I’m sitting in SFO, waiting for a red eye to Dulles. I’m headed to Virginia for a couple days, to spend some time with my mother, and to reconnect a bit with one of my ancestral homelands. I haven’t been back in a couple years, and it’s past time I was there again.

I lived in the Shenandoah Valley for several years as a kid, and Mom and her family are still there; and while I wasted no time getting out when I went to college, I still feel like it’s good to go back.

And I’ve got a few days before I get the copyedits for the book, so this seemed like a good time to go.

However, my redeye flight, which was supposed to leave at midnight, is now scheduled to depart at 1:45, so it’s going to be a very red eye. Fortunately, I had a long layover in Dulles, so if we get off the ground within an hour of that time frame, I’ll still be good.


Airports have a certain vibe very late at night. I’m not sure how to describe it: it reminds me of a conference center or ballroom after the event, when the only people left are the people sweeping the floors and tidying up the stacks of chairs. It’s not like the place goes to sleep, or even that there’s much of a night shift; it’s more like being in a negative space than anything.

Fortunately, I have a book, plenty of water, and so long as I don’t fall asleep and miss boarding (which almost happened once, with a nighmarishly late flight out of Atlanta), I’ll be fine. I’ll get there.