About the author

Matt is the author, co-author, secondary-author, ghost-author, and non-author of articles, speeches, book chapters, and even entire books! Next will be the bestseller "Losing My Religions." Currently, he is President of One Step for Animals; previously, he was shitcanned from more nonprofits than there is room to list here. Before Matt’s unfortunate encounter with activism, he was an aerospace engineer who wanted to work for NASA to impress Carl Sagan. His hobbies include photography, almost dying, and {REDACTED} He lives in Tucson with Anne and no dogs, no cats, and no African tortoises (although he cares for all of these).

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Written last Friday on the 777 flying from Frankfurt, Germany, back to the US

I’ve heard it suggested that you should travel together before getting married, because the stresses of travel will show just how strong your relationship is. Anne and I have generally traveled just about perfectly. Heck, a trip to Oregon had one of my worst Crohn’s attacks ever, and still rates as one of our best family vacations ever. (Anne has had to get me to the hospital on so many vacations that she always knows where the nearest hospital is.) I had even commented on Wednesday how Anne was the perfect travel companion. 

Yesterday, we had a lovely morning walk to and through the Erfurt castle [pics to come], then made it to Frankfurt and had a wonderful Ethiopian lunch, sitting outside with no one else around.

Then it went south. 

Using my phone (omg, how did we travel before these? Phone, camera, maps, email, texts, purchases, research) I bought tickets for the train from the main station to the airport stop. As I had numerous times before on the trip, I showed the QR code to the agent. But it turns out I had only bought one ticket. He called the senior guy, who took us off the train at the next stop and walked us to an ATM to get cash for the fine. (I wonder if it occurred to him that buying one ticket had to be a mistake. Either try to ride for free and risk getting fined, or buy two.)

OK, it is just money. When we’re about to die, I won’t look back and bemoan that withdrawal. I felt stupid, but not too much – people goof up, especially on a website in a language they don’t speak. But things kept going wrong after that for the next few hours, ending with us backtracking in the sun after yet another wrong turn trying to walk to the hotel. (At the end of our 2018 trip, we took a cab from the train station to the airport. I knew the place was less than two kilometers away, but the driver drove all over and charged us forty euro.) And while we were slogging with our backpacks and carry-ons, Anne was thinking that we’re going to have to walk it again in the morning to get to our flight. At the hotel, they mention a shuttle that runs in the morning (which I knew about), but Anne heard “forty euro a person” instead of “four.” Oy.

I am well aware of the “peak / end” effect of memories (that you judge an event based on its peak emotional moment as well as its end, rather than its overall balance of good vs bad). But luckily, I knew the entire trip that I was having a magical experience, and I know the memories of the trip will be a regular source of joy going forward. (I know that even while in pretty significant pain right now, crammed into this cattle car seat on the 777 flying back to America.) 

There she is, the pretty-old 777-200.

Probably Newfoundland; this flight didn't go over Greenland.

Dresden pictures soon (I hope).


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