I don’t like to travel.
I realize everyone else does, and that my not liking to travel is part of the list of things I hate that everyone else treasures: Christmas, brunch, live music, romantic evenings, granite countertops.
If you want me to have sex with you–and I realize I’m 52 and no one wants to have sex with me. But if we traveled–which I hate–through time–which I also hate–and you wanted to have sex with young, actually appealing me, you’d be a lot more likely to find me randy at some inopportune time, like lunch hour or after a funeral. But give me flowers and a dinner out and I will have all the sex drive of a slab of baloney.
I had a harrowing travel experience. I’d tell you about it verbally, via my podcast, but I also hate those.
Yesterday morning I packed a bag, grabbed my purse, and headed to my local airport. “I’m so lucky that travel here is so easy,” I remember thinking, back yesterday when my soul still had light in it.
It’s true, though. It’s a 10-minute drive to the Greensboro airport, and parking is pretty decent. It buries flying in and out of LAX, which sucked worse than Christmas brunch.
My plane took off to Chicago. An easy hour-and-a-half flight. I had a three-hour layover, then I’d get on a plane for my hometown, in Michigan, and land at 8:00. “My nails look awful,” I thought, as I flew. The night before the trip, I did some last-minute grueling work that took me till 10 p.m., and I hadn’t had time to groom properly. “I wonder if I can get my nails done in Chicago.”
Turns out, you can! You CAN have your nails done in Chicago, and if you get the basic manicure, it’s cheap. Hell, I’ll be basic. Paint my basic nails and take my basic money.
Truth be told, money was an object, because I get paid the last day of the month and this was the 30th. My money was not in some vault in stacks, like I was Duck McScrotum or whoever that rich duck was.
How did he make his money, one wonders.
But all I hadda do was fly into Saginaw ( I was going for my cousin’s graduation), and by the next morning, I’d have cash. Yay, paydays! Yay, Payday Candy Bars! Did I also have time to get one of those?
Turns out, I did. Because when I finished my manicure, and popped into the MAC store as well, I looked at the board, and?
Flight was canceled.
Canceled? Why? I went to the ride-at-Disneyland-long line at United Customer Service. Apparently, thunderstorms were dotting the area. Bad thunderstorms. There were no flights going to Saginaw till the next day. Maybe. “These small planes are always the first to get canceled,” the beleaguered guy at the counter told me.
BOOM! said the sky.
“Just stay overnight in the airport,” my mother said, when I called her. I looked around. Everyone was stranded due to the weather. There was nowhere to sit, much less lie down. And what if I did find a place to sleep? How would I know my purse would be there when I woke up?
I looked in my bank account. Forty dollars. Stupid manicure. All I’d eaten that day was a bowl of soup before I left. I’d purposely not gone grocery shopping because I knew I’d be gone, and that was the last can of anything in my cupboard.
The plane had offered pretzels. My feelings on pretzels rank up there with live music and cilantro.
“We’ve got you scheduled to fly into Raleigh tonight, leaving at 9 p.m.,” said another beleaguered United worker. With no hope of getting to Michigan or even to Greensboro, the Raleigh flight was a big enough plane that the guy said he was “sure” it would take off.
I just wanted to leave that airport. I’d walked all of whatever they call it, section? Area? Hall? Vein? Whatever. I’d walked all of B and all of C and all of F, just for something to do. And also hoping for a place to sit.
At this point I was so hungry that I knew a migraine was imminent.
“You’re certain,” I said, to the man who said I could at least go near home. I’d have no car and no money in Raleigh, but at least I wouldn’t be in a goddamn airport with 9493582 other stranded passengers all night.
“Yes ma’am,” he told me.
I got the least-expensive thing at McDonald’s (Disclaimer: At an airport, that’s a Happy Meal that costs $207) and stood next to a nice Southern man on the phone with, you guessed it, United.
“I have to be at work tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock no matter what time you people get me home tonight,” he was saying. He sounded authoritative. “And I need my tools. You did this to me a couple months ago, you never did get my tools to me for a week, and you ended up costing me $2,000 in lost work.”
