Monday, March 9, 2009

Why I Hate Flying by Captain Monkeypants

Firstly, I must apologize for the lack of blog on Friday. I didn't get a chance to post, unfortunately. However, I am back today after a bit of a crazy weekend. You see, I very recently decided to take a trip to L.A. For a weekend. At the time it seemed like a great idea. On paper, it seems so smart, fly in early Friday morning, fly out Sunday- plenty of time to hang out with friends. I'd also get to see "Rent" which is one of my all-time favourite musicals.

Except things never really turn out as planned, do they?

So, it started with the trip to the airport. I have a GPS that is sometimes possess by what sounds like the voice of satan. I'm not the only one who has heard this voice now. My poor mother was in the car a few weeks ago and we were driving in my car. I hadn't needed to enlist the aid of GPS because I knew where I was going. That didn't stop my GPS from interjecting with a rather scary sounding "BLEEUGH!" in the middle of a conversation between my mother. It sounded like "BLEEUGH!" anyway. For all I know, it could have been my GPS saying "I'm going to kill you and eat you." Who knows? It made my mother jump a little, that's for sure.

Anyway, so I asked my GPS to take me to the Cincinnati airport. Stupidly, I think I must have hit the "shortest distance" option rather than the "fastest route" option. I ended up going through all sorts of scary Kentucky woods, up hills that were almost vertical and being scared to death I was going to tumble down a ravine. That was a little alarming. By the time I got to the airport, I made a vow to always choose "fastest route" on my GPS because I don't like wondering if I'm going to end up murdered by a chainsaw in some backwards of Kentucky merely because I thought seeing "Rent" in L.A. with two of the original cast members was a good idea.

That should have been the first sign that the trip was not going to be smooth. Then my flight from Cincinnati was late leaving. long as I landed with enough time to make my next flight. Except when we got to Minneapolis where I was supposed to hop on my connecting flight, we ended up circling the airport for at least 30 minutes. By the time we landed, my next plane was literally supposed to be taking off.

Here's where I add a strongly worded editorial note to Northwest Airlines and Delta.

Dear Delta and Northwest Airlines,

Congratulations on merging. I think that's lovely. One slight problem I have though: I booked a flight on Delta. You put me on one Delta Flight and one Northwest. You would not let me check in online because your computer said they were two different airlines. Also, because both of you are housed in completely different terminals at most of the airports, it makes getting from one flight to another virtually impossible. this moment in time, I despise both of your airlines. A lot. Please make sure I get my frequent flier miles.


Captain Monkeypants.

Yes. I landed in Minnesota with the promise from Delta that there'd be carts standing by to take those of us with tight connections to our gates. There were no carts. None. I discovered my gate was seriously about a mile away. Picture an airport with a hub, each one having little sun-like rays coming off it. Now picture a gate at the end of one of those rays and the gate that would be opposite on the other side of the hub. Now try running from the first gate to the second gate with luggage. Yes, that was me. It was a very, very long run. I had heavy luggage. All I can say is thank goodness I've been working out. I was a big old wheezing, sweaty mess by the time I got to my second gate. They were about to close the door. I made it. Of course, I discovered my row had assumed I wasn't coming so the middle seat person and window person had shuffled. Middle-seat-lady had wanted to sit by the window. She was a big lady. It took a while for her to get to the aisle so the real window-seat-person could take his actual seat instead of mine. Middle-Seat-Lady was very angry at me and muttered in Spanish. I don't speak much Spanish. I think I was glad then. She spent the entire flight accidentally elbowing me as she tried to get comfortable. She had an enormous blanket that kept creeping into my space. I'm not usually mean but she was a big lady and she leaked a into my space rather a lot already. I ignored her and tried to sleep. It didn't work but at least I tried.

