(When I came up with that title in the shower yesterday morning, I originally had a much more negative post in mind. While I make no guarantees, at this time I don’t intend on delving into that. But I liked the title too much to give it up.)

As of last night, I have returned from my trip to the Surfside Resort and Beach Club (aka my parents’ house  in WNY – I grew up right on Lake Erie, with my own beach) and I am back in the Enlightened Absolutism of Amandaland. Saw The Mom, The Dad, Little Brother, The SIL, The Queen (my great aunt), Simon (dog); Nina, Spot, and Bug (cats); my may-as-well-be-my-family-members friends Blanche and Dorothy; Liam and Oliver (Little Brother and The SIL’s dogs).

(No, I do not really have friends named Blanche and Dorothy. This is probably where I should explain that unless otherwise stated, all the people I talk about will either have a descriptive moniker – i.e. The Mom, Landlord – or a pseudonym, one that is probably an inside joke to them and/or me, and is most probably related to a TV or movie character. I do this because if I like said person, I want to protect his/her privacy. If I don’t like said person, I don’t need a lawsuit. :) All of the animals are their real names, though.)

First, sometimes I wonder if Boston is trying to get rid of me. I love this area; I have no desire to pick up and leave, without an incredibly compelling reason. But based on my experiences over the past couple of years, I often feel very unwelcome, on several levels.

Now, let’s go back to Wednesday night. I had about 95% of my packing done. I set the alarm on my cell phone (Five Things That are Never Allowed in my Bedroom: laptop, television, food, mirrors, and clocks). I did the dishes (a first for me, leaving town and not leaving my sink overflowing with dirty dishes). I’d already printed my boarding pass and put it in my wallet, with my passport (yes, I was travelling domestically, but there’s always a possibility of going to Canada whenever I’m out there, so I take the passport). I mopped the kitchen floor. I finally dragged myself to bed around midnight and took an Ambien, but was up until about 1, playing on my new iPod touch.

Now…my flight on Thursday morning was at 8:15am. I like to be there about 90 minutes prior, so in this case, 6:45am. As I take the T and the Silver Line to Logan, I need to allow about an hour of travel time – 5:45am. To make sure I had enough time to get dressed, pack my remaining toiletries, do a quick e-mail check, put the trash out, maybe get some coffee, and allow for any T delays (delays? on the MBTA? Never!), I set my cell phone alarm for 5:00am. Or so I thought…

I rolled over in bed, determined not to actually get up until my phone was playing “9 to 5” (yes, that’s my alarm clock ringtone – a holdover from my former job, when my schedule actually was 9-5). Hmmm…it seems awfully light in here for not-yet-5am… I grabbed my phone from the nightstand: 6:30am.

Holy. Fuck.

I still don’t know if I just hadn’t turned the alarm on when I set it (I checked – it had been set) or if it had gone off and I, still in an Ambien-induced stupor, wasn’t thinking and just turned it off, or maybe even went to hit Snooze and hit Dismiss instead. No recollection whatsoever.

Anyway…I flew. Threw on some clothes, tossed my contacts and cleaning solution into my makeup bag, which then went in my duffel. Shoved my phone and iPod into my tote bag/carry-on. Ran around closing windows. Slipped on my slingback Crocs, grabbed the trash and my luggage, and was out the door and heading or the T by 6:45am (I considered a cab, but I figured by the time I located a phone number and called, the cab got out to my apartment, and then rush hour traffic, it wasn’t going to get me there any faster). Left without a hoodie/jacket, my jewelry (all I had was the rose quartz crystal bracelet I wear at all times; I feel completely naked when I leave the house without wearing my rainbow moonstone pendant. :( ), or burning any incense (I’ve come to the conclusion my apartment has some serious energy issues. I burn two different kinds of incense daily, to clear negative energy and attract positive energy. And now you think I’m some kind of New Age flake. I have a tendency here and there, but really, not so much. I’m just at a point where I’ll try just about anything to get things going better in my life.).

