Highlands

by Berck

We managed to score first class seats to Atlanta. Or is it business class? I really don’t remember the difference. We got to sit in the fancy leather seats up front with free drinks. We slept most of the way, having gotten up early for the drive to Denver. There are flights from COS-ATL, but they always seem pretty full.

After futilely arguing with the guy at the Thrifty counter because I did not consider a fuel-inefficient Chrysler PT Cruiser to be an “upgrade” from whatever little bitty econo box we’d reserved. You’d think I’d remember where courtesy shuttles from ATL are, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had to worry about such things. The remodeled concourses in ATL are nice(r) looking, though.

I had Joanna try to figure out how to get to Nick’s Grecian Gyro with the GPS/Macbook, but before she got it all up and running, I was on Camp Creek Parkway, it all looked familiar, and I remembered how to get there. I ate lunch there every day while I was in flight attendant training.

Nick’s was even better than I’d remembered it. If you go, it’s all about the potatoes with “white” sauce on top. I say “white” sauce because it’s not really tzitziki; it’s so much better. I told Jonah I wanted to take GA 400 north ’till it ended, because that’s the way I like to drive out of Atlanta. Only, it seems the chunk of road I really like there (which I believe is US 19 where 400 ends) went the wrong way, so we took 53 or some such instead. Which was still better than driving the interstate, but not as exciting as I’d hoped.

We stopped in Alpharetta to get a cheap inverter to power the Macbook from the car. It bothers me to no end that one cannot get a decent DC transformer for a Macbook. I would like to smack Apple silly for their refusal to either sell one, or to license their fancy magsafe connectors for someone else to sell one. As a result, I had to buy a DC inverter. And really, the idea is absurd. A car produces AC electricity with an alternator, which is then rectified to 12V DC is now being inverted and transformed to 110V AC, then rectified and transformed again to 16.5V DC. That just bothers me.

As a side note, did you know that there’s an American Girl Place in Alpharetta? Nuts. I almost went in. That place fascinates me, but I suspect my one visit was really probably enough for a lifetime.

Anyway, as I was merging back onto GA 400, I was going about the speed of traffic in one of the middle lanes and looking around for a speed limit sign, when I noticed a cop off on the right shoulder. I managed to get a ticket for 81 in a 65. I wasn’t trying to speed; I was even making an effort not to–I just didn’t realize I’d gotten up to 81 while merging over to the center lane. I was being passed as well. I guess the bright blue PT cruiser made a nice target. I swear, I don’t know how I manage to get more tickets than the rest of the world combined.

The cop was one of those obnoxious military types. “SIR CAN I HAVE YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE AND PROOF OF INSURANCE, SIR.” “It’s a rental car.” “SIR, FINE THEN SIR, I NEED TO SEE THE RENTAL AGREEMENT, SIR.” I handed it to him. “SIR, I PULLED YOU OVER SIR BECAUSE YOU WERE TRAVELING AT 81 MPH IN A 65 MPH SPEED ZONE, SIR.” And so on, you get the idea… (..for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a single word that he said…)

I actually pulled over on the shoulder of the interstate this time, something I don’t think I’ve done before. I always travel to the next exit, and make them follow me there. This pisses them off to no end, but I don’t think it’s safe to stop on the shoulder (particularly to try to merge back in with traffic), and I’m responsible for the safety of my own vehicle. It amuses me that they sometimes yell at me for doing so, despite the fact that these are probably the same cops who talk about how dangerous it is for them to stand next to a car on the shoulder of the interstate.

After getting to Highlands, I mowed the driveway since I had trouble finding it on the way in. Jonah and I went to the store, bought beer and stopped and picked up some burritos. It was nice out, so we sat outside for dinner, and played cards for a few hours until it got dark, then went to bed.

We got breakfast at some yuppie joint that had excellent though overpriced Eggs Benedict, as well as equally excellent and equally overpriced Bloody Mary’s. After that, Jonah droves us around in circles for awhile, and said she wanted to hike a trail. I found an interesting looking one on the USGS map she’d brought with us, and after driving back and forth a few times, we eventually found it. It turned out to be only vaguely interesting, but it was about the right length.

After that, we returned to the house for beer and board games. I wasn’t very impressed with either of the board games we played. We went to dinner at another yuppie joint serving French food that night. I had some very french steak (mediocre steak drenched in a wine reduction sauce) with pommes frites. Served in a double old fashioned glass. Because if you’re paying too much for french fries, someone should bring them to you in a bar glass. Jonah had some very good and not-very-French tasting lamb shank with vegetables. The best part of the whole dinner was the very good crème brûlée. Still not as good as that restaurant in Mobile that had crème brûlée with a chocolate layer…

The drive back was uneventful, and we managed to find the Brick Store Pub without much difficulty. I haven’t been there since 2003 or so, and their beer list has simply gotten out of hand. I had 3 excellent beers, (two of them Belgian beers I’d never had before) a burger even better than I remembered it being with near-perfect pub chips. I had Jonah drive us to the airport. I had no idea where the crew line in Atlanta was, since ATL SIDA badged employees can bypass security, or at least could. I don’t have such a badge anymore, and Jonah certainly doesn’t, so I set about looking for crew lines. I tried the First Class line, but they wouldn’t let us in there. (Because I’d showed him my crew badge. If I’d shown him our first class seat request cards, that would have worked.) I eventually found the correct crew line, which was apparently manned by the slowest, loudest TSA woman ever. This being Atlanta, you’d figure she would be a fat black woman. Nope, far, far worse: an Indian. Normally, the hold-up in a TSA line is the bag x-raying. In this case, the bags got through just fine, but there was a huge hold up while the TSA woman yelled at every person going through the magnetometer individually, often sending them through multiple times, with confusing instructions of “Stop! Go! Come here! Don’t move! Come this way! STOP! WHERE’S YOUR BOARDING PASS????” And keep in mind this is the crew line. We know how to go through security, really, we do.

At the gate, I realized from studying the screens (which show the standby information for approximate 2 seconds every 3 minutes) that one of us could get first class, but not the other. When the gate agent called me up to ask, I gallantly told her to give Joanna the first class seat.

I proudly reported this to Joanna who was very disappointed. She’d wanted to sit together so we could watch a movie on the laptop. I told her she could watch a movie without me, and I’d watch it at some other time. This didn’t seem to make her happy either. She wanted to sit in coach together. Insanity! I guess she just doesn’t need room like I do. I went back and got the gate agent to change the seat assignments, which she happily did. Next time I’m taking the first class seat for myself. Sheesh.

But we got an exit row, so it wasn’t all that bad. And we got to watch Juno on the way back. After seeing the trailers for it when we watched Lars and the Real Girl, I’ve had high expectations. All the best lines were in the trailer, which always annoys me, but it was still great. Excellent, even. Watch it if you haven’t, though I suspect that I think Jonah and I are the only two people who haven’t seen it, because Netflix is slow that way, and we don’t go to the theater.

There are some pictures.

One Response to “Highlands”

  1. nana Says:

    The rhododendrons are truly lovely! So glad you got to enjoy them!
    Thanks so much, Berck , for mowing the driveway.
    And having a black snake (or was it a garter snake) as a bonus… I bet
    there weren’t any signs of mice in the house!

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