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Saturday, January 24, 2004  

You Can’t Go Home Again

I’m a Minnesotan in every important way. Although I never saw the place until I was five, I consider myself a product of it in every sense that matters: constitutionally, psychologically, literarily.

However, I was born in Michigan. Detroit, to be exact. And then my family moved back to Kansas when I was six months old and I didn’t cross the Michigan state line again until thirty years later for CorpKitten’s wedding.

But Detroit has always called to me, in a sense. Everyone should make at least one pilgrimage to the place of their birth, assuming they don’t still live there.

I tried to keep that thought in mind when my alarm went off at 3:45 Friday morning. I had a six o’clock flight to Erie, PA (home of the Oneders) for this weekend’s show. The Music Librarian/Segment Producer and I had chosen that flight to make sure we got there in time for Friday afternoon rehearsal. Then an 8:00 a.m. option had come up, but we were already committed, which meant we took off into a predawn sky. Or we would have, if the de-icing truck hadn’t spent as much time on us as it would have on, say, Finland.

The delay was a little nerve-wracking, because our connection in Detroit was already tight as it was. ML/SP got off the plane first and found out where our transfer gate was so we could make the sprint together. I was more than twenty rows behind her and it is to her credit that she waited for me when she heard the situation, rather than killing herself. We had twenty minutes to make the twenty-five minute hike from the far end of Concourse A to Concourse B.

There’s a long, blue tunnel between the concourses at the new Detroit airport. The moving walkways pass between walls that are illuminated in shifting shades of blue and green. And there’s this sort of ambient sound going on that’s so subtle that it’s barely even ambient. It must be like being abducted by extremely low-key aliens. I’m sure it’s incredibly relaxing if one is in the right frame of mind; I imagine that one must be wary of its soporific effects lest one melt bonelessly to the segmented grating, leak through, and gum up the works. It’s not ideal when you’re racing three miles on foot in order to not get stranded, but we managed to not go into a trance and drop into an amble.

One of the worst things that happen when traveling with the show, I’ve heard, is when you pick an early, early flight and you miss a connection, or a connecting flight is cancelled or delayed, and the people who got to sleep two hours later than you did show up at the gate to fly the rest of the way with you. That hasn’t happened during my tenure, thank heavens, but it has happened to others before I started. I think I’d pass on that experience. Life is enough like The Amazing Race already.

So that’s what was on our minds as we ran from A12 to C6, with ML/SP fighting the flu and ear-popped from the flight. A twenty-five minute journey on foot, and we did it in fifteen. We ran up to the empty gate waving our boarding passes, and ended up being the last ones on the plane. The other six passengers on the sixty-passenger plane were already strapped in and we pulled away from the gate about two-thirds of a second later.

So that was my big pilgrimage to my birthplace. I can understand why my parents left, because Detroit goes by pretty fast. Must get tiring. I’ve got a forty-five-minute layover going home, and I’ll try to experience Detroit a little more fully when I’ve got three quarters of an hour to explore the city at a leisurely pace.

Maybe I’ll try to get back in another thirty-three years, but if I don’t it’s okay.

Today’s best search phrase: “Knight Rider Season 2 Episode 5 Blind Spot.” I think this person already knows more than enough about Knight Rider, between you and me.

posted by M. Giant 7:42 PM 0 comments


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