This morning, I began a journey. It began in my home of Blacksburg, Virginia. It ended in Orlando, Florida. A lot has happened today. As I write these words, it’s late at night and I have, at this point, been awake for about 20 hours. I’ve had longer stretches without sleep. But sleep is calling me. The soft bed in my hotel room is shouting my name. But I really want to get this written before I sleep and lose it all to faded memories and weird dreams.
You might know that the east coast was hit with a pretty decent snow storm. Blacksburg was spared the brunt of this particular storm, but that doesn’t mean the roads were untouched. In fact, I was a little nervous thinking about making the early morning drive from Blacksburg to the Roanoke airport. I knew that the plows had made their way through my neighborhood, but they don’t spend a lot of time on those secondary roads. And the temperatures never got above the mid 20s after the snow stopped on Saturday. Overnight, those numbers were in single digits. So anything that could have melted in sunlight would have refrozen. So yeah, I was concerned to drive at 5:00 a.m.
But I did. Because my flight was scheduled to depart at 7:53 a.m. and they want you to check in at the airport at least 90 minutes early. I knew it would take longer than normal to get to Roanoke from my house. The struggle was getting out of the neighborhood. Everything else was pretty decent.
I’ve never flown out of Roanoke before. Hard to believe, seeing as how that’s the town where I was born and raised. But it’s true. And it’s not a large airport. The first leg of the trip was a flight to Charlotte where I would connect to another plane taking me the rest of the way. For that first short flight, I was on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on. Until today, every plane I’ve flown in had the fancy jet engines. This one had propellers.
When they started this thing up, the vibrations were incredible. I was a little afraid the plane was going to vibrate into a few thousand pieces before we were even in the air. At least if that happened, I wouldn’t be the guy that gets sucked out when a large hole opened up in the side of the plane. You see it happen in movies. The hull bursts open and they never follow the guy who’s thrown from the plane. Because he doesn’t stand a chance. He freezes to death high in the atmosphere. His head implodes from the sudden change in air pressure. He reaches terminal velocity and creates a crater. Could be anything, really. Wow, I need sleep.
Anyway, I didn’t talk to anyone on the plane. I didn’t talk to anyone as I waited at the gate in Charlotte. I’m just not that guy. I hear stories of people who love to travel and love to strike up conversations with random strangers. But I don’t do that. I read. I listen to audio books. Don’t get me wrong, if a stranger talks to me, I’ll talk back. But with that book in my lap, it’s a generally accepted sign that tells people I don’t really want to talk. I wonder if that’s something I should change when I fly back next week.
On my second flight, I developed a crush on the lead flight attendant in the two minutes it took me to board. It’s shallow, I know. But she looked like every gorgeous flight attendant they cast in every movie that takes place on planes. But I only saw her as I boarded and later deplaned, because she was in first class the whole time. I wouldn’t care if Carrie Underwood was the first class flight attendant, those seats are not worth the price you pay.
Any time I’ve come to Orlando in the past, it’s always been on the ground. This was my first time flying in. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to see Cinderella’s castle or the giant golf ball at Epcot while we were descending toward the airport.
When I got to Orlando, I found my rental car and made my way out of the airport. Which was a job in and of itself. And apparently I was doing it wrong. I got the finger from a guy who impatiently passed me because I dared to do the speed limit as I attempted to listen to my GPS. And who said there would be tolls! I had exactly $1.00 on me. And these Orlando toll booths don’t take cards. That dollar got me through the second booth, but the first one, where I owed $2.25 gave me bill that I have to pay within 10 days. So when I get home, I need to write Orlando a check for $2.25. Tolls are stupid.
Well, I’m here for the week. I’ll be heading back home on Saturday after a full seven days of training sessions. I’m not sure if I’ll write anything about my time here throughout the week. But if something interesting happens, you can bet I will.
Sorry if this post seems disjointed. Like I said, I’m tired. No… wrong word. Kind of exhausted. Long day, kids. Long day.