Of course, somewhere between Middle-Seat-Lady's 'tsk-ing' and me actually getting my breath back, I realized I'd lost my phone. Yes, my lovely little Verizon Chocolate phone had fallen out of my pocket somewhere between my bolting from one plane, dashing through the airport and making it to my second flight. This was my fault and pure stupidity. You see, Delta gives you these tasty Biscoff cookies. They quite a large packet and, if you're a little punchy and tired from flying and taking the scary way to the airport, they have about the same size and shape as an LG Chocolate phone. I was wearing a sweatshirt with a big pocket in the front. I put the cookies in this pocket because though I didn't want to eat them, I wanted to save them for later. During my mad dash to the second gate, I patted this pocket and thought those cookies were my phone. So I kept running, got on my flight and pulled out my 'phone' to text my friend who was picking me up from the airport.

Have you ever tried to text on a package of Biscoff cookies? Yeah, not easy. In fact, sadly, not possible.

It was then that I realized I had been prematurely parted from my Chocolate phone. I loved that phone. I knew I could attempt to track it down but given that Delta and I have rarely had a smooth flying experience together, I doubted that I'd get it back.

Thus, my first morning in L.A. was spent talking Verizon into letting me renew my contract a little early. Verizon does not like to do this. Fortunately, I managed to convince them that while I did, indeed, have one month left on my current contract it was only a month and wouldn't they rather lose a month of my contract that have me leave them for another phone company? They agreed. I now have a Blackberry Curve. I refuse to allow it to become a 'Crack'berry. I've seen 'Crack'berry addicts. While they have the world of the internet at their fingertips, they seem to forget that there's actual life going on around them and that sometimes, you just have to ignore the beeps and glow of the Blackberry's little red light that indicates yet another message is waiting. I am working on fighting this urge to check my new phone. It doesn't help that it no longer seperates my text messages from my emails and so whenever any type of message comes in, it alerts me. I think I need to figure out how to seperate the notifications. At the moment, it's got a lot of shiny icons and i don't really know what they do.

Once I had the phone, I felt better. I didn't have my address book which made it hard because I would have liked to have called a friend in L.A. to say hi but I didn't get a chance. However, the weekend was a whirlwind anyway. So many people, so little time. It was fun but I can safely say that next time, I need more time to not only recover from my rather horrid flying experience but to actually stop and have a vacation.

I will say that it was nice to see my old friends and haunts again, even briefly. Seeing "Rent" was nothing short of amazing. It's been a show I have loved for years but, I confess, as I grew older, I was a little worried I was losing touch with it and I wondered, just a little, why they didn't just pay their damn rent instead of singing about it. However, this production reminded me that "There's No Day but Today", the theme of the show. Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp were unbelievable. It felt historic seeing those two 'legends of Rent' perform their roles as though they were brand new to them.

I did get to eat all the food I miss from Ohio: Vietnamese pho, Zankou chicken with taboule and hummus, and Filipeno palabok and chicken. Aside from my friends and my West Coast 'family', the food is probably what I miss most. Sad but true.

Naturally, flying home didn't prove to be easy. My first plane tried to land during a thunderstorm. I watch too much Lost on TV. I half expected a sudden flash of light and then finding myself stranded on a desert island. I like that outcome more than crashing to my doom, splintered into a hundred pieces on the ground. That flight was horribly bumpy and a bit hairy for a few minutes. The second flight got stuck because of a computer issue. We were almost an hour and a half late taking off. Thus, I arrived at my apartment at 1 a.m.

Lessons learned from this trip:

1) Biscoff cookies do not make good cell phones
2) Always sit at the front of the plane so that you don't have to run people over when trying to get off to make your next flight.
3) Travelling to a place that has a three-hour time difference during Daylight Savings weekend makes it really, really hard to get up for work on a Monday morning.
4) Wear tennis shoes to travel so that running is a little easier.

I'm sure there are more lessons there but this blog is already long enough for one day. Of course, I just realized that I left my stupid Blackberry at home but, at least I know where it is this time. I think.

Happy Monday.


Fe said...

Glad you were able to come by, it was nice seeing you again. Sorry to hear about the horrible flying experiences though. BTW, cool tag cloud. ;-)

Samantha Elliott said...

As long as you learned, it was worth it, IMO. Hopefully you've earned some bonus karma miles for your next trip!