|Two Bits of Random Strangeness
||[Jun. 28th, 2016|08:25 am]
Yesterday I took my mom to do her grocery shopping. I didn't want her doing it alone as it's bloody hot out there -- right now, at 7:45am, it's over 95f. At the second grocer that we went to, I parked next to a Mazda Miata. Nothing unusual about that, it's a VERY common car that's been around for ages, at least 20 years. It honestly wasn't in very good shape: it had been banged up and equipped with a roll bar, so the owner apparently did some racing of some sort in it.
Personally, I'd love to have one. I've driven one, and it was crazy fun. And the roads where I live, on top of the mountain, would absolutely be a blast in a nice little convertible sporty car. And it's fairly inexpensive.
But that wasn't the cool thing. The cool about this car was that it had historic license plates.
Not a remarkable car, but it was old enough to qualify for historic plates. That, in and of itself, is not difficult -- the vehicle only needs to be 20 years old. I have cameras older than that.
Still, I was amused.
* * * * *
Just now I came across something interesting. I'm in a weird place right now, and by place, I mean mental headspace. I'm at my parents, in this blistering heat, and I'm having to deal with the fact that my dad has cancer. Well, I'm an information junkie, so I'm doing what I do best: organizing information. I'm scanning lab reports and such to PDFs as they come in, such as the full workup for his emergency room/hospital stay, and providing them to other doctors as needed. When my immune system went on permanent vacation seven years ago, I started learning what I could about my condition and possible long-term problems that could result. And I really don't know anything about cancer, just the odd bits that you get from TV, so I went to one of my favorite bookstores and got two books. One that I got I had learned about from a radio/podcast interview with the author when his book won the Pulitzer Prize, it is The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. He is a cancer physician and researcher, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, and a staff physician at Columbia University Medical Center. He is also a Rhodes Scholar. In other words, a smart cookie.
But my second interesting bit of random strangeness isn't about the book per se -- it's about what was in the book.
When I bought the book, used, I noticed a bookmark in it. Nothing unusual about that, but it wasn't my preferred bookmark. Kinda stupid how a person may have a standard for bookmarks, but there we are. Today I have to take my dad to one of two (or three) doctor appointments this week, and I decided that I needed to start reading this book, so I put my preferred bookmark in it. And while fanning to where the sub-standard bookmark was, I noticed a piece of paper. Fanning back to it, I saw it was a boarding pass. Thinking it was a boring domestic flight, I looked at it, and it was decidedly not boring. The person in question flew from Copenhagen to Amsterdam in late September. I thought that was cool, but then again, I'm the weird guy who has standards for what bookmarks he uses. Then I found a second boarding pass, this was a few days later, flying from Copenhagen to Newark. I was a little disappointed in the second trip -- Newark is a pretty scuzzy airport IMO, but sometimes you have to fly where you can, not where you might want to.
The bookmark also had an interesting characteristic: a receipt that showed the purchase of the book in question at the Phoenix airport, Sky Harbor, in 2011 for $18, the cover price of the book, and the first paperback edition was August 2011, so in all probability the receipt was for this particular book.
The question is: are the receipt and the boarding passes related? There's no name on the receipt, except the clerk who rang up the sale, and oddly the boarding passes don't have the year on them. The receipt was mid-September, the first flight was about a week later, the second about five days later. And if they are, when did the book go from Phoenix to Amsterdam, though it may have stopped somewhere first. Presumably it made that trip the day of the sale -- one doesn't go to airports to buy books -- but there is no physical evidence. I'm curious if the book went, more or less, directly from Phoenix to Amsterdam, or what significant intermediate stops were made.
And then there's the fact that I bought the book in Phoenix. So presumably there was a flight from Newark to Phoenix, and the person then ultimately sold the book to the bookstore where I got it. Coincidentally, when we flew back from Berlin to Phoenix last July, we also went from Berlin to Newark, then on to Phoenix.
I am tempted sore to look up the name on the boarding pass. I suspect there is a high possibility that if I were to search, I might find the person in the Phoenix area. Possibly in my vague local area, since the bookstore is only 2 miles from my parent's house.
Is there a point to this? None whatsoever. But they are interesting artifacts that appear to show a book that has been to another continent, then back to Phoenix, Arizona.
Originally, I was going to throw the boarding passes away. But now I think I'll keep them and try to work them in to a role-playing game scenario. I occasionally run a spy game, and they could be an interesting prop.