Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Home stretch

Finally, an airport with free wi-fi!

The trip was fun, but it's been a lot of hassle for just eight or so hours in the town. I can't believe I made it all day yesterday with so little sleep and only one cup of coffee (on the way to the airport) and one Coke (before dinner). That must say good things about where I am with my caffeine dependency. Even right now I'm drinking water with my bagel. Coffee would be great but I'm hoping to sleep on the flight. The woman who checked me in said she would assign me a seat by myself. Let us hope.

Flying makes me think I have issues with personal space. I hardly ever fly alone (this is only the fourth solo trip I can think of) so usually I can work it out to sit with whoever I'm flying with. But that's not always possible, and when it's not, I just hope my seat companion smells decent and stays on his or her side of the arm rest and dislikes small talk as much as I do. Yesterday for the first leg I sat with a strange dude who seemed to cough an awful lot. The second leg was better -- a guy with an iPod and a book. How do people fly without reading material?

Kansas, at least the 100 miles west of Wichita that I drove through, seems a lot like the stereotype. Extremely flat, scenery consisting mostly of farms, something that could be classified as a town every 30 miles or so. The car-rental place was out of compact cars so I had the choice of paying for an upgrade or driving a red minivan. Needless to say, I rocked the minivan.

Greensburg is a small town. We say Pinehurst is a small town. Not even comparable. After an afternoon of interviews I went to the city council meeting. About 10 people were there. One woman walked in, made a bee-line for me and pleasantly said, "You've got my curiosity up. I've seen you around town today. Who are you and what are you doing here?" I laughed and told her I'd been wondering whether the town was small enough for people to realize I must be a visitor because they didn't recognize me. She said yes. Before the tornado the town had 2,000 or so residents by most counts; now it's more like 700, so that's not really surprising. I truly enjoyed talking with everyone I met yesterday and am looking forward to putting the story together.

On the way back to Wichita for my three hours of sleep I was taken aback by the gorgeous moon. It was low on the horizon and looked just huge. The whole sky was gorgeous, and so was the weather, by the way -- it felt like early fall yesterday.

OK, I'm going to go do some blog reading of my own and wait for boarding. I hope all of you are sleeping tight!


Kaitlin said...

I love this! I'm so glad you had a good time. I driven across all of Kansas and it generally looks like what you described, but I love it nonetheless. And the minivan made me laugh. I have spent many days driving my family's minivan. niiice. Can't wait to hear about it and read about it!

Ken Loyd said...

You're not in Kansas anymore. Glad it was a good experience and I will enjoy reading your finished article. Your NEXT trip will be far more memorable though!