I've been awake since five AM Central time, after going to bed around one AM central time, so if this is disjointed, I'm pinning it on jet lag.
Our last day in Minneapolis was a lazy one. We were up early for breakfast, because it came with the room and all. I'm not usually a breakfast eater, though I love breakfast food. One of the things I miss from working at Gateway is the nightly Perkins trip after working swing shift. The goal was always to get from work to Perkins early enough to get a certain round table in Pruitt's section, and then to be out before 2 AM when Scary Vaccuum Guy showed up. In any case, three years of swing-shift and a lifelong tendency towards nocturnalism have combined with the effect of me being unable to eat before 10 AM, so being awake for breakfast, and actually eating it, was a rare treat.
We then went back to the room and napped, because we could. There's something really indulgent in sprawling in a comfortable bed, with only the whirring of the air conditioner to lull you into blissful sleep.
Later, we made our pilgrimage to the Mall of America. For such a huge place, it manages to boast two things that I wish all malls could offer: There is always parking, and even though there are masses of people, it never feels excessively crowded. Add the fact that it has Macy's, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's all under one roof, and you have Shopping Ecstasy. Yes, I bought stuff, but just clothes, nothing interesting. I missed the Fossil store and now I regret it, because I really need a new watch.
Just as we were entering the mall, our friend Ben called and said, “We're all doing dinner, and we feel bad for not spending time with you. You must come, and you get to choose the restaurant.” I suggested Ichiban, which is sort of like Benihana. The nice thing about such places is that you can watch the chef if there's a lull in conversation. Still, the group was a warm one: Ben, Julia, Fuzzy, me, Ben's dad, who flew in from London, his brother and sister-in-law, who flew in from Wales, and his mother and stepfather, who live in Rapid City. I generally get lost in crowds, because it takes me a long time to warm up to folks, but two cosmos while we were waiting for our table really helped.
Back to the hotel, where we packed, and forced ourselves back to bed. I was so concerned about mising our alarm that I slept in two hour chunks, waking up to glance at the time, and then going back to sleep. This wasn't planned, just something my brain loves to do to me. We were the first people to eat breakfast this morning, but it was 6:30, so I guess that's not unusual. I'm glad I insisted that we get up so early, though, because we managed to get lost on the 14-minute drive to the airport.
Then, there was the usual race to get through security, where, for once, I was not selected for random bomb-sniffing. The x-ray operator made envious comments about Fuzzy's laptop, but I protested that mine was cuter. He said, “No, bigger is better. It is a man-thing,” in a really beautiful Jamaican or Haitian accent.
The plane trip home was as packed as the trip here, with even more children. At one point, they asked for volunteers because the trip was oversold (how, I ask, can you oversell a flight, when they assign seats at ticketing?), so we volunteered. It turned out they didn't need our seats, but they gave us certs for extra miles just for offering. I could write an entire entry on the lack of attention paid by parents to the children on this plane, but that will wait. In the meantime, at least I'm home, groggy, and tired, and still getting used to such dark hair.