The Seattle Odyssey
Winter break flew right by, and before I could say “Mele Kalikimaka,” I was on my way back to Findlay with only memories of my (mostly) sunny home. Generally, I have three or four flights between Hawaii and Findlay, but this trip only had two: straight from Lihue airport to Seattle, and then Seattle to Detroit, where I would be picked up by a long-suffering friend with a car. Before I even left my house, the trouble started. This was to be a trip of both sorrows and triumph.
I had arranged a ride from Detroit to Findlay last semester, but on the Saturday I was to depart back to Ohio, I found out they were no longer available. In my last hours in paradise (while eating a burger by the beach), I frantically texted everyone I could think of who might be willing to drive for almost four hours on my behalf. Having gone through airport security, I was in line to board my plane when I finally secured another ride. This timing, at least, saved me a considerable amount of anxiety during the six hours of phoneless flight.
Besides the breaking of my backpack strap, those six hours were fine. I watched a lot of anime, which I had thought to bring with me on disk since there was no wi-fi. When I finally staggered into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport under the unevenly distributed weight of my now one-strapped backpack, the next stage of my epic journey began. The plan was to spend the night in the airport and fly out early the next morning. These dreams were dashed when I learned that my second flight had been canceled. Dutifully, I took my place in the customer service line among other disgruntled travelers who had also lost a connecting flight. From what I overheard, it sounded like my airline had canceled a number of flights, with the vague reason of “weather.” I was able to get onto a flight that was a whole twenty-four hours later than my previous flight. That meant a night, a day, and a second night in the airport, with only a stuffed unicorn to keep me company. I would arrive Monday afternoon.
There are worse airports to inhabit. Sea-Tac is nice and clean, with free Internet, power outlets, and good food. Upon my rescheduling I was given no fewer than eight food vouchers. I had enough to get all my meals, and also a lot of good chocolate and other snacks. The real trouble was finding another ride from Detroit. I was to arrive on the first day of classes (luckily, I don’t have classes on Mondays so I didn’t miss any of mine). I first had to apologize to my hastily-gotten driver from yesterday, and then I sent out another round of beseeching text messages, annoying my friends with desperate offers of chocolate and gas money. For some reason, most people didn’t want to skip the first day of class and drive to Michigan in order to make my life easier. Luckily, one person was willing and able to come pick me up, and after sleeping through my long-awaited four-hour flight, I made it back to Findlay with no further disasters.
I didn’t waste my thirty-four airport hours (minus about four, when I was asleep) watching anime and doodling around Facebook. I also walked around a lot, played games on my laptop, and hung out with the unicorn. Oh, and I spent a solid twenty minutes writing a book. No big deal.
My Professional Practices class requires that I… practice my profession. Rather than choosing another public domain story to illustrate (like last semester’s Lucky Hans), I had the option to write my own story, and it needed to be written by the first day of class this semester. I was set on drawing mermaids, but I had absolutely no plot. On my second predominantly sleepless night in the airport, I was chatting with my sister, and she brought up the parable of the merchant and the pearl, found only in the book of Matthew. The idea caught hold. I decided against a picture book as elaborately written as this blog post, and thus laid down a solid fourteen-sentence story. I had it critiqued, and by the time class started on Tuesday, I was ready to go. Safely back in Findlay, with the semester safely started, I am now in the early stages of visual character development.
My transcontinental odyssey was trying at times, but it was not without comfort. Perhaps someday it will make its way into another picture book of mine. I might add mermaids.