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19 April 2002

Remember telephone booths. You know...those glass boxes that we used to get in and close the door on so we could have privacy when we talked on the telephone?

I thought about telephone booths as I stood at the baggage carousel in Seattle today, surrounded by at least five men, all of whom were engaged in (loud) conversations on their cell phones. There used to be a time when we valued our privacy, but now apparently anything goes.

Not only do people no longer care that everybody can hear your private, personal conversations, but nobody seems to care that you might be annoying to those around you. Let's add cell phones to the ban on cigarette smoke in places where there are other people.

As I sat on the plane in Sacramento, there was a guy across the aisle who was having a wonderful conversation with a friend on his cell phone. A very loud, raucous conversation. That went on for about 10 minutes. It was so loud that if it were in my own home I would have asked him to keep his voice down. People with cell phones can be so incredibly rude!

That said, I'm here. Seattle. It was another frenzied day--typing frantically from 3 a.m., rushing off to the office, working longer than I thought I'd have to, getting speculums washed, rushing home to pack, and then take the bus to the airport (neat deal--bus leaves from 2 blocks away from our house and for only $1.25, it will take you right to baggage check-in. It's the regular city bus that just happens to make this little 20 mile detour!)

I must really look suspicious because once again, I was pulled out of line to be checked. This was the most "intimate" check I've ever had, complete with pat down to see if it really was metal in my bra strap that was setting off the detector. The woman actually--I can't believe this--patted down my arms. My BARE arms. What? Did she think I'd hidden some bazooka under the skin somewhere??

I thought I'd have forever to wait for the flight, but since the check-in line was long and since people started lining up for their Southwest boarding passes 30 minutes before they started giving them out, it seemed like hardly any time at all.

We had a bit of I guess you'd call it excitement on the plane. There was a mother and daughter who were traveling to Seattle so the daughter could check out a potential university. The mother sat next to me and the daughter sat in the row ahead of us. The mother explained that the daughter almost didn't get on the plane because she matched the description of a girl who had made it through security with a knife on her. As it turned out, it was a Swiss Army knife. Police came onto our plane to check the passengers and the pilot told us that if they didn't find the girl, they were going to make everybody on all planes get out and go through security again.

Fortunately, they found her. And we took off almost on time. Once we were airborn, the flight was uneventful and it was so good to see Diane, in her shiny new fire engine red Cadillac, waiting for me. We had dinner at a restaurant near the airport, then came home to watch a bit of TV and get a bit of sleep before our Tulip Adventure tomorrow.

Don't believe what those Seattle folks tell you. They've been saying the weather is rotten, but it's a beautiful sunny day today, and predicted to be sunny all weekend.

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- Edgar Allan Poe


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