Up at 4 a.m. -- 3.55 a.m. actually, duck out into the chilly black night for a quick bracing view of the starry Arizona desert sky, then back iknside for a fast browse of the online news.
Ugh, a crazy person has lept over a pew and jumped the Pope at Christmas Mass -- right in St. Peter's. (He evidently was not hurt).
What the hell kind of security do they have in Rome? I mean for Pete's sake (so to speak), Derek Jeter gets better protection at Yankee Stadium.
And the video. Did you see how those people were dressed, in St. Peter's, with the Pope, on Christmas Eve? Down jackets and cheap scarves and jeans? They looked like the mid-morning crowd at Wal-Mart. Come on, folks: At least put on a tie or a skirt for Christmas Mass at St. Peter's with the Pope in attendance. Dress well. He does.
Anyway, back to reality here. Who gets up at 4 a.m. unless it's for a tragedy, an illness, a boot-camp whistle, a psychotic episode or ...oh yeah, an airplane trip, which come to think of it shares something in common with all of those things. The airlines have conditioned us to getting up at 4 a.m. Hit the deck!
The online air-travel maps are all blinking green. (After all, it isn't dawn yet in half of the country). The media weather hysterics seem to have settled in for a long winter's nap. Hey, it's snowing in Minneapolis. Hey, it's winter! It's Minneapolis!
The air travel system is still tangled from the thousands of cancellations last weekend on the East Coast. Airplanes are not all where they should be. Crews are out of place, and work schedules are messed-up, with the end of the month approaching. Who knows what adventure lies ahead for me today between Arizona and Newark?
Once more into the breach! My cross-country flight is on time, and so is the connection through the uproariously named George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where I brace myself for that all-consuming announcement from the shrill lady on the loudspeaker constantly threatening to "`rist" anyone for making inappropriate jokes or comments about security.
The bag is packed, the coffee mug washed.
A quick duck outside for a lungful of cold desert air and a look at that black starry sky, where a meteor streaks into the horizon over the mountains.
And so away, and Merry Christmas to all.