“This poor man,” I thought, munching a fry.
“You’re certain,” he said, sounding like me. “Okay.” He hung up the phone.
“Airline people are the lying-est motherfuckers,” he told me. “Don’t let anyone tell you any different.”
Sure enough, my 9 p.m. flight? Didn’t happen.
I’d arranged with Ned to get me in Raleigh, and I called to tell him that flight wasn’t occurring either.
“Airline people are the lying-est motherfuckers,” he said.
My Uncle Bill flies all the damn time. I’m certain I’ve told you before how he’ll fly to China, get home for a night and leave in the morning for Germany. I don’t know what the hell he does. Maybe he makes Minute Rice, and has to make sure the timing is precise.
What do you want from me right now. Am exhausted.
Anyway, he scored me a room near the airport, with his miles or points or pointy miles or miles of points or Miles Davis and the Pointer Sisters or what have you. The point is, I finally relented and went to it.
Turns out, the hotel had a bar! Everyone in there was also stranded. I was the only loser who had zero carry-on, but not the only loser who was gonna sleep in her contacts. (Those are reading glasses, before you get all UP MY ASS.)
I called beleaguered United again, was on hold for
and two vodka cranberries,
and one flight they thought I’d be able to get on was a Greensboro flight the next morning.
“GIVE IT TO ME,” I said. I just wanted to go home. Then I fell into a dead sleep at midnight.
[BOOM] Why was someone closing a door in my house? I live alone.
I opened my eyes, saw I was in a hotel room, and right then I knew: I was in a hotel room.
I knew who was closing the door at 3:30. One of the nice women at the bar was tryina get to Atlantic City to be with her friend, and her only choice was to stay up, leave at 3:30, and then her friend was 100% gonna expect her to be “on” all day in Atlantic City.
See. That’s why I hate to travel. I hate to be on. The whole thing just makes me nervous and cranky and migrainous.
Also? I never fell asleep again. I should have just gone to Atlantic City, as well.
I finally got out of bed, only to discover my only coffee choice was decaf. Yes, I did call down to the front desk, thanks for asking. No, thanks, really.
Silver lining: Picking out my clothes for the day was a breeze.
I didn’t shower, because I had no hair products and no razor. I brushed my teeth with the toothbrush they give you for free, which was not unlike a prison-issue toothbrush.
Washed face with grapefruit soap, even though I’m allergic.
Got on the crammed shuttle to the airport. No one on shuttle was cheerful.
Got through security and to my gate. No one working at the airport was cheerful. In fact, they were downright brusque. There were Disneyland lines at every Starbucks, and when did fucking Starbucks become the only coffee in town? We can’t have a nice Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf? What the hell? It’s not StarBUCKS, it’s StarMONOPOLY MONEY.
What do you want from me? Am exhausted.
Anyway, I decided to have coffee on the plane.
Get on plane. The stewardess informs us the coffee machine isn’t working.
You know how sometimes they show people having fits on planes? It no longer seems so outlandish.
It’s official: At this point I could have driven all the way to Saginaw, and back to Greensboro again. I’m not sure why, but whole body hurts. Perhaps the walking for 8 hours at the airport, the standing in lines, the weird bed, the tension. The teensy lack-of-legroom flights. Or maybe I’m dying. At this point it’d be a relief. Take me, Lord, I’m ready. Oh, look, he’s delayed.
Airline has lost my luggage. I am supposed to get it back tomorrow, but see above re lying-est motherfuckers. The luggage claim lady was nice. “Oh, honey, I am so sorry about all this. You call them and get your money back.”
Allegedly, I already have. It’s my mother’s money, but supposedly she will get a “partial” refund for the three canceled flights.
Meanwhile, I have no hair products at all, no razor, no deodorant, no toothbrush and see above re no one wants to have sex with me. Why, though.
I DO have my migraine meds, which is good because you’ll be stunned to hear I got one.
Now I am home and writing you, and I really can’t wait till my next adventure. I love the open road.
Let’s meet for live music at brunch and talk about it soon.