It was a short trip. It was a mostly unplanned trip; or, perhaps, a better way to describe it is it was a redirected trip. On Friday, day 194 since I moved to Las Vegas, I made my first trip back to the Midwest.
When I originally scheduled the trip, it was to attend a wedding with a girl from Michigan whom I was dating at the time. However, about two months ago, the girl decided “this isn’t going to work” and that was that. I suppose it’s self evident that I am no longer invited to her brother’s wedding, right? Rather than reschedule, I decided to fly back to Michigan anyway. After all, I hadn’t seen my brother in Bay City in six months. I hadn’t seen my mother in South Bend in six months. I decided to use this as a brief—very brief!—visit with family. And, to be honest, I sort of needed it.
I’ve been getting a little homesick lately. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy living in Las Vegas, but it’s tough to be so far away from family, sometimes; especially considering my grandmother died not too long after I moved and I was ordered to not come back for the funeral. Who gave that order? My grandmother. With the rest of the family’s blessing, I honored her wishes, but it wasn’t easy.
This weekend visit was a whirlwind. I was in Michigan for 22 hours (about two of them at the airport when I landed in Flint, which is a funny story I’ll tell another time). I spent Friday night with my brother and his buddy, Al, hanging out at Stretch’s Curve bar on the west side. I always enjoy going out to bars in Bay City because they’re always great, little dives. The people are friendly, the drinks are inexpensive and unpretentious and the decor is…well, put it this way: every bar in Bay City reminds me of the Warsaw on The Drew Carey Show.
My mother drove up to Bay City on Saturday with her little dog, Clover. We all spent the day house hunting with my mother, which was more fun than I expected. We didn’t take Clover with us. She stayed at my brother’s house. I think she was mad at me for moving away . It took her awhile to warm up to me.
My mom and I drove back to South Bend after house hunting and relaxed at her house. It was truly relaxing to lounge at her house for the night; almost too relaxing. I laid down on a love seat at 9 p.m. and fell dead asleep. I had thought about taking a drive around town just to see some old haunts, but I guess I was exhausted. I woke up in a pitch-dark room and struggled to get my sea legs. “It’s probably about 11, so maybe I’ll still hop in the car and take a ride,” I said to myself. And then I looked at the clock. It was 5 a.m. I was out cold for nearly six hours. That NEVER happens. I guess I needed the sleep. I guess I was happy to be back in South Bend.
Sunday morning was like so many other Sunday mornings in South Bend. I had a couple cups of coffee and then my mother and I went to Sam’s Club to buy salt for her water softener. We did brunch at Golden Corral (where I ate my weight in pulled pork) and then, about an hour later, my mother drove me to the airport and I came home.
The weirdest part of this trip: when I was at my mother’s house, I felt like I was never gone. Like the past six months didn’t even happen. Like it was all a blur, a dream or something. I don’t know how to explain it, but I was really “back home” for the day.
It’s nice to be back home now, in Vegas. I’ll probably head back to the Midwest in the fall or winter for a holiday (and spend more than 36 hours there!). It was bittersweet this time around, really. I loved visiting with people and being back in the Midwest, but I wasn’t there long enough to really enjoy it as much as I’d like.
A few errant observations from this trip:
Adventures in Flying.
Southwest Airlines was a great ride, although they really do cram us into their jets like sardines. But they made up for it with complimentary soft drinks and free TV on your iPad. Cute flight attendant, too, so there’s that. 🙂
Allegiant Air, on the way home, was also a comfortable ride. I like their seats just a little bit more than Southwest’s. I didn’t feel as crammed in (Kramden?).
What in the hell is up with people who try to bum rush from the back of the plane, cutting in front of people, so they can be the first one’s off the plane? Seriously, this is rude, awful behavior. And don’t try and tell me they were trying to catch a connecting flight. I saw this woman start making a move and thought she was going to cut in front of me (I was in 4C). Uh-uh. I’m having NONE of this, today, sister! So I halted her progress. She got no farther than Row 5. You’re welcome, rows three and four.
And this lady who was in such a hurry? Slowest damn walker in the terminal!
TSA’s New Testament
Getting through security at McCarran Airport is one part cattle stampede, two parts switchback lines and a healthy dollop of Charlie Foxtrot.
Usually. But it would appear the good people who run security at McCarran are following the new book, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The day I flew, passengers were not required to remove their belts and shoes. Talk about a pleasant surprise! Not sure if the changes are permanent, but on this day, at the very least, we were partying like it was 1995!
Sadly, it was not the same at Michiana Regional Airport. We were still mandated to dance barefoot (and nearly pantsless, for some of us without a belt!) before entering their peepshow booth and being inspected by some 20-something with a badge and a 22-inch waist (to go with his 22-inch chest). Apparently, South Bend’s airport observes TSA’s Old Testament. It’s so humiliating.
And no, I do not hate freedom, asshole. I believe in security measures. I simply believe in being smart about it.
One More Thing
I got on a scale for the first time in nearly six months and have lost 10 lbs. The most humbling part of it is, though, no one noticed. Translation: you’ve got more work ahead of you, boy. Get your ass on that treadmill!