Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Travelogue — home

Tuesday, August 7

Yesterday was the trip home. I woke up at 5:45 am. local time (12:45 Detroit time) and left the hotel by 8:15. I walked, towing my suitcase, to the nearby Liverpool underground station, took that to the train station and boarded the train to Manchester. There was a direct train to the Manchester airport, but that didn't leave for another half hour and taking the local looked to get me there sooner.

I had to change trains in Manchester. I suppose I could have gotten off one train and directly boarded another and gotten to the airport a bit sooner. But I stopped to read the list of departures and the other train departed. I wasn't sure of the route of that other train. The next train to the airport arrived 15 minutes later, a couple minutes late. I boarded. A few moments later the underlying rumble stopped. Another train pulled into the next platform and we got an announcement that the train I was on wasn't going anywhere and the new train was the one to take. It was now later than when I wanted to get to the airport, but this new train had no more delays.

The line to check in to my flight was rather short, though it was 75 minutes before the flight (perhaps 90 minutes -- the departure time had changed). I was surprised as I got to the front of the line a few workers began to take apart the barriers that kept the line in order. Everyone checked in already?

The 7.5 hour flight from Manchester to Washington departed a bit late, but we arrived only a few minutes behind schedule. I had 90 minutes between flights. But there is customs to get through, baggage to claim (where one takes it perhaps 40 feet though a last customs check and plops it on another belt to send it on it's way), and a fresh round of screening. I got through all that with about 20 minutes to walk long concourses to my flight and buy a sandwich along the way.

I got to the gate with about 10 minutes to flight time -- but it didn't look like anyone had boarded. A few moments later we got the announcement the flight was delayed because repairs needed to be done (later heard it was to the overhead storage bins). First reports were a 2.5 hour delay, though it was eventually only an hour and 20 minutes. The gate advertised a flight time of an hour and 45 minutes but the pilot did it in an hour and 15.

After missing out on great shots of the New York skyline when landing in Newark I decided the camera should be in the carry-on. Here is a photo of Sandusky Bay as we crossed Lake Erie. Cedar Point is in the lower left corner.

And one of downtown Detroit during our descent (sorry the camera isn't level, I was more concerned about not getting the wing in the shot). And, yes, that is Canada on the other side of the river.

By the time I got something to eat, unpacked the suitcase (it has fallen apart enough that it just had its last trip), and sorted a bit of the mail, it was past time for bed. Though still early by my usual schedule I had been up for 22 hours.

And, of course, didn't sleep well and was wide awake at 5:30.

Back to the real world. The last four weeks have been great not listening to GOP operatives sniping at Obama or the Dems tepid response. But I'm home now (sigh). A Newsweek article from four weeks ago comments that the GOP SuperPACs are raising so much money that in key battlegrounds they could buy all the TV advertising time and simply prevent the Prez. from airing anything no matter how much money he raises.

I cleared 27 messages off my answering machine this morning. One was from my lawn guy who wondered if I was back yet. One was from Detroit Eviction Defense requesting that I take part at a vigil at a home about to be foreclosed. One was a credit card scam. The other 24 were robocalls on behalf of various candidates running in today's primary. I'm now in US Rep. John Conyers' district and he has three challengers. One of those is Glenn Anderson, who had been given a personal integrity award by a major Michigan gay rights organization. As wonderful as Conyers has been for Detroit, he is now in his mid 80s and ready to be retired.

Back to work now.

I wrote a summary of my General Conference experiences for the church newsletter. I stated my beliefs that gays and lesbians should be included and that I did not want my local congregation to be known as anti-gay, which meant we had to do something about it.

In that huge packet of mail I received yesterday was an anonymous letter dated a couple days after I left. The whole thing was typed, including the envelope, with no return address and signed, "a member of your Christian family." The author said my "opinions" should not be in the church newsletter. Gay actions are a sin, the Bible says so. There is an attempt to soften the tone by saying we should still love gay people.

Game on, dude.

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