Day 1: A Christmas Journey to Hawaii

I could not have imagined a more perfect start to my trip, and that certainly is not to say that everything has gone smoothly. Quite the opposite in fact, and I love it. I chuckle to myself as I write this.

I didn’t pack yesterday, so I had to get up at 6am to do that. It took me a solid two hours to find everything, fill my first aid kit, repackage some food and finally shove it all into my backpack, which, would have been fine if I hadn’t spent an hour showering and making breakfast.

So we raced to DIA. I missed check in by 7 minutes and things looked grim. I told Lisa I wasn’t upset and it really wasn’t anybody’s fault, but I was a little nervous that my reservations would fall like dominoes after I missed my LA-bound flight.

Stroke of luck #1: THere was another flight to LA 50 minutes later and I could still make my LAX-HNL flight.

Interjection: perhaps it is more important to travel not for the people you will meet or the strange cultures you will experience but for an entirely different and much more physical reason altogether: so that you can experience how your home is seen from afar. As I fly over Colorado I realize that it is a beautiful and arid expanse, largely unpopulated if not unexplored. More importantly though, I realize that so often I experience it from the literally low points. I am a little scared now that I realize that so much exists up high, but I believe it was time for me to be shown this.

So anyway, I checked in, checked my pack, parked the car with Lisa, and she and I, and Sophie, went and had breakfast at the Coyote Grill. Oh and when we parked we… Ok, wait.

So driving into the airport the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” played from Lisa’s iPod. We were speeding badly. “You can make it Jude” the song said, so I turned it up. Apparently Lisa paused it at some point, because after I checked in I got back in and we sped off to park, and when I hit play, at full volume, the glorious triumphant ending played “Nah, nah, nah-na-na-nahh… Hey Jude, jude, judee judee judee judeee… oh!”

So I put on my theme song for this trip – “I’m sliding off the world” by Gareth Emery. As the Climax played we parked, my excitement enduring, and we shared a log, passionate kiss.

Sophie hid in Lisa’s lap, peering out from under the table at the security passing by – “No Dogs Allowed”. They saw me off and I yelled across the airport, “I love you guys! Muh!” We waved goodbye.

I graciously cut some people in the security line and ran to the gate, where the door had already been shut and locked.

Stroke of Luck #2: “If you were any later you wouldn’t be doing as well right now,” said the gate attendant as we walked briskly to B45. “Find your seat ASAP, please.” He unlocked the door and i ran down the jetway. I should be Honolulu by 6:30 local time.

But why hadn’t I packed before this morning, anyway? Same reason I didn’t study for finals (which were on Monday): Huh. There are a lot of ways to answer this: The cool answer: I was snowboarding. The reflective answer: I believed deep inside that everything would turn out right. The deep answer: A part of me feels undeserving so I procrastinated. THe truthful answer: I felt a little bit undeserving so I used snowboarding and Lisa and my Dad’s birthday (51st!) as an excuse to procrastinate.

4:40 pm, LA time: Well, I’m not going to be in Honolulu by 6:30, but my journey just got a whole lot more interesting. After my LA-HNL plane broke down, we sat on the tarmac for two hours before everyone deplaned and rushed to gate 72 to get on flight 935 to HNL. I got there to find 50+ people in line. Hopeless. The next flight would be at 8:45 pm.

I wondered up to the front of the line where I overheard someone say that they had called United and changed their reservation to flight 935, which I promptly did. The gentleman was friendly and in five minutes I was checking in (I cut the 50+ people in line.) Finally, we were pushing back and I rescheduled my pickup by Lida and her boyfriend. I don’t know if my backpack is on this flight.

7-ish: This is amazing. As we chase the sun I watch it set, going on about an hour now, and it’s still looking like it did when I first noted the magenta to orange gradient that then faded into yellow, light green and, my favorite, cyan, and finally a dark electric blue. Wow. Almost as spectacular as the progressive, gliding glints of all the water below as we crossed the western US today.