they lost our crib in CLT


The liminal needs lubrication.

For some reason, that phrase was running through my head all day as we flew from LAX to Charlotte, then on to Raleigh-Durham, facing insane security lines, frustrated passengers and our own throbbing lumbar pain crammed into row 31. In our extended family, we have defined the “liminal” as the place where two very different states of being meet.

It could be the murky area between dream life and wakefulness; the gloaming of sunset versus the night; or the ragged adolescence of pubescence and manhood. In less poetic forms, it is the following:

a) your sinuses (where the outside world meets the inside of your head)

b) your computer printer (where theoretical code meets actual paper and actual ink)

and, c) airports.

All three of these mundane liminals are painful in one way or another: your sinuses are fraught with notoriously bad engineering on the part of your Maker. Printers SUCK. And airports, where a colossal form of transportation (airplanes) meets another (buses, cars, etc) offer all kinds of chances for you to experience incredible discomfort.

Airports are also liminal in that it is cheating – it is YOU being in ANOTHER PLACE SO QUICKLY in a way not possible a hundred years ago. For this we’re all genuflecting in thanks, but these days the Pain in the Ass Quotient is so damned high that it questions your choice to travel at all.

And so, the liminal needs lubrication. In your sinuses, as well as all other body orifices where air meets the inside, it’s actual lubrication in the form of saline nasal spray, Blistex lip balm, or whatever you put on your arse.

For printers, it’s impeccable driving software and a solid USB connection. And in airports – as well as all travel – it’s money. The lubrication of a well-placed $20 bill can lop an hour off your misery stopwatch. Going first class (or business class) can turn your veal-fattening pen of a coach experience into a soul-divining retreat. All it takes is lots and lots and lots of money.

In travel, there is no “almost” – you’re either at your destination with comfort or you’re sleeping between two chairs on Concourse D. The question, as with your sinuses, as with your printer, as with anything that deals with the wildly fluctuating moods of the Liminal, is how well-lubricated you’ve become.

0 thoughts on “they lost our crib in CLT

  1. greg t

    Tying the title to the body of this post leads me to suspect that you didn’t provide enough lubrication to the right people.
    Enjoy your time in Chapel Hill!

  2. Sarah

    Question for Ian and other environmentally-minded folks:
    I saw a link to this today:
    Basically Gore spends more in one month on electricity in his Nashville home than the average American family does in one year. Plus, his electricity usage has gone up quite a bit since “An Inconvenient Truth” came out. I understand that he and Tipper donate money to offset their carbon footprint. But what I don’t get is…why does paying to offset it make it ok?
    I’m all for the general public to offset their (modest?) output. However, Gore travels the world advising us to cut back on our output, yet it doesn’t appear like he’s tried to cut his own. It seems like if he’s open to giving that much $, it would be more environmentally advantageous to cut back on his usage, and actually negate some of the rest of the world’s carbon output.
    In other news, more fodder for the rest of the ACC…our Tar Heels enjoy pedicures.
    Hope the rest of your travels go smoothly, and enjoy the game!

  3. Neva

    Sorry to hear about your airport issues. Traveling with small kids sucks. Do you still need a crib? I’m sure we could fix that one..

  4. Chris M

    Bummer about the crib, but nice use of ‘veal-fattening pen’ in a sentence.
    Lately I’ve begun to appreciate the benefits of monetary lubrication in many aspects of my life. My father in-law, a brooklyn native, has shown me the way. It is the cost of time that is not wasted and peace that is not shattered.
    Better living through lubrication!

  5. josie

    Hopefully, for the return trip, you’ll be awash in the glow of your alma mater and the kindness of good friends. That way, it wont hurt so much. is a great way to not have to lug the crib…or lose it. Especially advantageous in car trips where you dont have room for that type of thing. RENT your way to an easier trip.
    Sarah’s comment (I did not follow the link) illuminates an interesting paradox…spreading the word of conservation seems to require a lot of power.

  6. jason savage

    there is another form of lubrication that can ease air travel. it resides on the shelves of airport bars. probably not as advisable with a child in tow, but one or two borubons can take the edge off the lines and make that veal-pen almost tolerable.

  7. tregen

    Money….I love it. We all do…..well, most of us. Bottom line is….you can’t do without it and if you have to do something to get a little bit it, you might as well do something to get a lot of it. The amount of effort to make 30k/yr is really not that much less than the amount it takes to make 200k. Sooner or later, you just get tired of being broke.

  8. Claverack Weekender

    Two words brother: first class. And the best part is that the crew expects people in first class to have a drink or two in the flight, even in the morning.

  9. eric g.

    Wow. It takes real courage to come onto someone else’s blog and call him a “bloated pig” and a “little fat lying pig” and liken his brother to Jim Jones. You’re my new fucking hero.

  10. Greg T

    Congrats, Ian. It appears that you’ve been elevated to Gore’s handpuppet.
    I’m not quite sure why there’s so much vitreol towards you for arguing in favor of conservation. Who gets hurt? The criticism leveled over your consumption is not only valid, but one that you obviously have spent time and money trying to address. We all still need to live our lives. If some lives require more consumption, so be it.

  11. Sean

    I can’t believe you spend as much time as you do updating this blog. I wish you could do it without the kind of crap you have to deal with. I’d really, REALLY love to meet this guy in person. If there is any way of figuring out how and where, please let me know.

  12. Ian

    For those just reading – I deleted JB00gie’s comment – I usually leave something in so the subsequent comments make sense, but I wasn’t feeling particularly charitable.

  13. Sean

    Find out where he lives.
    Hey! Dude! You want my address in New York? You should come over, seriously. I’ll make dinner. Come over, and we’ll talk about politics. You got nothing to worry about, I’m a liberal, a peacenick. Come on over!

  14. Sarah

    Just to clear things up, my intent was not to attack anyone. I sincerely just wanted to foster a friendly discussion, since Ian and readers are so well versed in the area.

  15. CP
    I’m just saying…
    as for sarah’s comment, it’s sort of like (in a perfect world) the rich having to pay a ton of taxes rather than the rich only being able to afford eco-friendly traveling (in this imperfect world.) those who can afford to offset as much as they travel should by all means do so. those who cannot and still need to travel should by all means do so, and hopefully find alternative measures to offset the environmental costs. the gore camp truly believes the (environmental, hopefully not personal) rewards of how much he travels outweigh the costs, factoring in of course how much he spends to offset those costs, and that this is the most effective, efficient manner for him (the poster child as it were) to combat the current global crisis.
    that said, he could also be running for president, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing either. gore/obama ’08? j. bogeyman? anyone?
    also, I was pissed an inconvenient truth won. it’s a very important film but ultimately not a very good one. anyone see jesus camp? now that was the shit.


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