both ends, and the middle

This is the first night I've spent quietly, in my home, since June 14. Well, on the 15th I just had a couple at the pub, went for Chinese, and came home by 9pm to pack, which is pretty tame compared to the nights that followed.

The next day I flew to Boston by way of Atlanta (I booked kind of late, hence the bad routing) but the upside of that was that I managed to book a long enough layover in the ATL to have a leisurely lunch outside the airport with my sister and brother-in-law, which was great. She's going to make me an uncle for the second time (my sister in law will beat her to it probably in the next couple of weeks) this fall, so odds are the next time I see her, she will be someone's mother. So that's pretty intense.

Back to the airport, all's clear here we go, the plane begins to accelerate down the runway and I immediately begin to nod off (I think this is a conditioned response, but I cannot explain it) when suddenly, the plane is braking--HARD--flaps up, rubber squealing, and we come to a stop that I imagine was exactly as controlled as it could have been an not a bit more.

Needless, to say, I was very much awake at this point. A plane at the other end of the runway had turned in front of us. (So that's a thing that can happen.) We burned our brakes. Back to the gate (after waiting 30 minutes to be cleared to move at all), to the bar across from the gate*, where I made fast friends with a few of the other people who had just seen their life flash before their eyes.We had the kind of conversations you can only have with people you know you will never see again. By the time we were walking down the jetway back to the plane (2 hours later) one woman and I were discussing in great detail our respective plans about having/not having children, and why (not). We never exchanged names.

The delay meant a cab ride to my accommodations (the trains had stopped, which kills me because I love trains and hate cabs. Also, I'm cheap, especially when traveling alone.) I checked in at 1:30 AM. Of course, despite the long day it was only 10:30 on my body clock and I was restless, so I ventured out just as the bars were emptying into the streets. I was quickly reminded that Seattle is really a pretty mellow place. Why are there so many cops out?  Why is everyone yelling so much?

Apparently, that's just Saturday night in Boston. I ended up in a diner that had a bouncer. I ate quickly and went to bed.

The next 5 days I was at a scientific meeting up in New Hampshire. (Just to give you an idea how small this world is: there were about 170 people at the meeting. I had shared an office or lab space with 13 of them at some point. I count several others among my closest friends.) There was an open bar every evening, that (mercifully) closed at midnight, though I managed to stay up talking to people until 2AM or later every night, and still made it to breakfast by 8 every morning. I did not miss a single session.

(It was a great meeting, and one that may prove to have helped my career immensely. Stay tuned.) 

Meanwhile, the wife is going stir-crazy back home, so when she picks me up at SeaTac Friday night (10PM, PDT), she's got her dancing clothes on. A friend's 80s cover band was playing at a venue near our place to kick off Pride weekend. I was informed that I was to rally. I did. The band was great. I sipped a can of Ranier, which for a serious beer drinker is basically the equivalent of a night off.

Saturday my eyes popped open at 8AM and I have no idea why. I went to the lab to catch up on things that had piled up, came home mid-afternoon, and bottled some beer I'd brewed before leaving town. It was mindless work that didn't involve talking to anybody, and I loved every minute of it. When the wife came home (she also had had things to do at the lab) I proposed dinner at the pub. It was dead (the party was happening elsewhere on the Hill) so we figured we were good for a beer or two and a pizza, and then go home. Instead, we ended up having amazing wide ranging conversations** with the other three people at the bar, then eventually with the bartender (whom we know pretty well.) We closed it.

Sunday was the Pride parade, which is always great fun. We met up with friends downtown. I watched for the first couple of hours, then had to duck out for a while to take care of a couple of things at the lab***. The wife went with the others to the after-festivities at Seattle Center. She texted me to say "there are too many people here, you will hate it" which is why I love my wife. She found her way to someone's rooftop party, just a few blocks from our place, so I re-joined her there. That spilled back out onto the streets of the Hill eventually****, which involved a couple of drinks and generalized craziness*****, all in great fun, after which we excused ourselves home, collapsed in a heap, and off to work this morning like grownups.

I am strangely, miraculously, not exhausted. In fact, I got a hell of a lot done today. Perhaps it is the 16 hours of daylight we're enjoying right now. But in any case, I think I'm going to edit one more piece of a grant, have a little tea, and then read a book. Seriously.

*If you think you have encountered indifferent service, you have not, unless you have been to the Samuel Adams Brewhouse by the T Gates at ATL. Never have I seen so little beer served to so few people in so much time by so many employees.

**The content and circumstances of these are probably worthy of a post or two of their own.

***If this seems like a recurring theme, it is. Some jobs do not fit neatly into a 50-hour work week.

****I should point out that I am completely, 100% sober at this point. Remember that part about going to the lab? 

*****In which our role was primarily "married straight couple here to observe"

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