Last Monday, ahead of the AWP conference, I flew out to Seattle. This happens to be one of my favorite places on Earth and I still have friends out that way, so I figured a few extra days to explore and thaw was worth the extra expense. The flight was ungodly early, but it also got me out to the West Coast in plenty of time to explore if I wanted to. I don’t remember if it was snowing or not, but it was seriously freaking cold. (As far as I can tell, we’re at 64″ of snow and counting for this year. In fact, it’s snowing right now.)
We (my friend, Brandy, and I) arrived at the airport in plenty of time. This is good because I had some issue getting through the security checkpoint. For the record, it’s way too cold here to have to be without shoes for any length of time, kthnx. I walked through the metal detector, which went off. So, they wanded me. I’m still not sure what set it off. Then I got to go through the full body scanner, because apparently my lack of metallic objects isn’t enough. They wanted to check out my lady parts. Since my lady parts were up to snuff (or so I assume since no one came to strip me down and probe my various orifices), I went to x-ray my bag/purse. They did this several times and then informed me that they would need to go through the contents and asked me if there was anything sharp and/or needle-like they should be aware of. My natural reaction to this would normally be, “You scanned my bag like 8 times. Did you see anything that looked like a needle?” However, I didn’t have jail penciled into my schedule, so I just said, “No.” The offending item? My container of contact lens solution that was brand new and still had the plastic seal intact.
Once I successfully navigated the security checkpoint, I hung out near the gate until my flight boarded. They checked my carry-on bag (it was a freakishly small plane) and I was set to take off. It should be noted here that the airplane gods have all conspired against me, and any time I could be seated in the middle of three seats, I was. Sure, I’m claustrophobic, but whatever. Wedge me in between my friend and some strange man (because it was always a man), or even two strange men as was the case that morning. Thankfully, it was a short flight from South Bend to Detroit. The real fun came on the main flight from Detroit to Seattle.
Brandy and I were seated, with me in the middle, next to The Lion Killer. In all fairness, this man has probably never personally killed a lion, but I have named him this nonetheless. To pass the time, he struck up a conversation with me and it was ok for a little while, but then he mentioned that he had friends who were going to Africa (He didn’t specify which country and I didn’t ask) and that they had asked him to go with them. In fact, he would randomly interject, “Africa!” because he was so excited. He pulled out his phone, opened up some pictures, and proceeded to show them to me. He said they were of his friends’ home. The photos resembled this:
The room was bigger, and there were several trophy kills displayed. The ones that broke my heart were the giant bear and the fully mature male lion. That lion was so beautiful and the thought that someone had killed him and stuffed him for no other reason than they could made my eyes tear up. My first question to TLK was, “Are these real?” I wanted them to very much be not real, but he enthusiastically answered, “Oh, yeah, they’re all real.” My next question was stuttered out, not because I have a speech issue but because I had horror and rage battling to come out. I asked, “Did they eat them?” Now, I’ve never heard of lion steaks or bear tenderloins, but if they actually used the meat I could calm myself somewhat. “No, I don’t think so. I mean, I know they didn’t eat the bear. The elk, though, they did. Elk’s delicious.” One of the pictures he showed me was of a room filled with various heads of deer, elk, etc. Being from Indiana where natural deer predation is non-existent because we haven’t met a wolf we haven’t shot, I understand hunting to cull the sick and the weak. They pose a danger to motorists when their numbers get too high and they exhaust the food supply so that the entire herd slowly starves to death. There is no good reason to trophy hunt.
If you are a trophy hunter and you are reading this: Fuck you. Fuck you in the ass with a splintered log covered in napalm. You’re the reason we can’t have nice things, like the African Black Rhino.
Those of you who actually know me outside of the internet will wonder if I managed to not stab him in the leg with a plastic spork. You will be happy to know I did not, in fact, stab him with a spork because no spork was provided to me. Well played, Delta.
We landed in Seattle and I finally got off the plane, never to see TLK again. If you’re reading this and you recognize yourself in this narrative, I hope you and your friends get eaten by a lion.
We made a beeline from the airport to the Westin Seattle hotel.
We stayed in the South Tower. There is plenty I could complain about where the hotel is concerned, but it wouldn’t do any good. Instead, I’ll concentrated on what was really nice about it. For one thing, the bed was amazing.
The next great thing was the shower.
It was a decent size and it was clean, even though we didn’t have a working ice machine for the entire week we stayed there.
By the time we got to the hotel, we were both too tired to do anything beyond sleeping.