We’re in D.C. for Adaptive Path’s User Experience Week, and we’ve decided to roll with the baby’s jetlag, as midnight to 8 a.m. is a far more awesome schedule than his usual 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. It’s a much bigger conference this year, and AP encouraged a few of the speakers to bring their babies along (which partially explains the much higher proportion of female speakers than you typically see at other conferences). The presentations have been surprisingly moving so far — a lot of speakers who are really using design to change people’s lives in meaningful ways. More later.
You arrive at the Las Vegas airport with a group of exhausted, hung-over bachelorettes. You sleepwalk through check in, and slouch together at the gate in indoor sunglasses and smoke-stale tank tops. There is a collective sigh.
“Fuck. I have so much blogging to catch up on.”
Thus far, I’ve spent 32 waking hours in a car in the last seven days. Apologies for the lack of posts, I thought the place where we were staying had Internet access, but I was not correct. I am an utter failure at the NaBloPoMo experiment.
Yesterday, we stopped for a van that had slid off the road into a ditch in Nevada. There were three adults and a two-year-old girl in the van. None of them spoke English, and none of them had warm clothes. I stumbled along in halting Spanish, and figured out that two of the adults (the ones with the baby) were deaf and possibly mute. I briefly wondered how we managed to end up in a David Lynch movie.
We took those two and the kid to a dubious bar/grocery called Water Hole #1, and explained the situation to a weathered, unhappy bartender. “What am I supposed to do with them?” he asked. We told him we’d return to tell the other guy where they were, and he’d pick them up.
We bought them some food and drinks, and wrote down what was happening in Spanish so they’d know. As we left, one of the drunk patrons was ambling toward the counter with a variety box of travel-sized cereals for the little girl.
Right now we’re in a hotel in Reno, preparing for the rest of the drive home. First, we’ll need to get chains. And about 16 magazines. And at least three tubes of chapstick.
Tomorrow I’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming. I’m in karmic debt for six posts. Fortunately, I’ve got some time on my hands.
Bryan and I have a wedding to attend, so we took a red eye to Boston last night. If there’s anything more enjoyable than a red eye when you’re pregnant, it’s boarding the plane with wet pants.
Why were my pants wet, you ask? Excellent question, reader! The answer is, I sat in yet another Mystery Wet Spot! Mystery Wet Spot, Part II!
We had a stopover in Dallas, so I plugged in my computer and hunkered down on the carpet. The carpet was wet. Not globally wet, specifically wet. It was wet only in the exact spot where I was sitting.
Then our flight boarded and I was trapped for three hours in damp pants. Pants damp with fluid of unknown origin. Something inside me broke on that flight — something small but integral. If you need me, I’ll be rocking in the corner.
We had a great time in New York, mostly because of all our amazing friends there, but the first few days were rough:
I decide to take an afternoon nap while Bryan explores New York. I return to our room, strip down to my skivvies, and climb in bed. Something is amiss. Are the sheets still damp from the wash? I sweep my hands outward to test my theory when I feel something wet soaking through the back of my underwear. I leap up in a panic and see a giant wet spot on the bed just before I tear my underwear off and run to the shower. There I scrub until my skin is gone.
A few hours later, we are in a cab. I am admiring the city lights when I smell vomit. “Bryan,” I say. “I smell vomit.” He sniffs. “I don’t,” he says. I sniff again. “Yeah, it’s pretty distinct. Maybe it’s on my side,” I say. This is when I realize that the vomit is on my seatbelt. The one I’m wearing.
The next morning we are walking along Central Park near the hansome cabs. There are dozens of horses, and all of them are shitting and pissing in the street or in canvas collection tarps attached to their haunches. From the smell, I’d say they’ve been doing this for years, perhaps centuries. The stench of asphalt-baked piss, ammonia, and rotting horse dung is so overpowering that I actually begin to gag in the street. I’m stumbling forward, trying to outpace the stench while doubled over, heaving.
Then we went for lunch.
I’m in Chicago, and it is not warm here. When we deplaned, my teeth tried retreat into my gums for warmth. Now I know why so many fur activists seem to live in California.
Our hotel room has a sign for the door that says I’m sleeping, or working on my flying machine! I never thought a Do Not Disturb sign would make me feel inadequate for napping.