Geek March Madness, SXSW 2001!

Thursday March 8, 2001

Things began badly. I dragged my luggage to the subway only to be informed that someone had jumped in front of a train at a station north of where I was. Of course, I was heading north and there was no sign of any of the promised "shuttle buses," as was apparent by the hundreds of rush hour commuters lining the street. Even flagging a cab on busy Yonge St. was going to be difficult. I lugged my bags another block west before hailing a cab. The normally ten minute subway ride took 25 minutes in the taxi and cost me $10.

Next, I was informed that the normal "Airport Express" service from this subway station had been discontinued. There was still a bus that went to the airport but it didn't go to the terminal I needed. I grabbed it, and then had to wait for a shuttle at the airport to take me to Terminal 3. Originally planning to be at the airport an hour and a half early, I was looking at the huge crowds in front of the check in counter a scarce 45 minutes before my flight. Gangs of students were obviously being hustled off to somewhere educational. Not surprisingly, it wasn't Minneapolis, and I was able to get through ahead of them.

Once on board my flight, the captain informed us that the plane's wings would need de-icing. So, the flight was about 40 minutes late taking off. I had about two hours before my connecting flight to Austin, so I wasn't worried. Yet.

Two hours of sitting in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport isn't exactly fun, but I had a good opportunity to do some American-watching. I suppose it's because I always visit smaller American cities, instead of going to L.A. or New York, but I always find the Americans I see to be very homogenous. Oh, and lots of mullets, too…

I did meet a nice couple from Wisconsin (I swear, it's always Wisconsin. It must be the home of the nicest people in the U.S.). The three of us got bumped up to first class since they hadn't sold all the seats, and they like to have it full for weight reasons. I didn't think I looked that fat…

After landing in Austin, I met Michael at the airport and we went back to his place, where I met Ari and Julien, and their puppy Miles. Very nice people, and no problem talking. Michael is quite chatty and we never ran out of stuff to talk about.

We were expecting Dave to get in about 11:30, but he called and said that his connecting flight had been delayed and that he was stuck in Dallas until morning. I had no choice but to stay at Michael's and then hook up with Dave in the morning. The airline were going to fly him to Austin by about 9:00 am. Michael and I stayed up chatting. By midnight, though, I was really tired and happy to get to sleep.

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©2001 by James McNally and Consolation Champs.