Matt Gray

Colorado Trip Log: Day 1

Jan 3, 2006

Note: this entry describes December 20, 2005.

My brother and I decided to fly to Colorado to visit our father for Christmas. I had purchased tickets a month or so ago, and packed the previous evening. As usual, I had difficulty getting up for the day of travel.

Our mother loves to arrive quite early at the airport—too early. This meant that I had to be totally packed by 10am; of course, the previous night’s packing is never enough, and I tore through the apartment tracking down any forgotten items. We left my apartment, picked up my brother (who was similarly struggling), and hit the airport.

After checking in (and watching my brother’s guitar case nearly get knocked over by a skycap) it was time to hit the food court: we were starving. Now, I’ve recently begun eating things other than cheese pizza, but as fast food goes I usually stick with the oldies. My brother foolishly decided on the Chinese with its tempting-looking broccoli. Huge mistake. The food was largely inedible (according to Jon). My pizza was greasy but good—nothing more than I expected, nothing less. Water cost $1.75.

It’s roughly noon and now we have two hours to kill in the airport before our flight leaves. Thank heavens for Galaga! Yes, Galaga. There was a combination Ms. Pac-Man / Galaga arcade unplugged in the corner next to our gate. Score! We kept feeding the thing quarters. It was nice to play it on a real stand-up machine (vs. MAME); it’s much harder to keep the whole screen in view, and the curve of the TV-like screen distorts things a touch. I much prefer a standard arcade button to a keyboard, any day.

At some point during our gameplay an unhappy-looking man rode up on a cart and began collecting change from the machines. He paused expectantly and stared at us. Jon was on a roll, double blasters and aceing the Challenging Stages, no immediate end in sight. The maintenance man watched in eerie silence. After a few minutes, we were both out of lives, and gave up control of the corner. We were out of quarters, anyway.

I wonder about the quarter-collector’s mindset. Is this his dream job? He converts quarters from the machines into dollar bills from the changer noiselessly, save the clink of quarters. Did Galaga’s simple bleeps and bloops needle him as he waited, or was his spectatorship a welcome break from servicing yet more gaming machines?

We boarded our flight. It was my turn for window seat, and I passed the time fairly effortlessly using my camera:





The last photo is a 10-frame time lapse that I summed together to create an impression of the moving ground. I like the patterns, but was hoping for a little more out of the image.

Following a smooth landing, we met up with my father and his girlfriend, Lynne. During the evening we ate at an Irish pub, visited an art gallery (the Abend gallery, in the midst of a miniatures show), and me Lynne’s mother, Lucille. We stayed at her place for the evening and prepared to set out for Montrose in the morning.

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