Wednesday 7.10.13

Last Friday I was having an e-mail conversation about an upcoming photoshoot. Laura and I were discussing the building of a trapeze of sorts as she’s currently taking a trapeze class and thought it might be interesting if she did some posing with her newly acquired skills. At some point in the discussion, I mentioned that I was almost ready to shut down all of my tech stuff and go tech free for a few days as I was about to leave for Montana.

The Montana trip for me was a tag along deal as my wife works for a company that is currently working with the State of Montana in Helena. Since she has had to make several trips out there, she thought it would be good for me to tag along and together we would go see a few things… like Glacier National Park.

We did just that. Of course, I took along a pack full of camera stuff so that I could try to make a few pretty pictures or if nothing else make some kind of record of where we were and what we saw. That story and most of those pictures will come soon as I’m still sorting though the images. This part of the story is the “tech free” part which actually happens at the end of the trip.

After three or four days of driving around and hiking around the State of Montana… into Bozeman then to Butte, then to Whitefish and Glacier National Park and then down to Helena, I would have to get on a flight home. The hotel was just around the corner from the airport so getting there was not a big deal. The bigger deal(s) was/were that I had to be there at 4:45am, I had eaten a ginormous salad at a former brothel the previous evening, my body functions were out of whack and I did not have a seat assignment.

I said goodbye and proceeded up to my gate. There are a total of four gates at the Helena airport, so it was fairly easy. At check-in a man handed me my seat assignment with my boarding pass for the next flight out of Minneapolis. This was a pretty fancy seat! There was enough leg room in front of me that they could have added another whole seat. This would be great.

As I waited for takeoff and more passengers were being seated, A woman sat down next to me. Her husband stood in the aisle as she asked if I would mind switching seats so he could sit next to her. “Well, I suppose I could do that… she seems like a nice woman to sit next to” I said. “Oh, she is nice” he said. I switched. His seat would be the one right behind where I was sitting but minus the leg room. I got up and had to squeeze past a man on the isle side seat.

This is where “tech free” started to kick in for me. I had enjoyed not looking at any e-mail or listening to the phone or phone messages or even collecting any mail for a few days. It was just me (and my wife with HER cell phone… the one that continued to tell us it could not find service) and Montana, ready for an adventure. The man next to me on this first flight was powering down his cell phone and texting out one or two last texts. He stuck that in his pocket and pulled out a different cell phone and did the same thing. Two cell phones? Maybe one for his secret identity or something. After we took off, he pulled out an I-pad and watched some movie for the 2.5 hour flight. I enjoyed the view, had some coffee and cookies and slept a little. When we landed, the man powered on his phones and checked important things like the weather… the same weather the pilot had just described. I found my next gate.

My next gate, of course, was on the other side of the world (in this case, other side of the airport). I like those moving sidewalks a lot. My next flight would leave around 9:40 so I had to hustle up! Then… I noticed that my flight had changed from “on time” to “delayed”. I would be there until 12:05pm. Two hours of airport time, just me and a zillion people who had pulled out their tech stuff. I found a corner seat to sit in, pulled out and ate the roast beef sandwich I had packed. Everyone (except for maybe a few kids and people out of my immediate view) had some kind of phone or laptop going. Everyone. Everyone except me.

People were so consumed by whatever they were doing on those devices, no one noticed me being consumed by what these people were doing.

On my left about 5 seats away was a woman who I would guess was in her later 30’s. She looked like she had made an attempt to look “Okay” but still looked kind of rumpled and rushed. She had an 11 or 12 year old boy with her. He was gaming, she was talking and texting. The striking thing about her was her hair-do. It was blonde-ish, parted off center from the top with a longer bang sweeping over her right side. In the back, she had created one of those kind of bun-bump things – I guess to make your head look longer? It looked as if she had grabbed a handful of styling gel and mashed it into the back of her head while bunching up the top part and combing out and over some longer strands. You could still see the mashed up work of shit on the back of her head. I graded her “do” as a “don’t”.

A young family sat a couple of rows over from me. They had a girl who was probably around 7. She would run over to the window every so often, scour the airport and then run back to tell her father (who was on a cell phone) that our plane had not yet arrived.

Across from me was a man (on a cellphone device) who was wearing a long sleeved light colored shirt, a tie, a pullover sweater vest, printed slacks and dark suede lace up leather shoes with blue soles. There was a small briefcase/bag next to him on the floor by his feet. At first, I thought he was texting. It looked as if he was typing and he would move his mouth as though he was sounding out the words. He would stop typing and read… and then as he would read he would react with facial expressions. I tried to imagine what or who this guy was. Was he on a business trip? He was well groomed and everything and seemed to have all of his stuff in order. He had even plugged himself into a charging station while on his device. Then I thought maybe he was actually playing a game. Maybe this guy was like Rainman or Forrest Gump or something. Whatever he was, he kept busy.

There was an Asian woman (with a laptop) with a very small daughter. We made time to breast feed. Mom managed to keep up on her keyboard while nursing. The girl slept well on the flight.

One of the airport staff people made an announcement explaining the delay in our flight. It seems that there was a lot of rain in Minneapolis that morning which caused flights from other places to be put off or delayed due to the weather. Our jet was coming from Louisville, Kentucky. She pronounced it as “Louuuuuuuuuuuuuu-vul”, not Lou-e-ville or Lew-iss-ville.

While this was all going on, I heard a much louder voice coming from the next gate. It seems that there would be a flight boarding for Seattle. A man with a backpack was leaning over the counter and having an animated discussion with the airport man behind the counter. Evidently, the seat he was assigned somehow was un-assigned when he printed out his boarding pass. Seat 20-A. Earlier, the airline had called for 4 or 5 people to take a $400.00 voucher to give up their seat. The backpack man asked if he would receive $400.00 for having his seat un-assigned. Nope.

He yelled out to everyone in the waiting area to see if someone would give up their seat or who was assigned to seat 20-A. The man behind the counter tried to calmly explain what backpack man’s options would be. Nothing looked good at the moment. Backpack man suggested that he would simply keep complaining long enough that he would delay THIS flight, making people miss their connecting flights… how would counter man like that? Counter man simply walked over to a phone and made a call. I expected a couple of airport thugs to come escort backpack man out. They boarded the flight then boarded the voucher seat people and then finally let backpack man on last. Maybe he was in the cargo hold.

Finally, our flight boarded and took off around 12:20pm. Going tech free was good. I plan to do it again.

That was a lot to read and pretty boring. To help with that, I’ll add a few images from the trip and then will follow up with more of the Montana story in a couple of days. On some of these pictures you can click to see the big BIG image. Very big.

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