Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"She only sleeps on planes."

The Song: "Suzie Lightning," Warren Zevon. Words & music by Warren Zevon. Track 2 of Mr. Bad Example, 1991.
How/when acquired: Purchased CD, 1993.
Listen here.

Greetings from San Francisco. I slept all the way from Portland to Dulles, and for about two hours during the five-hour flight from Dulles to San Francisco.

Sleeping on planes is a gift I'm grateful for. I've mentioned before that this song was my personal anthem in 1994, when I spent most of the year on the road. Congress had enacted the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking & Branching Efficiency Act, and I worked for an organization that needed to explain it to our members. It might be an exaggeration, but I swear I remember spending all of January in a King Air flying around Missouri. I got snowed in for several days there, but that's a story for another time.

I don't travel anywhere near as much as I used to, and that's a mixed blessing. My basic travel skills haven't left me: I can still fit everything into one suitcase, I still remember to keep dollar bills in my pocket, I still know how to get out of people's way if they're in a bigger hurry than I am. But I do notice, when I travel, just how narrow my range of vision is becoming — literally, not metaphorically. I've also lost a lot of my old urban pedestrian instincts. I hate nothing more than looking like a tourist, and that's going to be a challenge over the next several days.

If you're at Bouchercon, please say hi. If you wave at me and I don't respond, please don't take it personally; chances are I didn't see you (see previous comment about my shrinking field of vision). And everyone has permission to poke me any time I say, "We don't have that in Maine."

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