Friday, July 22, 2011

To Virginia!

From Tucson to Manassas in 24 hours or less (preferably less):

3:40am: Wake. Still getting used to change in hours from a change in work assignment. Fortunately, I didn't have to produce last night's 10pm news.

4:15am: At work. Yes, work. Work before play. Work before battle. Yes, work can be a battle. That's why they call it work. Consume first cup of coffee.

4:30am-6:am: Run teleprompter for morning newscast. Sneak in more cups of coffee. Amazed that it is actually working. It must have come from the Fukujima plant.

6:30am: Caffeine in full force. Start working on noon show. Start grousing for a lead story.

7:30am: Good grief. Manassas will be hitting 100 degrees or more this weekend, and I will be wearing wool. The rest of the east coast is burning up. In Tucson, we call that typical.

8:00am: Bomb goes off in Oslo, Norway. I may have my lead.

9:00am: Still working, looking for more breaking news.

11:30am: Nothing much happening locally. But Norway is a mess right now. There's the lead.

Noon: Show time. Slip in a story on the Manassas heat. Anchor notes that I will be in the heat of battle this weekend.

12:45pm: Drive to Tucson International Airport. Grouse for cheap parking. Get it after two inspections of dodgy lots.

2:30pm: Board American Airlines after wolfing down a cheeseburger. TSA was kind to me -- they didn't pull me over for an enhanced pat-down.

3:45pm: Reading Matthew 16. Guy in the seat next to me is reading Plato's Republic. If I had more smarts, I'd debate with him what Plato would think of our Republic.

4:00pm: The plane has wi-fi, but you gotta pay $10 for it. Pass.

7:00pm: I've jumped two time zones, but the plane has arrived early at DFW -- a little too early. We have to wait for another plane to exit the gate before pulling in.

7:30pm: Need to change from Concourse A to Concourse C at DFW. Hope there's a good place to eat in the departing terminal.

7:50pm: Skype chat with the folks in California via the iPad. Way too cool. They aren't sending me video, but they can at least see me gobbling down a snack.

8:20pm: The plane that will take us to Washington is here. Our pilot is not. He will not be here for another 40 minutes. American Airlines says they will board us all so that the pilot will just have to step in and then will be on our way. Of course, it can't be that easy. Hopefully this pilot can fly fast like the last one. "Time to take a walk," says a passenger next to me. Good idea.

9:00pm: "That's not a carry-on, sir; that's a checked bag." Well, why didn't you folks tell me it was a checked bag in Tucson, after it fit into the sizing box and the overhead bin on the first flight? They insist on checking it. My delay to my hotel just got longer.

9:45pm: We're in the air at least an hour behind schedule.

10:00pm: Look for ways to contort body in airline seat to sleep comfortably on plane. Fail.

1:30am: Arrive at Dulles. Wait for 15 minutes for a tram to take us to the baggage claim.

1:45am: A line of people, your humble servant included, board a shuttle bus for Hertz. When we arrive, one person is working the counter, as expected for this time of night, and he apologizes because he's having computer problems. "Tell me this isn't a government operation," I say to a lady next to me, parroting a line from Apollo 13. "The government would be more efficient," she replies.

2:10am: After a prayer behind the wheel of a Toyota Yaris, I head off for Manassas. I don't make the mistake I made two years ago and end up on a toll road without change.

2:30am: Arrive at the hotel, which is undergoing renovation and sharing parking spaces with several large dumpsters, leaving nothing for me, after all the other guests are bedded down for the night. After a fruitless search, I park at the Cracker Barrel across the street.

2:45am: Nobody is at the front desk, but amazingly, my room key is sitting there, along with my pass bracelet to get me through to tomorrow's event. Goodnight and GOD Bless the hospitality staff.

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