|I was in Haiti. Haiti was filled with people, wonderful people. It was beautiful, it had problems, too. Then I came back to the US and everything was big, there weren't as many people. The people I met weren't as wonderful, nor as desparate. Haitians knew about survival, they knew what was necessary in life. The USians, it seemed, did not always know this. I watched them drive their big cars down uncrowded, wide streets, through the big city with its big buildings, big houses, reliable electricity - the city in which many times the life income of a Haitian were exchanged every minute. and felt vaguely ill. The feeling went away, though, as such feelings do. It was time to move on. It was time to go to Europe.|
But there were decisions which had not yet been made - where to go? How to get there? For the week after I got back from Haiti, I thought about these things, but didn't do anything. I wasn't ready to leave yet. I had thought about leaving again on the 8th and, when the 8th came, I found myself wanting, very much, to be somewhere else. I had myself pegged, but not my ticket. The decisions came rapidly after that, though, to be fair, they had to. Operating for seven or so hours a day out of the Urban Stampede coffee shop, I explored (with my sister's help) every conceivable route to Europe and finally, I had a plane ticket to London (to be used in less than four days) and no idea what I'd do when I got there.
On that last day before I began traveling, I was convinced to get a Netbook, a micro-laptop, en emblem of the times - miniature and ubiquitous electronics accompanying you everywhere. To the ends of the earth. Buying it required making several decisions about mutually exclusive values - speed, price, screen-size, stroage space - you truly cannot have it all. Finally, for about $300, I had it. Thank you, Mom! (This blog made possible by Mom.) To put this in perspective, $300 can purchase sufficient amounts of prenatal iodine to bolster the world's net IQ by 45,000 points (a year's supply is about 30 cents and can make a 30 point difference to a child). Guilt. By reading this, you acknowledge that you too are privaleged, That fate, if you will, has granted you obscene wealth and opportunity, though you may not feel it. You too will feel guilt, or maybe not. Either way, knowing this, you decide that you will save the world. A good choice, reader, let us move on. (Going to the third world changes your perspective… we'll try to keep future blog articles a bit more guilt-free.)
There were a number of good-byes to be said. It's been wonderful that, despite my propensity to wander, I still have a number of close friends. In whirlwind tour, I saw both my grandmothers, my Duluthian and Minneapolian friends. Thus, the travels began Friday, by car. By Friday night I was in Grand Rapids, on Saturday I was in Duluth.
Tegal met me at the Grace, where I was busy trying to get the technology end of things working in time to leave. After Mom and Nannie left, she drove me over to the bus and, as we hugged good-bye, asked if things would always be like this. Quick visits and departures at bus stations. I wasn't wholly sure how to answer.
BW picked me up in Minneapolis, and we headed to AppleBees for their appetizers, following this up with Apples-to-Apples, staying up way too late, and, finally, bed. Said good-bye to Bripi in the morning and walked down to the MegaBus. The backpack on my back was full and, I thought (and still think), over-packed.
I'm on the MegaBus. I sit up top and have a view of the road. The bus sways alarmingly around curves and I think of the KnightBus in Harry Potter. Perhaps the MegaBus is some sort of training ground for prospective drivers? We keel onto the interstate and I'm pressed into the squishy seat, the road is visible below my window. Yes, I decide, yes it is. I turn on my computer and it reaches out into the world with its tiny, but agile, mind. In the darkness of the aether it finds the unexpected - the internet. Even here, moving at warp speed far away from any buildings, the internet is around us. A beating life force that surrounds and prevades all living organisms, filling us with knowledge, power, and spam mail. The computer and I reach out, we grasp the internet, and are filled by its glory at a speed of 120Kbps, which quickly drops of to 5.
Three more MegaBuses pass on as we head to Chicago - blue boxes, beacons to the tired, the poor, the wretched refuse, the homeless, transporting we, the exiles, to the storied pomp of ancient lands.
I've heard that the MegaBus is cheap because Chicago recognises that if people can get there, they'll spend money there, so why not pay for the trip? Suckers - I spend $2.25 in Chicago on a subway ticket to the airport.
|I pause only to glory in the dwarfing halls of Union Station. Here the passage of people has worn depressions into the marble stairs. Here an unimaginably vast space is used to contain mere benches for the rest of the weary. Spaces such as this are rare today.|
|The subway station is dank, with brick walls, and dim, flickering lights. I expect, at any moment, to see a human brain on the platform and be approached by creepy, Jewish men.|
I escape, though, onto the subway which clatters, alarmingly, to the airport. The airport drags me in and sucks me through its walkways, escalators, and trams. I am briefly friends with a dark, curly-haired girl going to Germany and then we are cruelly separated by the TSA automatons, never to meet again.
At the terminal, I plug in my phone, and my computer. Surrounded by my mobile communication base, I realize that I still don't know what I'm doing when I arrive in London. My efforts to the contrary, there simply isn't enough time and the problem is unresolved as I board the airplane.
Referenced: Pi (the movie. In the form of creepy Jewish people.), Emma Lazarus's "The New Collosus", Harry Potter.