The gods of the MBTA smiled on me for a change, because once we got going on the Red Line there were no delays to South Station, I didn’t have to wait long or the Silver Line, and that was also a pretty quick trip to Terminal C. I checked my bag around 7:45, just as they were starting to board my flight. Got through security pretty quick (for a major airport, security for gates C26-C36 is a well-oiled machine; I’ve always appreciated that) – George Clooney had it right in Up in the Air: always wear slip-on shoes. :) And got to my gate just as they were calling to seat all rows. Got on the plane, probably the easiest flight I’ve had in a long time (more on that later), landed early (I almost always have that happen when I fly from Boston to Buffalo). My one complaint? Bravo was showing The West Wing episode “Six Meetings Before Lunch.” They turned off the TVs to do the safety presentation (seriously – does anybody pay attention to those anymore? Even people who have never flown in their lives could probably recite them word for word). And when they turned them back on, I had missed “The Jackal”!!! And if you haven’t seen C.J. do ‘The Jackal,’ then you haven’t seen Shakespeare the way it was meant to be done (thank you, Sam Seaborn).

But the oversleeping and very nearly missing my flight…made me start thinking that maybe Boston really isn’t so eager to get rid of me…

However…Boston could take some lessons from Buffalo, when it comes to trying to keep people.

I have probably stated it before, but I will say it again for good measure: I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO GO BACK TO BUFFALO. I don’t hate on it, like some ex-pats I know do. But for many reasons, personal and professional, I cannot live there. For me, living in Buffalo was like being stuck in a snowglobe – seeing a bigger world out there but not being able to break out; drowning in the water and half the time all this white shit flying around. :D It took me three tries to get out – when I first went to college (started at Ithaca College; transferred after my freshman year to Niagara University) and again when I applied to law school (part of the point was to get out, and I just ended up at UB); it finally took when I came to Boston 3 years ago. But Buffalo keeps trying to suck me back in.

When flying from Boston to Buffalo, I have had my flight delayed all of once (okay, and cancelled once, but that was more because of the idiocy of US Airways than any valid reason. Lesson learned: stick with your beloved Jet Blue). Flying from Buffalo to Boston, I’ve lost count of how many times my flight has been delayed. Even on my first visit to Boston, before I moved, my flight was delayed. And last night was no exception. My flight was supposed to be at 6pm. I arrived at the airport a little after 4:30. Around 5:30 I finally noticed that the flight had been delayed to 6:30 (it was on the board at the gate; not sure when it was actually announced). Typical, but no biggie. Then about 20 minutes later it was announced that we were delayed until 8:10. Lovely. But on the other hand, some of Buffalo’s other behavior shows complete disrespect. I couldn’t get a free, unsecured wi-fi signal to save myself.

Now, about me and flying…in general, I don’t fly well. I’m not afraid to fly; I just don’t like it – the high altitudes give me horrible headaches, right in my temples and jaw hinges especially (I think it’s a safe bet that barring a really, really, incredibly compelling reason, I will never be living in Denver), sometimes some nausea. The stale air probably doesn’t help, either. Now, my flight Thursday morning was fine – no headaches, no nausea. Actually, my flights out of Boston are usually fairly painless.

Last night, the headaches started while I was still sitting in the terminal. Psychosomatic, maybe, but it’s not something I really panic over or even give much thought to before I fly. We boarded at 7:40, left the gate at 8:10, and finally had wheels up at 8:40. I think I may have had some relief while I was meditating (every flight I take, once electronics can be used again I meditate for at least 30 minutes – various tracks on my iPod, stereo headphones, and a sleep mask), but once I was alert again, it was agony for the rest of the flight. At one point during the descent I actually thought there was a chance I would throw up. There was lingering pain even after we landed around 9:40 and after I got home around 11.

I don’t usually like landing at Logan because there’s no one waiting for me. It’s just kinda sad and lonely – I get off the plane, pee, go to baggage claim, grab my bag, and head out to wait for the Silver Line. An hour or so later, I let myself into my empty apartment.

But last night, while that was all still there, I did have a greater sense of calm than normal as I walked through the concourse. And when I got to my apartment, maybe it’s a result of all the cleaning and feng shui I’ve been doing all summer, but it felt more like home to me than it had in a while.

Dear Buffalo,
I SAID NO. LEAVE ME ALONE!

Dear Boston/Cambridge,
I’m glad to be home.

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