Woke up at 6:15 AM. Got a ride from a friend at 7:25 AM to LAX on the Van Nuys Flyaway Bus – which is the best bus ever. With the possible exception of the bus that took us from Chicago’s Cactus Bar and Grill to the Buffett show in 2000. Got to the Continental terminal at 9:15 AM. Cleared security at 9:30 AM and checked the big board for the status of my 10:30 AM flight to Cleveland.
Delayed until 2:25 PM.
I was upset. Then a Continental rep told me that the delay entitled me to a $12 meal at Ruby’s, which is a 1950s-style diner in the C terminal. I was slightly less upset thanks to a well-executed breakfast burrito.
From 10-11:30 AM I read The New York Post cover to cover.
At 11:41 AM I drifted off to sleep. At 11:42 AM a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck 30 miles east of Los Angeles, shaking LAX and waking me up … probably forever. I was seated (slouched, really) in a row of seats in the middle of the C terminal. It felt like someone was rocking my row of chairs back and forth. For 30 seconds. And being a real dick about it. But the real dick, it turns out, was the earth’s shifting tectonic plates.
At 11:45 AM I called Costantini and asked him for an Earth Watch report. He said a photograph fell off the wall at his parents’ house. I thanked him for the detailed update.
The great thing about Los Angeles — 30 seconds after the earthquake everyone went about their business like it never happened. I love any city that takes events that would grind other cities to a screeching halt in stride. My town. Much better than DC, where a light snowfall causes pandemonium.
From noon to 1:30 PM I read the Los Angeles Times cover to cover. Had a nice conversation with an Ohio University grad (class of 1982) and another gentleman who told me he sat on the tarmac in Newark for five hours once. Great guy. Served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. We talked about it. He said, in complete seriousness and with much thought and not a hint of self-pity or sarcasm, “Vietnam was the war that made war unpopular.”
Never hesitate to talk to the guy sitting next to you … anywhere. Everyone is interesting. I learned this as a journalist.
Finally boarded my 10:30 AM flight at 2:30 PM.
On the flight started reading “The Watchmen.”
Dear Everyone I Know Who Has Read The Watchmen And Never Told Me About It,
You clearly do not know me. Every minute you talked to me about some other book or movie or dumb idea you had, you were wasting my time.
Our friendship is on tenuous ground.
Your friend (maybe),
This is a GREAT novel. I can’t wait to finish it.
Two hours into the flight the crew interrupted the movie Penelope (I may or may not have applauded at the flight attendant’s good judgment) and announced that there was a medical emergency (no more applauding) and could a doctor come to the back of the plane. There was a doctor and he — according to third-hand reports — helped stabilize a man who was having trouble breathing. This information could be totally wrong. I got it by eavesdropping on people who said they heard people talking. There was some talk among the passengers that the plane would have to land so the man could be treated, but that never happened and apparently the man’s condition improved.
Touched down around 9:55 PM (was supposed to be 6:20 PM).
Dad picked me up at 10:15 PM. We listened to the Indians lose to the Tigers on the car ride home. When I got home, I ate everything in the fridge that was not a salad.
All was normal with the world again.