I see that United apparently just doesn't have a separate "web bag drop" at many locations. They do at SFO, but not at PDX, and not at Columbus. Other airlines, such as Alaska, have this. Why not United? Why make people who checked in online and jumped through all of the other hoops wait in the same line with the people who haven't a clue?
Thanks to my flight departing from the gate I did indeed get my breakfast with a handful of minutes to spare before boarding my packed-out 757 from PDX to Denver, where I made the most of my middle seat. Fortunately for me, my seatmates weren't particularly large, and they slept most of the way. Not me; it's difficult enough for me to sleep when I don't have to keep thinking about where my shoulders and elbows are sticking.
For whatever reason, the flight attendants had to restart the safety video five or six times, including once when it was nearly over, in order to get the whole thing to play. I was pleased that United Channel 9 ("From the Flight Deck" -- you get to listen to air traffic control and basically trace the progress of your flight) was running; apparently Security Theatre hasn't yet decreed that it be turned off and the window shades sealed shut lest the passengers actually have some inkling of where they might be. However, none of the in-flight audio started working until about ten minutes into the flight, and then every now and then it would hiccup and reset everything to channel 3.
At Denver, I didn't have far to go for my connection -- only a few gates -- which is good because I had less than 45 minutes for the connection. As I approached the gate, I saw that they had the "volunteers wanted" notice up, and I volunteers, although I admit that right now I'm not sure where I'd use the free United US48 voucher if I got it, what with me driving to Westercon, SMOFCon being in my backyard, and Worldcon in Australia. But it turned out to be moot, as they not only didn't need volunteers, but apparently some missed connections resulted in the middle seat next to me not filling, which made for a much more relaxed flight to Columbus.
The flight attendant wondered out loud why all of the flights to Columbus these past few days were so full. I said, "Well, I'm going there for work, but I assume most of these people have been coming back from the Rose Bowl." Considering how many people were wearing Ohio State colors, I reckon I had the right of it.
Arriving at Columbus, I collected my rental car. I'm not absolutely certain, but I think it's actually the exact same car I had for my previous two week stay here. If not, then it's nearly identical. I don't remember if the previous rental had OnStar, but otherwise the controls seem to be the same.
On my way from the airport to the hotel, I decided I should stop for lunch/dinner, and, seeing yet another Waffle House sign, got off the freeway at Route 16. I found myself in a long backup. The cars crept up to a congested intersection, with a prominent "Don't Block Intersection" sign. I wasn't going to enter that intersection without a full car length of clearance on the other side, which clearly didn't please the drivers behind me, who laid on the horn at me. If I could have let them go around, I would have done so. I do not need a traffic ticket, particularly across the country from my home state.
Having eaten more than my fill of chop steak and hashbrowns, I headed off to Groveport and the Holiday Inn Express for my second set of 13 days in two months. The hotel is almost the same, but the room in which I stayed last time (109) wasn't available, so they gave me a mirror image of it a few doors down the hall. After checking in, I drove over to Giant Eagle to buy some groceries to get me started. Now that I know that many of the mornings I'm here, I won't be able to get to the included breakfast on account of having to be in the office before they start serving, I bought a box of Glucerna cereal, which I expect is better for me than the Hot Pockets I'd been buying on my last trip.
As I have to be up at what amounts to 2:45 to my only-recently-readjusted body clock, I'd like to go to bed now, but I needed to do one load of laundry tonight. It's been a long day.