I am back from Atlanta. Again. Catching up on the internet. I watched this entire video, all 5 and a half minutes, and it's as good or better than seeing the Arcade Fire in person:
To reiterate one last time, that's the kind of entertainment I link to here. Bookmark it, chumps.
I had a lot of quiet time on my trip. I find myself talking out loud a lot more when I travel alone -- swearing out loud, to be precise -- to make up for the silence. For example, I checked into yet another Atlanta Marriott north of downtown Atlanta, and after I turned on the heat to counteract the freezing air conditioning, I tried to close both sets of curtains. The sheer curtains closed easily, but the thick, blocks-out-all-light curtain wouldn't come together. I looked up and saw that the track they hung on only framed the window, so the curtains could not close. So I swore. I said bad words, out loud. Directed toward the curtains, and toward the Marriott management. "Weary travelers will never need to block the sunlight coming from this window." Assholes.
Quiet time. Sitting in a hotel conference room, watching poorly assembled Powerpoint presentations. Slides full of text, with no visual component. Default color schemes. In one case, all the text was in CAPITAL LETTERS. I sat still and looked ahead.
When my brother and I were little, our parents would take us to church, usually on Saturday nights. I guess Mom and Dad knew it was too much to ask for us to pay attention and pray along, so they stressed one thing instead: don't look behind you. Don't turn around and look up toward the balcony, at the clock.
That's what my conference felt like.
And you may not believe this, but I have some complaints about travel.
First: bluetooth earpieces. They were designed to help you talk when your hands aren't free. That's why they're called "hands-free devices". When you're chopping vegetables or driving, you can and should use your bluetooth device. When you're only carrying one laptop bag, and that's slung over your shoulder, you shouldn't use your earpiece. Your hands are free. You can lift on hand to your ear to use the telephone. You may as well. BECAUSE YOU'VE ALREADY GOT THE FUCKING THING IN YOUR HAND. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PUT IT TO YOUR EAR AND YOU'RE USING THE GODDAMN PHONE. WHY ARE YOU USING AN EARPIECE TO ACTIVATE THE DEVICE IN YOUR FUCKING HAND???
Second: ambient music. I used to board a quiet plane. Now I get in the cabin, secure my useless seatbelt, and hear "soothing" tunes from Sarah McLachlan et al. Then I exit the jetway and enter the airport terminal, where tunes are BLASTING from the speakers above. Schlepping my bags toward the MARTA is bad enough; being subjected to "Midnight Blue", isn't making my experience more pleasant. I didn't even like that song in 1987! And I liked Whitesnake back then! Why are you guys playing shit like this in the airport? Even if the music didn't suck, it's unnecessary. Airports are already loud. Gate agents are shouting unintelligibly into the PA system, the airport voice is reminding me that the terrorism threat is still orange for some reason, the little cart is beep beep beeping, carting old folks around. All we want is a little quiet. We need it to relax before being trapped next to a crying infant on our upcoming flight. We need it to make phone calls. We need it. So stop blaring "St. Elmo's Fire" so loud I can't even hear Wolf Blitzer on the screen directly above me.