April 29th, 2004


Tripping - part one

Last Saturday morning Elaine and I woke at four a.m. It was barely enough time to get to the airport to fly out at 8:15. Fortunately, the airport was not crowded so the security checkpoint didn't take long. But the flight was full full full. Elaine has a friend who works for Southwest, who was working that flight and was able to let us "pre-board", choose our seats. The emergency door seats were already taken by the time we came in, though, so all that really mattered was that we got to sit together. One of the women in the Nevada Women's Lobby was on the flight, and she told us there were about six others there on the flight who were going to the march.

I took several pictures from the window, showing the change in the view from above. When we reached Baltimore the greenery and water were a huge contrast to the desert we left behind, of course.

We got into the Baltimore airport at 3:45 p.m.. This flight appears to be Southwest's longest nonstop flight, about 4-1/2 hours going east and even longer going west. We found an express bus that goes into Washington, and waited with many others for it. By the time it arrived, the crowd was huge. We had to stand up and hang on for the whole ride in, not a short one. We went from the bus to the metro, changed trains once, arrived at the stop near our hotel about three hours after we left the plane. A bit long. A shuttle took us to the hotel, and even that was crowded, standing room only for us.

I really meant to pack lightly, and I tried! I had a carry-on size bag with an expandable part, openable by zipper. I also had my laptop, fairly heavy by itself. Elaine had a duffle, looked like she knew what she was doing. Hauling my bags around did become awkward, mostly, I think, because there were so many people traveling in that direction then.

Cathy and Liisa spotted us as we entered the registration line. They were waiting in the bar area - staying in the same hotel that night. After we got checked in and dumped our bags we all met again downstairs, had drinks and talked. Eventually we decided to go out to dinner, and chose a place Liisa had heard of from friends, the Lost Dog Cafe.

I had to go there because of the name and because much of the proceeds go toward saving homeless dogs. I bought the T-shirt and we had various pizza-type things and I had a beer. I enjoyed the funky atmosphere, the food, but most of all the company. We talked and talked and laughed and laughed.

Back at the hotel, we sat with after-dinner drinks (coffee or coffee and Kahlua) and talked more. Elaine's friend Liz came to see us with her bf Dan, and we all talked more, eventually separated bit by bit, went to our rooms and Liz and Dan to their hotel. It was after midnight then. No time to look seriously into internet connections in our hotel room or to write anything to send later. No time to check out the fitness center or take advantage of much that the hotel had to offer.

The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn but that didn't mean we got to the march location extra-early, certainly not by 7:30 as suggested by the person I emailed about volunteering. Just as well! We got there a little after nine, got hooked up with a person who showed us how to sign people in, and we were off to our general post. We signed people in until after noon, standing in one area, asking people as they walked by to sign our sheets. We put stickers on those who signed in so that people could see that they were already counted. This little exercise gave a more accurate count than would otherwise be the case, and of course gathered some names and addresses that the groups might not have had before. Cathy joined us at about 11, as I recall, and helped with the signing in. The three of us stuck together from then on.

The march seemed to get moving at about 12:30. Speakers were still speaking as we walked by the main stage and turned the corner. So many people moving in one direction means we don't get to walk quickly. From the standing with the sign-in sheets I was already disabled, my legs frozen up in that flareup kind of way, but I was able to walk. Probably should have taken some anti-inflammatories before I started out...

So many people, so many signs, such a great feeling! Nobody complained about signing in, nobody created any scenes. There were a few verbal altercations with people standing on the sidelines with anti-abortion signs, but nothing really ugly. I don't know how long the march was. I'd guess two or three miles...someone should know... Sometime in the first half, Cathy and I got separated from Elaine, but we could see her ahead of us. She thought we were ahead of her so she kept moving and looking forward. I tried to call her but the lines were busy (LOTS of cell phones in the march). At one point I saw an opening, a gap where I could step in and move more quickly forward. Instead of moving forward, though, I tripped and fell on the concrete. Of course there was a lot of gasping, but Cathy claimed me immediately and we assured everyone I was okay. Which i was. Skinned knee and palm. It reminded me of my childhood, when I was forever going around with skinned knees and palms.

By the time we got back to the mall I really was pretty much disabled. I limped with elaine to a museum and to food after the march, but it was obvious that I wasn't doing very well. I knew I was going to pay for all that standing, particularly, but had hoped the payment would not be so immediate.

Tripping - part 2

I will always remember that march. So many people, yet we were not tightly packed, we could move, it wasn't frightening that way. Or any way. The day was perfect, cool, threatening a bit to rain, but it didn't. So many signs, so many groups, such imagination. I tried to capture the variety in the pictures I took, but I am not sure it's obvious. It was almost impossible, though, not to get good pix, there was so much happening, it was so colorful, lively, happening. There was a helicopter overhead but it didn't seem to have a news identification on it. I suspect news helicopters were not allowed? I don't know. If they'd been allowed I would have expected to see several of them. I did see several people with press identification in the crowd, and thought it mildy funny that one of them singled out Liz and Dan (who arrived noonish) to ask questions of. Liz and Dan cut out early, before the march even began, to return their rental car and check out of the hotel. It seems an odd plan for someone who came to Washington just for the march...

Tripping - an interlude

Taking it out of turn...

This morning I got up early, as always. No matter how late I get to bed I can almost never sleep in. So today I was up early again. During the night I woke several times and was thinking about Mary's computer and how I would fix it. When I got up I decided to give it one more shot, see if I could save the system. If not, then it was clean install time.

yesterday Mary and I looked at some new computers, because we are considering a replacement. We found some we thought would do the job but figured we'd wait a bit, think about which, so we went off to buy a bike instead. Yay! Mary has a new bike! And be both like it! In fact, I'm jealous. It's cool looking and it's lighter than mine. But I have such a fondness for my bike that my jealousy isn't all that meaningful.

I connected the monitor and turned on Mary's computer when I got up. I saw the "goback" screen rush by with the instructions to hit the space bar if I wanted to use it. I continued the startup and it stalled on the wallpaper as usual, no icons, no start menu, so I figured I'd see if I could get it to go back far enough.

I went back to March 31. No good. Same problem. Then I worked it back as far as it would go, which was March 22, early morning. AND IT WORKED! I saved Mary's computer! I feel so powerful, even though I didn't really do that much. It was so hard to do anything by phone. I just had to be here, to see the computer and think about it and work with it myself.

Now I feel such power I feel we can fix Mary's curtains. One of the brackets needs to be reinstalled. We can do this.

Tripping - part III

Sunday night we took the metro to Shady Grove, where Liisa picked us up. When we arranged to meet there, Liisa told us to go to the "KISS 'N RIDE" location. When Elaine told me this, I figured the "KISS" part was some kind of acronym, maybe even "keep it simple, stupid".

The station opens to a central room and exits to the left and to the right. We didnt' know which side was the "kiss 'n ride" side. We asked the person at the counter and were told both sides were kiss n ride sides. Elaine asked someone else, who was apparently waiting for a ride, and he pointed to one side. People were driving up to pick people up on both sides, but there were no kiosks or signs saying "kiss 'n ride". Seemed like there should be. So first we tried one, then, after waiting there a while, Elaine said she'd check out the other, see if Liisa were there waiting for us. Which she was. Elaine and Liisa came back together to get me.

Yeah, I was still crippled then, not up for wandering up and down stairs and down halls.

Turns out "kiss and ride" is simply a "metro term" meaning a drop-off point. Not only that, but the signs vehicles follow going in actually say "Kiss and Ride". And it means a place where one person kisses the other goodby as he or she heads for the train. We observed this behavior while there.