November 18, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane


During my visit to several southern cities, I finally had a chance to meet a blogger I've been wanting to meet for a while — Science Woman. Doesn't her name make her sound like a superhero? And really, she pretty much is. She's a scientist who juggles all kinds of stuff including an almost two-year-old daughter. I did half-expect her to be wearing spandex, with a long cape and SW emblazoned on her chest.

The difficult thing about blogger meet-ups is they almost always take place when I'm traveling. And I'm a terrible traveler. By the time I get off an airplane, I'm usually feeling queasy and I'm partially deaf because of the pressure in my ears. On top of everything else, I'm in a drugged state from the dramamine and sudafed that I took hoping to ward off the other conditions. On this trip, I was also coming down with a bad cold, which reduced me to a zombie state.

But Science Woman was willing to have dinner with me anyway. We met in the lobby of my hotel. And like a good scientist, she was very prepared. She had looked up several different restaurants that served vegan food. She had maps and directions all printed out.

We got into her car, and she handed me her map. This was a serious mistake.

I can get anyone lost. It's a skill that I have. One of my superpowers, you could say.

Partly, it's because I can't read maps when I'm in a moving vehicle because then I'll get motion sick. So what I usually do is take a quick glance at that map and then look back out the window. I try to create the illusion of helpfulness by reading aloud the names of every street sign I see. But since I don't like to look back down at the map, the street names have almost no relevance.

Besides, I think it's fun to get lost. I'm never particularly motivated to get us back on track. So while Science Woman was trying to drive around construction while simultaneously reading the map spread across the steering wheel and making an honest effort to actually find the restaurant, I was happily talking about my kids and my conference and looking at the buildings we were going past. "Look at the church! It's got a NEON cross on it!"

So I ended up getting a tour of the city, while we driving in circles. Cities look prettiest at night, with light spilling from windows and reflecting off wet sidewalks and mirror-like windows. Eventually, we ended up at an Ethiopian Restaurant, where a man in a white apron announced that we wouldn't be getting any silverware and then served us all kinds of delicious vegan food that we ate by scooping it up with bits of soft, thin bread.

Science Woman was warm and friendly and easy to talk to. The time went by too fast, and before I knew it, we were heading back to my hotel — a much shorter route this time — so that I could climb into bed after a long day of traveling.


YourFireAnt said...

I'll have to remember that about your map-reading skills when we finally get on the road to Nebraska.



jo(e) said...

FA: At least you've been warned!

ScienceWoman said...

It was wonderful to meet you Jo(e). But you shouldn't accept all the blame for getting us lost...we should also blame poorly-labeled Google Maps. :)

kathy a. said...

oh, yeah -- those google directions can sometimes get one in trouble. still, finding a restaurant and having a good time: who could ask for more?

Rana said...

jo(e) - you should get some of these for the ear ache: EarPlanes.

They do help. Also, pickled ginger or ginger caplets can help with the queasiness. :)

jo(e) said...

Rana: Yes, I do use ear planes, as well as take sudafed. And I take both ginger and dramamine. But still, it takes me a while to recover from a flight ...