Picking up Emma Jane

I finally picked up Emma Jane.

The goal was to escort her from Portland airport to downtown upon her arrival. This was Emma’s first trip to Portland. I think I’ve been here 3 or 4 times now. This was planned for 2:30 PM on Monday. At about 1:10pm, I get a phone call. EJ is still in customs in Vancouver… Her flight is due to depart in 5 minutes. There are twenty people in front of her. No way will she make it here for my convoy. We abandon the plan. I was scheduled to race in the Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series 2008. More about that in a later post. Short version: Portland has an insane MTB scene.

After meeting Gabrielle at the Convention Center, we cycled to the Portland International Raceway. This was mostly uphill and I really enjoyed the ride.

After the race, we cycled back into town. My plan: eat, write, and sleep. I called Emma to get an update. I could not believe she was still in Vancouver. This was 8pm and she arrived there before 1pm. She was booked to leave, but the plane was not yet boarding. I had time to find food, eat, shower, and get to PDX to meet her.

Emma had left Leslie a message at her hotel: “Air Canada is a tool”. After ensuring the message taker that the message was indeed as heard, it took a little longer for it to sink in.

I arrived at PDX about 2 minutes after Emma had retrieved her bags. I wish I had been there to greet her off the plane, but my timing was poor. I had estimated the flight would be slightly late, given it departed late. I was wrong. Fortunately, it was the shortest wait of the day for EJ.

We got straight onto the MAX and headed to her hotel. This took about 45 minutes and cost $2.05 each. CHEAP! On the way in, we chatted lightly and I was impressed at how conscious she was. Arriving at Pioneer Square, we walked the 3 blocks to her hotel. The hotel staff at the desk were pleased to meet the author of “Air Canada is a tool” and expressed their admiration and mirth at being able to give Leslie such a message.

We left her bags at the desk, for transport up to her room, and joined Leslie and Debra in the restaurant. Emma and I were taste-testing the scotch at the bar, and blocking the access to Leslie’s table, when Cat excused herself to get past me. Little did she know who she was trying to get past. She didn’t recognize me from the back and was focused on getting to the table. Given the time of day and that she had just arrived from the airport, it’s no wonder she didn’t notice me.

Scotch in hand, we returned to the table. The conversation was a lot of fun. I swear, if I’d had a video camera running, the content would go viral on YouTube. I can’t remember everything we talked about, but it was bloody good fun. Debra and I had never met, but she had some zingy one-liners. Cat and I hadn’t seen each other since OSCON 2007, so we briefly caught up.

I had last seen Emma and Leslie at BSDCan 2008. I’d heard some updates from Emma since then, but Leslie and I hadn’t been in touch. She was in classic Leslie-mode. You know what I mean if you know Leslie socially. Oh were is a video camera when I need one! I missed Leslie.

About 12:30 am, it was time to depart. The others were headed to bed, and my escort duties performed, I was homeward bound. As I walked toward Pioneer Square, I saw a MAX train slide past. Oh… ummm, it’s two blocks away, I won’t make it in time. I soon learned that was the last train of the night. Ouch.

Cabs? None to be seen. OK, I’ll start walking. Eventually I caught a cab and got back to the DoubleTree. Safe, but not necessarily sound.

Tuesday morning, I awoke with a headache and very hot. It appears I did not drink enough water after my 30+ km ride. It’s now 2:17 pm and I’m still fighting off the pain. It was not the scotch. I’m sure. Perhaps I will resort to drugs later. The Venti 4-pump Mocha Frap isn’t doing it. Hmmm, perhaps I need to have a second.

I do wish Emma, Cat, Leslie, and Debra lived closer to where I did. So I could have this much fun more often.

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