Saturday, September 18:
I wakened at 6 a.m. after glancing at the clock all night, every hour on the hour. Gleah. Such are the joys of fearing oversleeping, plus not trusting a hotel alarm clock... and in retrospect I was wise to do so, since it didn't go off when it was supposed to. However, Jenny had set an alarm on her phone (smart girl). Since I'd packed the night before, I had little else to do but throw all the leftover stuff into my bags, surrender my keycard to the hotel staff, hail a cab and get to LaGuardia.
Goodbye, Manhattan. Goodbye, Duane Reade. Goodbye, Hotel Newton. (Or, to most of its patrons, "Au revoir, Hôtel Newton.")
By the way, the cabbie I flagged down got me to LaGuardia in record time. GO NEW YORK CABBIES!
I had to wait for a boarding pass because the automated kiosk couldn't find my info, which made me nervous. Finally, after doing the TSA Shuffle, I arrived successfully at my gate. Picked up a chocolatine, a bottle of milk, a Godiva bar and a ballpoint pen (my little mishap with the pen earlier on the trip had taught me something), then ate my makeshift breakfast while waiting around for boarding.
There were two flights on this leg of the trip: one from LaGuardia to Denver, another from Denver to Seattle. I spent most of the first part of the LaGuardia-Denver flight catching flies (I'm so not a morning person) and the second in the bulkhead restroom (I'll get you for this, Carnegie Deli!). Soooo... fun.
Denver Airport was, um, Denveresque. To be honest, I was mostly just happy for a quality restroom break. When the flight attendant got on the PA and announced boarding for the flight "to the Emerald City," even though I've heard the city's nickname five hundred times, the first thing that popped into my head was "SURRENDER DOROTHY!"
This flight was extremely full, so I took a chance and gate-checked my carry-on, an exercise ordinarily fraught with danger. (This time was no exception; my shampoo and conditioner popped open from the pressure and turned my makeup bag into a mess of pilar laving goop. Live and learn.)
On the second flight back, I began to reflect on home and family. Time spent away -- whether in New York or England or Utah or wherever it happens to be -- is always an adventure, but it also tends to exhaust me. I've discovered this year that I don't do very well out of my element. With that said, I felt a lot more calm and grounded this time than I did on my previous two visits to New York. I'm getting a better sense of where things are in Manhattan, how to use public transportation, etc., and knowing how to proceed goes a long way toward curing anxiety issues stemming from unfamiliarity. If I'm smart, I will start spending more of my mornings out and about, exploring more of the local environs, in an effort to build up internal courage and quell anxiety.
Hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer... wait, never mind.
Captain Midnight picked me up at the airport. He brought Miss V, who had stayed in the car (apparently walking all the way to baggage claim is exhausting). Once we'd finally located my gate-checked bag, we went back to the car, picked up some lunch and headed home.
My own sweet bed. How I've missed you. And Captain Midnight. And the Puget Sound rain. Ahhhh.