Preamble: Airplane Mode

I got up this morning about 6:10. I did not sleep well. I seldom do before I travel, because traveling is so exciting. But I got an early night, and aside from waking up a few times, probably at the behest of Sherry's Boston terror, Curella, who goes into a fit of barking at the slightest unfamiliar noise, I "slept" for about eight hours. So I feel like I got quality sleep, if not quantity.

I had planned to get up about 6:30, but my own dog, Buddy, had other ideas. He came to the side of my bed and whimpered loud enough to penetrate the earplugs I usually always wear at night. It can only be described as operant conditioning that Buddy has learned to whimper me out of bed in the morning, but harder to explain is that he always seems to do it about 15 minutes before my alarm is set to go off. I have some theories about how he knows when my alarm is set for, along the lines of how I know to wake up a minute or two before my alarm goes off, but they are beyond the scope of this post.

I let both my dogs, Buddy and Foster, the latter also a Boston terrier, outside and I whizzed in the toilet while they fertilized my back yard.

Sherry stumbled from my guest room a few minutes later. Sherry and her two Bostons, vociferous Curella and mellow Bella, are staying at my house for the fortnight and a quarter I am traveling in Australia, so she can house and dog sit for me. Sherry doesn't realize it but I am eternally grateful to her for this help, which saves me money on kenneling and allows my dogs to socialize with hers and get more TLC. I will pretty much do anything she wants in return for this favor, notwithstanding that I paid her $200 for the hassle of disrupting her life so I could have peace of mind about my hounds while on vacation.

Sherry had a jazzercise class from 7 to 8 AM, during which time I prepared myself for the 30 hour marathon of international air travel that was about to ensue.

I used my electric barber clippers to buzz cut my whole head and shaved off a week's worth of stubble. I don't plan to shave on my trip. I have read that women find men most attractive when they (the men...not the women) have about 10 days of facial hair stubble. So by way of experiment, the babes in Australia should find me fairly irresistable early next week. I kid of course...on the square.

I took a long shower and got as clean as possible. Even so, I am sure I will be one rank stankin' filthy puppy by the time I arrive in Melbourne, Australia at the terminus of my air travel. I put a change of socks, underwear, and t-shirt in my carry on bag to at least partially refresh myself when I arrive, prior to going to the hotel for a much needed shower. Or in case I soil myself (it could happen).

After eating six fried eggs to fortify me during the early phases of travel, I brushed and flossed my teeth, then got dressed.

I thought my LOST t-shirt was appropriate travel wear. It has 4 8 15 16 23 42 printed on the front. I will be curious if any of my fellow air travelers will notice. For those not savvy, LOST is a TV adventure drama series from about 10 years ago in which some wayward people find themselves on a mysterious (and not so deserted) island after their plane crashes on a trip from Sydney, Australia to LA. I am flying the opposite direction and between LA and Melbourne, but whatever. Close enough. I have been re-watching LOST lately to try to understand the parts of the plot that eluded me the first time around. The numbers on the shirt are a sequence that recurs in the show. If I were a superstitious man, I probably would not have worn a shirt related to a fictional air disaster. But since I am a rational man, it is just a clever callout to my enjoyment of the TV show.

Note: Statistically speaking, the safest place on Earth is inside of a flying plane, safer than inside your own house, where you are actually more likely to die, if you believe the math.

I checked on the statuses of my flights and they were all on schedule, notwithstanding a threat of freezing rain the night before. So when Sherry got back from jazzercise, we left for the airport in two cars, dropping mine in the underground parking garage in her apartment en route. Her apartment is ridiculously close to the airport. You could almost walk to it from her place. By storing my car in her garage during my trip, I save on airport parking and she gets to park her car in my garage while house/dog sitting.

I got to the airport plenty early and there were no lines. It has thus far been smooth sailing. I even got a seat next to a foxy brunette named Ellen on my plane, which almost never happens. She wasn't excessively chatty, but we small talked a little before immersing ourselves in reading material. She told me she taught yoga in Madison and I, of course, promoted my rock-n-roll bands, informing her of the EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE show at Frequency on December 13. Total long shot she will come, but I sensed from her pierced nose and intelligent reading material (she was reading a book about capitalism and slavery) that she was an appreciator of rocking, so you just never know. She also inquired about my book, "How Jesus Became God," and we talked about historical Biblical scholarship vs. devotional Biblical "study," agreeing that the former was a lot more interesting and compelling. I will just leave it at that...but suffice to say I appear to have appeased the Travel Gods today. I humbly ask that they continue to watch over me the rest of my trip.

But like I said, I am not superstitious, and willful doing trumps wishful thinking. So I will blaze an assertive trail across the skies of North America and the Indo-Pacific oceans, accepting the consequences of all my decisions. Confidence, politeness, and a good attitude can get you far in the world. The struggle will be maintaining that triad of positivity over the long 30 hour slog of the outgoing trip to Australia.

More to come...

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