Without taking anything from the guy who actually got stuck for ten years, albeit on an island with hot and probably foxy MILFs who sang him lullabies every day, I had my own epic journey today of self discovery, longing, temptation, and murder. And by that, I mean that it just took me a really long time to get to my hotel room.
In the spirit of Blinking like Malcolm Gladwell, here are some snap judgements about Durham, where i am visiting for Duke Law’s open house, before I move on to the Homeric narrative, written in the style of Suzanne Collins (okay, not really, just temporarily forgetting how to use past/future tenses).
1. There are a LOT of white people here.
2. Actually, there are a LOT of black people here.
3. Where are all the Asians!? While looking out my window, I found one looking at me in my hotel room. We waved at the same time.
4. Durham is dark as crap. Please note that this is in no way related to #2, or #2, but where are all the streetlights?
5. The roads here are as confusing as all hell, which is really something coming from a quintessential LA driver. Years of weaving, bumper to bumper traffic, and cutting others off while being cut off has offered me no advantage whatsoever in reading the road signs. One street can branch off into three different ones without much warning, highway signs resemble Ikea instructions, and combined with #4, it’s nigh impossible to know where you are.
6. I’m positive I saw at least 10 skinheads while driving around (to be fair, I did a lot of driving). Welcome to the Confederacy.
7. For some reason, sleeping in cars is really popular here in good old North Carolina. Most of the people are wearing huge Coke bottle glasses with mouths agape like hipster fish.
8. There are no cars here. Or policemen. Or places that sell the exotic item known as contact lens solution. Even GAS STATIONS don’t carry them. Possibly explained by #7.
I board the plane at 11:45 or so. Because I’m Zone 5, I board after everyone has gone — the first class passengers, Zones 1-4, active duty military men, and people with babies. I know it’s going to be a long flight, so I buckle down and spend my time alternating between moments of sleep and reading chapters of Blink. The sleep is often restless, filled with awkward limbic jerks and periods of nasal congestion. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even breathe at all, and I awake to a shortness of breath, sucking long pulls of air into my lungs. I manage to overhear a flight attendant’s conversation with another passenger.
“1 hour and 10 minutes until we land,” she says. I look at my phone. 3:50. My phone is on Airplane Mode, so I know that the time still reflects Los Angeles time. Has it really been four hours already? It takes me just a second to calculate that my plane will land at 8 pm, and another second to pull out my boarding pass and see that my connecting flight leaves at 7:53.