I have a sister who travels quite often, and one of her more vexatious sayings to us siblings who journey on trips-from-hell only once or twice a year is, “You don’t get out much, do you?” And I can tell you, I emphatically and unequivocally snap, “No, and I like it that way.”
My family is split between the East and West coasts, so although I love the break from the Virginia summer heat and the chance to get out to the Pacific breezes of California, travel itself is now as attractive a proposition to me as getting a bad case of athlete’s foot.
I recently headed out on USScareways, whereupon we sat for an hour on the tarmac after the latch to the cargo holder broke and came flyin’ right out into the butt-cracked maintenance man’s hand. There I sat, huddled next to a family of the mixed-Asian-persuasion whose little children were scattered about seperately in different rows at windows A, D, and F, nowhere near their parents or each other, but bellowing to each other nonetheless.
And what to my wandering eyes should appear, but a Prissy Pomeranian encaged at one of their sized-two feet. And every time the maintenance man slammed the cargo door in his attempt to reassemble it, Little Prissy Pom yapped loudly. “Are they serious?” I says to myself. “Is Prissy with us for the entire four-hour flight (now going on five)?” I was secretly hoping they were considering having him for their mid-flight snack.
Surprisingly, Prissy’s yap became white noise after awhile, blending in with the screeching landing gears and clanking of the glass bottles of alcohol which people were now scrambling to pay a pretty penny for…
I envisioned – and slightly hoped – Sneezy from the Center for Disease Control would be on board when – to add insult to injury – the kids took rat-dog out of her cage to play with her, while the parents gazed back lovingly at their precious cargo-less canine. I watched the veins on the passenger’s head next to me pop out like his blood pressure just spurt coffee through his veins as he and I both flung our heads around like Linda Blair’s head in the Exorcist to see if any of the flight attendants were going to approach the darlings and remind them to shove the little shit back into its cage. No such luck. I think they were too busy reaching their arms out of the fuselage to hang on to the bungie cords that were holding the cargo door shut. So Prissy continued to jump and yap to her heart’s content.
Since the cargo ordeal delayed us for hours, I knew that I would be missing my connecting flight in Phoenix. Rumblings were heard from the other connecting passengers in the cabin, but I’m a pretty good grin-and-bear it kinda gal, and knew the worst that would happen is that I’d end up in a hotel room somewhere with big, white, marshmallowy pillows and lots of miniature shampoos and conditioners to steal (sister’s words repeating: “You don’t get out much….”). And as predicted, they shuttled us to the nearest hotel, and I settled in for the evening and planned to head out early at the crack-of-butt -dawn in the a.m. Unfortunately, I realized I needed a PhD to figure out the alarm clock (which I soon realized was broken), and the one radio station that did come in was blaring the Mexican Hat Dance. I reached for the phone to request a wakeup call, but none of the dials on the phone worked. I crawled out of my nice, soft Hotel brand, 990-count sheets and headed down to the desk to relay all the technical problems I was having in my room, wherein the gal – without making eye contact – snapped “Well, when d’ya want to get up??” Too tired to reach over and bitch-slap her, I just quipped, “5:30 ayem…and bring a bottle of Tequila.”
After my long, relaxing five days on vacation, I assumed the position again and headed back to the airport to return home. If I can just make it through this one long leg, I thought to myself, and get to Charlotte for my connecting flight, I’ll be home a mere hour after that. I could already smell my Yankee Candle nightlight and feel hubby’s cuddly arms as I pictured myself crawling into the fetal position after a bad case of Travelitis.
The flight was smooth and took off in a timely manner, and I sat in leather-rich empty seats engulfing me with glorious room to spread out. My happy feet plopped down at the Charlotte airport and I headed to my gate…the connecting flight was heading out at 7:30 p.m. All’s well.
But there it was, in bright neon lights, like a fire-breathing dragon, screaming DELAYED until 11:30 p.m. My shoulders dropped to my knees, I breathed a heavy sigh, and said, “Self, there’s only one thing to do at a time like this. Hit the bar.”
Again, being a flexible kinda gal, I thought there’s only one thing more comfortable than sitting at home drinking a beer, watching pre-season football shows with hubby by my side and a big warm bowl of chili. And that’s sitting at an airport bar, watching the pre-season football shows, drinking a beer, eating a big warm bowl of chili, with not one – but TWO – guys on either side of me. The only thing I had to avoid was the spittle flying from their mouths across me as they grumbled about the economy, and both entertained me with their creative ideas on how to start a mini-revolution. I purposely didn’t take their names down and, just for the record, I wasn’t there…
After the hours dragged by, I finally shlupped myself onto my connecting “express” (snort) flight, a tin can with wings, with seats that smelled like old sneakers and Brut. The only thing that could, and did, make the night any worse was the flight attendant, who looked like she hadn’t washed her hair in six months, and was so abundant in the booty that she took up the whole aisle and had to walk sideways to prevent impailing our elbows into our cheeks. As I rose to head back towards the lavatory, she abruptly snapped, “If you’re lookin’ fer a blanket, we don’t have iny.” Still lacking my bitch-slap reflex due to exhaustion, I said, “OK, no, I’m just headed to the lavatory.” She then quipped, “Nope, terlet doesn’t work. They’re working ownit…” I returned to my seat, where I did somehow manage to work up the energy to turn my toes toward the aisle, hoping she would flail face-down into her ice bucket next time she wandered my way…well, if nothing else, I could always use her as a flotation device if something happened.
Now I’m home, only slightly oxygen deprived, and I am glad to stay put for awhile. And I’ve learned a few things about travel: always fly non-stop; carry a pooper scooper or wear Depends; and don’t…ever… eat a bowl of chili before boarding a flight.