My departure from Chicago was like my departure from my host: icy. Peter made the outrageous claim that seasons I & II of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the best. I recognize I’m sometimes viewed as an iconoclast for my love of DS9 but claiming that the repurposed tripe that was the detritus of Star Trek: Phase II represented the pinnacle of writing in Trekdom is heresy bordering on treason. Were I not so tired, that claim could have sent me into a paroxysmal rage that would have taken out a 1/3 of Team Interobang’s SAs.
I had a chance to calm down later and Kyle and I proceeded to FermiLab… which was closed. I’d registered for a presentation there but was waitlisted by a school group. We drove about the complex a bit including driving down some sort of access road where pi-shaped power supports stretched to infinity.
I pulled that from Flickr but the area around was blanketed in snow. The site’s pristine status as a well maintained but forgotten site was reinforced by 1960s industrial design coupled with a emptiness that I’ve only seen in the works of De Chirico.
I regret not being a bit more ballsy in exploring the site as I’m sure they get their fare share of curious nerds. This was the place that discovered the bottom Omega baryon on a continuously diminishing budget and is a testament to America’s dedication to being on the frontier of discovery0, and they have the bison to prove it.
We drove homeward and due to the vicissitudes of Garmin’s pathfinding our path jumped from I-94 to Rt 30; the way I’d gone out and back to Chicago on my previous visit. Kyle found its barrenness as enchanting as I did but this time we had the additional dampener of uniform snow. Stopping in Fort Wayne to take up someone on an offer of pizza provided a change of company and temperament that was refreshing. The combination of brick oven pizza and Caesar salad purged me of Chicago’s taste in more than a figurative sense. I used our temporary host’s bathroom and was able to clog it with droppings no larger than Vienna sausages. I asked for a plunger and received the quizzical response I often get from people whose bowel functions make clogged toilets more of a theoretical concern than a fact of reality. I’ve gotten quite good at the art of the silent plunge and the issue was quickly put down the drain… or toilet trap.
The final stretch back included a stop over at which Kyle first lived. I’m glad we were fully stopped as he was hit by waves of mental calibration as his internal image of his old house was reconciled with reality. I was lucky; my old home was replaced by the fruit section of a Superfresh before I encountered such cognitive dissonance. The rest of the turnpike welcomed us home in the manner it often does: with just enough hill to trigger a gear change using cruise control but not enough to complete the upshift. I missed you, Pennsylvania.