Flying back from Chicago

'Cloud Gate' by Anish Kapoor (also known as The Bean") in Chicago's Millennium ParkOn a plane headed home. Four and a half hours to kill. Groggy. I typically have trouble sleeping the night before traveling. Not with worry, but wondering if I should dash out and do one more thing in a famous place I may never see again. Flush away the minor concerns of sleeping and packing and proper sleep. Grab the supply of the wines of experience to fill my brain and have it swirl around in the hope that between my eyes and the cheat of a camera it will stain the walls or its residue will settle at the base of memory to give an aroma when scratched.

I packed in stages. Made up one last jaunt. Came back to the room and packed some more, then split the difference: stayed in the room and selected photos with their subdued colors (Chicago was overcast, but mild, the whole time) and lack of depth and sound and smell and motion and will and posted them to share. Wrote terse captions while my sense of geography and paths were fresh. Fell asleep after 2:00 a.m.

Woke up at 5:30. Push-ups. Shower. Wimbledon on television. Reviewed the comments on the posted photos and videos. Enjoyed the attention but also the reward of delivering the boon of new visions or evoking memories for some people who are dear, others I've not seen in decades, still others I've never met or have spoken with for scant seconds or minutes. An exhaling gust at my deeds and my people. I turn on my heel and remove the shaman robes and set them on the rack, or hand them to someone else to don. Can't recall if the robes are in a closet or another's possession. I had to pack, and only know the robes did not drop to the floor.

I get to airports at least two hours early. It's prudent, but also to get through security and take strolls up and down concourses to get some exercise into a day of being launched across states and time zones, but while sitting on my ass.

An actor from a cult t.v. show (Michael Horse - Tommy "Hawk" on 'Twin Peaks') popular 20 years past walked by, slightly hunched, into the Men's Room. Wiry white hair to his shoulders. Blue denim jacket with a patch of a white hand making the peace sign, words "American Indian Activist" over that logo. He looked well, and not visibly anxious about being in public. I let him go pee instead of saying "Hey!"

On the plane as it ably performs its aeronautical miracle of transport, but the cabin air is hot and muggy. The air nodules in the console above offer no cooling, allowing minimal airflow like pointing a body-temperature, sustained, stink-free dilated fart lasting several hours.

Big gourmet headphones (not Bose!) clamped over my head, I am surrounded by rectangles. This journal. Book of poetry on my lap but under the seat tray. When Music player wedged between my legs piping about an hour of The Western Canon audiobook (a chapter about Marcel Proust) before I switch to Québécoise chanteuse Martha Wainwright trills and torches Piaf songs ably and with a full voice she does not commit to her own songs. One bar of organic fair trade chocolate in my belly, another bar of another kind in my bag at my feet. Laptop in that bag. Portfolio holding notes and outlines of a writing project. Kindle. Powered-down smartphone in my bag (pssst... you don't truly have to shut it down, the crew only needs that for your attention during the tender take off and landing phases - so says science and airline pilot columnists). Girl two seats down jumping from movie to movie on her parents' laptop. Rows of monitors mounted above us play the CGI cartoon film Rango and I wonder if someone in an airline meeting room raised a hand and suggested they routinely calibrated their monitors. Am guessing that person was shut down by a bean counter or a philistine boss who sees no problem with wildly different hues, washed out or blown out colors that look nothing like what artists and other billion dollar companies intended. The same kind of philistine who thinks the wide screen HD televisions with murky non-HD programs look just fine so long as the stretched image fits the whole screen even with people looking like squat blotchy toads. Usually within minutes in a hotel room I'm trying to circumvent the pokey Fisher Price remote and leaning behind the t.v. searching for buttons or knobs to make the window to the world or to fantasy look normal.

I have a fever. Wish they would hook up the apertured fart vents above us to a frost giant. Can I roll down the window? Frost along the edges show it's nice and cool outside.