The miracle of air travel.
I could answer inquiries about my recent absence with a number of excuses, but I think a trio of honest reasons will suffice instead. To be brief: I was forced to finish teaching a class, prepare for a conference, and deal with the senescence of my beloved laptop all at the same time. This, needless to say, consumed a greater than average amount of my time and forced me away from blogging. I apologize for not mentioning something about this earlier but each day I somehow thought that the next would bring a resumption of my normal schedule. As you have probably noticed, this was not the case.
Even now, as I write this, my hiatus technically continues. I have finished my class, yes, and phoned in my grades earlier today. I have prepared for my talk at the ASA’s- insofar as it was necessary for me to prepare a “talk” in any case. My participation in this year’s conference is, in all honesty, rather modest. Lastly, my aging laptop has been replaced with a fortuitously priced, and much nicer, model that was not manufactured by the South Korean equivalent of drunken gnomes. This is quite a step up for me. Alas, despite these successes I am not yet blogging again. Not really.
While this may appear to you as a fresh and “nutritious” post, it is in fact quite stale. I am, as we “speak,” lodged in the bowels of an aircraft winging my way towards Montreal. I have heard many good things about Montreal, and my disgruntled seatmate appears to be a charming gentleman who reflects well on his home city- doubtless he would reflect even more positively had we not spent close to two hours sitting on a runway in the United States prior to takeoff. As a side note, for those of you who haven’t tried it: this sucks.
Indeed, I have spent my day essentially caught in the grips of an air travel catastrophe. I don’t know the entirety of what has occurred- just rumors of a British crackdown on terrorists and the dreaded dihydrogen-monoxide. More within my knowledge are the thunderstorms that nearly made my earlier seatmate (an amateur astronomer named Andy) vomit and forced our flight to reroute. Then there was the freak spate of mechanical difficulties that grounded several planes at one of my numerous layovers. At my last stop, my flight was cancelled entirely. My presence on this aircraft is due entirely to my luck in being selected from the standby list. In retrospect, I am wondering if this luck was good or bad.
By the time I arrive in Montreal it will by close to… well… tomorrow. I will be arriving quite a bit later than anticipated, and on very little sleep. Assuming I can find my way to my hotel before I collapse in a stupor, I should be fine. Strike that: assuming I can eat something more substantial than airline pretzels* and get to my hotel before I pass out, I should be fine.
And what then? Will I be at the conference in the morning? Will it even be morning when I post this, or will “tomorrow” be, by then, in the past? Who knows?
All I know right now is that the captain is ordering me to shut down my portable electronic devices.
* Okay, technically the packaging informs me that they are, in fact, “Spinzels” and follows up by proclaiming them to be “Braided Pretzels.” I would also add that they are better than normal pretzels, but the “braiding” thing is really kind of an exaggeration. This fine product hails from Bluffton, Indiana and has a whopping 55 calories per bag. So, basically, my “dinner” should keep me going for another 30 minutes or so. Yay!
As an additional educational side note: If anyone is wondering why I’m writing in this incredibly bizarre manner, I have an answer for you: because the only book I brought with me is a selection of writings by H.L. Mencken. Read that for a couple of hours, and then see how you write.