to show me around. But first things first: Friday's flight:
The following was written Sunday morning
Time spent in airports seems to go by faster than time spent in any other place. Has anyone ever noticed, or is it just me? Have you ever arrived at an airport with an hour to spare and you barely have time to check in and get through security, to pee and buy a $2.75 bottle of water before they’re boarding section 1 at your gate? This always seems to be the case.
The flight to Atlanta was smooth. I sat between two men and didn’t speak to either one. Layover in Atlanta hell. I hate that fucking airport. Huge airports bother me with all their Cinnabons and Newsracks and nasty smoking lounges, tiny, glass-enclosed rooms filled with smoke and walls the color of the smokers’ faces. When I was a smoker, I looked forward to smoking lounges in general, but, in particular, I found them offensive. It seems like whoever designed the rooms designed them specifically so the smoke hangs in the air right on and above each smoker so he/she reeks of cigarette smoke the maximum amount possible upon exiting the so-called lounge. I managed to bypass the lounge near my gate with only a twinge of a craving and ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and large fries at Wendys. Starving. Took my treasure to my gate and scarfed it as fast as I could before heading to Newsrack #2,429 and buying a $2.75 bottle of water.
Gulped that down as quick as possible and boarded the plane not long after. This time, I had a window seat aboard a 10-row plane (a small small small one) next to some guy who was obscenely obese and smelled like old Fritos. While his body could have taken up more than half my space as well, he at least attempted to pack himself into as small a space as possible. The result still included me squishing myself up against the window.
Toward the end of the flight, just when I was praying for death, death almost came. The plane hit some turbulent air and we dipped and dove and swayed side to side. I didn’t cry, but I almost always do in situations such as these. It’s like I can taste death, and death is bitter - like me. But I guess a plane crash would be one of the best ways to go. As you’re on your way down, it must feel like a really long rollercoaster. That’d be cool. And once you hit, you won’t feel much for very long. Hopefully. Quick endings are always best, especially the final one.
While the plane was dipping and diving, the crew (one steward. remember, small plane) turned on some overhead muzac. Some kind of Renaissance Festival version of “We Wish you a Merry Christmas” – all flutes and mandolin. I couldn’t help but sing "bring me some figgy pudding” over and over in my head. That wasn’t my choice of last music, but I guess chanting the words "figgy" and "pudding" moments before impact would be better than their alternatives: "oh fuck" and "oh shit."
As we got closer to Bloomington, the farmland appeared – a patchwork quilt of dark green, medium green, light green, black and brown. Roadways appeared exactly one square mile apart and ran north/south and east/west creating well-demarcated sections of one-square-mile slabs of land viewed clearly from above. Dark dark green rows of vegetation snaked throughout. Turns out Frito man is an ex-farmer whose daddy once also farmed the 1,000 acres 20 minutes north of Bloomington that are now his.
Farmers don't make such a good living anymore, though, he said, so he leases his land for $180 per month per acre to a single woman who farms the whole 1,000 acres herself. Apparently, the green squares mean corn. The black squares mean soybeans, and the dark dark green twisting curvatures of land indicate the presence of foliage meant to transport water from one area to the next. Hay, said Frito man, is also grown in these parts. And of the corn grown here, 80 to 90 percent of it is trucked to Texas to feed cows, pigs, chickens and other livestock. The things you can learn on a plane if you just ask.
Corn farms in Bloomington, Illinois:
I wonder what this used to be:
Note: I had a huge problem with this post involving disappearing photographs and weird text and whatever, so I had to delete the original and create a new post. Comments to the original were lost in the transfer.