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March 30, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Getting There

I had two meetings in the morning. The first the one that I've been running for a few days, the second was actually a management meeting that Bob went to last week. While we were talking a car accident happened right outside the window, and we all watched to make sure that the people weren't badly hurt, and we saw folks out there with cellphones calling the police, so we didn't do much. It wasn't until half an hour later that ambulances, a firetruck, and the police showed up. That was somewhat disheartening to see, but it took that long for someone to actually respond.

Snow was falling. The snow was the main factor for the accident, and the weather outside was looking fairly nasty. It wasn't particularly heavy, so I wasn't worried about DIA having so much snow that the runways wouldn't work, one of the runways there is heated, which ensures that ice doesn't stop flights. The visibility, however, was another thing entirely.

For the latter part of the morning I huddled with Geoff online, half scared and half in anticipation. All the while I was also working frantically to get a CD made for Bob of my entire debug environment, finish some of the code so that it would break anyone else that was working on the new stuff, and get it all tucked into the right places, all the ends neatly tucked away. I was smart and actually brought a frozen lunch with me in the morning so that I didn't have to do anything or go anywhere. I managed to get more work done, finish the things that had to be finished and then sat around waiting for Brandy, who was on the phone. We left in plenty of time.

She took away to the airport that I don't think I've ever been on. With the way things are laid out here, it's easy to pick a thousand different ways to go South and East, and that's the real directions to the airport, just go South and East. The sky was gray, and snow was slanting nearly horizontal as wind buffeted the car. The last time she went to the airport it was also snowing, and Brandy was lamenting the fact that she seemed cursed to have snow every time she went to the airport. The last time her flight was canceled because of lack of visibility, and as we got closer and the snow fell harder it looked more and more likely that we might have problems. So I left her my celphone number, in case her flight did get canceled, so we would have some way of figuring out where to meet.

She dropped me off. There was nobody at the US Airways counter, and all the flights were on time. I checked in quickly, and strolled to the gates. The flight was uneventful, though the food was probably some of the best airline food I've had in quite some time. I'd also brought The Weekend Novelist and one of my new Circa notebooks. Since I had the time, I went through the entire first weekend's exercises on character creation. The problem is that most of those characters are characters I used to write with years ago, and I'm not sure if they fit anymore, or are actually characters I be interested in spending the year with. That bothered me some, but it also felt good to write.

We got in late, and I found the shuttle to the city pretty easily, but it wasn't leaving until 10:10 PM. I thought about calling Geoff's workplace, but wasn't sure if I could actually get through to him or if it would really make any difference. I also got a chance to call John and reassure him of my safety in fact that I had arrived just fine. He didn't answer the phone, but it was good to just touch base and tell him through the answering machine.

I knew that the bus from Geoff's workplace to his home was leaving at 10:45 and I wasn't sure, at all, if the shuttle would get there in time, but I'd also been reassured by him, plenty of times, that it wouldn't be a problem if I did miss, as there were dozens and dozens of taxis right there. I did, however, want to make the bus, as it would likely be cheaper. After dropping everyone else off, the shuttle driver finally got me to my destination. He got me off in the middle of the street, because the traffic was going so slowly. He told me to walk in front of him to be safe. I have ran into direction I knew I needed to go, and then saw a man in a black leather jacket with glasses and a beard standing on the corner looking anxious. I looked at him, he looked at me, and when I got close enough we both said each other's names. It was Geoff.

We took each other's hand, and I handed him my larger bag, and we started running towards the bus stop. It would be close, but we could make it. We ran under skyscrapers, across the courtyard of a business building, and dashed across streets, almost without looking. He said it was a Pittsburgh thing, and given all my old Seattle training it was particularly frightening. Still, after all this time in Colorado, I should be used to being able to cross a street so long as I'm not about to be run over by something. It was a whirlwind of steel and glass at night, with glimpses of crumbling brick walls, glass castles, walled in gardens, and common storefronts. We ended up panting in front of a low brick wall, next to a bus stop sign and several other people slouched waiting.

Geoff stopped and handed me a packet of passes for the bus, and they were good for one ride at a time. He'd bought them for me for the weekend, and I tucked them away in my purse. We got to actually say hi to each other while we caught our breaths and size each other up a little. It's been so many years that I've been meeting people from the Net that I don't know what it's like to meet someone you've never seen before and have it be strange. He was as I expected, mostly. A little more slender, a little more abrupt, and with many physical habits that I could never have seen, but all the phrasing was familiar and the words and thoughts were in very familiar patterns so I felt safe, on familiar ground at least. And the friendliness was very evident, so that was good.

The bus arrived soon thereafter, and we piled on and he went to the back seats of the bus, which is where I used to always sit. We sat close and he told me tales and histories of the city, of the route, of the hill that he lived on and the relative personalities of all the neighborhoods we passed through. It was relaxing to not have to talk, to just listen and learn and find out more about what I was travelling through. I watched all the things outside, and he watched me. It was somewhat startling to be the object of such intense scrutiny but whenever I said, "What?" he would shrug and just say that he was looking at me.

We didn't reach his house until 11:15. I called John pretty much immediately, but found that my celphone didn't have good access from there, so used Geoff's land line instead. Geoff was good and encouraging about that, and John was glad that I called back. I hadn't written Geoff's phone number in the address book at home, only in the book that I carry with me everywhere, so I gave John Geoff's number as well so he could call me here as necessary. It proved useful later on.

Late, late, late... and both Geoff and I were nervous about things, and it took a while to get comfortable. Lots and lots and lots of talking ensued, just curled up by each other, and finally being able to use full out parallel instead of digital serial. It was good. Good to finally just go one off the other and play through conversations and take all the tangents and be and figure this out. Sleep happened very late indeed and when it did I felt safe and a bit more sure, and really did feel that this could work out well.

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