Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I've lost track of what date this is vs. what day you might be able to read it. I think Blogger wants to show this in California time, whereas my computer is set for French time. I'm somewhat sleep deprived, so nod off in the evening while I'm trying to do this (unlike my usual late-night-person self) and daytimes have no spare time.

First, among small events, I congratulate myself for my 100th blog with the May 8 post, On The Road. I intended to do daily posts, but this is close enough to feel pretty good.

Before I left I noted to my sister that there are doomsayers of some stripe out there who have posted billboards that proclaim the world will end on May 21. I'll be in Paris on May 21, so that's not a bad place to be. My sister noted that her last day before retirement is May 20, and that only gives her less than a day to enjoy it. We observed that with a suitable epithet.

For our flight from San Francisco to Paris, the waiting area at our gate was eerily devoid of people. It still was when they began to call for the initial rows of seating. In fact, the crew as it boarded looked greater than the number of passenger and we were still missing three of our group of seven going over on this flight. Just when we were thinking we'd have multiple seats to sprawl into for our flight, a deluge of people flowed down the escalator and stairs, crowding ahead of ME, for example, who was seated near the front of the plane and thus boarded last. Happily, I was first arriving at my aisle seat of the right-hand threesome, no early boarder's had taken my overhead space, and it worked out fine. It was a full load.

I call this Sardine Class because the back of the seat in front of me is only about an inch beyond my knees when everyone is seated upright. All too often, the person in front of me flings the seat back all the way, without warning, giving me a painful crunching compression from knee to hip. I was prepared to shriek in pain if this happened, but a man in the center seat in front of the person next to me leaned over the back once everyone had been fed and politely asked if he could recline his seat just a little bit, after which all the people in that row reclined maybe 1-1/2 inches, and we all did the same. A bit over-upright for comfortable sleeping, but at least doable for letting everyone out to use the restroom.

Good form also suggests letting the poor sucker in the middle seat have possession of the armrests, since the seats are narrower than shoulder width and that leaves the arms with nowhere to hang otherwise. So window and aisle people make full use of their one armrest each. The downside of the aisle seat is that every single person passing by in the aisle whacks your shoulder and/or elbow and knee, another little interruption to sleep. So, it's a dilemma, to acquire skateboarder elbow and knee pads for the aisle seat or to relinquish control of your access to the toilets by the window.

This young woman read a book the entire trip. It was copiously illustrated with drawings and photos of all kinds of things, in Japanese or Chinese. I was so curious about the subject matter. But me, I seldom ask. (Don't ask directions either, until it gets truly serious.)

Earlier than usual this trip, Air France created an artificial darkness by pulling down all the shades and turning out the lights. Come to think of it, maybe this helps reset the body clocks of crew and passengers. It felt like being in a sensory deprivation chamber, or so I imagine. I love sitting with my nose and camera against the window and have bridled at their telling me to close my shade in the past, but without lights or landmarks, there was a timelessness, and I didn't feel my usual desperation at the 4 hours out mark that I can't possibly sit here more than twice as long as it's already been.

Our day today (Wednesday my time and it's almost midnight as I'm this writing now) was quite wonderful, but I've adjusted to the time change, I think, and I'm appropriately sleepy now so I'll try to see you tomorrow.



  1. My spell check marked every word as wrong tonight. Not helpful. I think I spotted a typo but I'm not sure. I'll let you let me know.

  2. None stuck out as being a typo. Glad you are having fun. We just were discussing that once retired, no one does a performance appraisal, other than the cats. The idea that no one is judging you (that really matters) sounds mighty nice for retirement. Yesterday I was told that I wasn't very "political" at work, whatever that means. Honest, perhaps?

  3. Bon Voyage Lee! It sounds wonderful...

  4. Bonjour Mon Ami!
    I probably spelled that wrong in French - oh well - you know it is a proper greeting. Glad to see your internet working so well, especially due to the problems we had in Essoyes.

    I'm headed to a writer's conference tomorrow through Sunday. It's up in the mountains so although they claim to have wireless in certain areas, I'm not betting on it. If you don't hear from me for a few days, that's why.

    Super excited about it though.

    Can't wait to hear more about your trip. If the world ends, we'll both be writing about it.

    Sent my e-mail address to your e-maill address. We'll see how that works. Enjoy France for me and have some great cheese!