6/22/09 – Vacation Recap, part 1

My vacation recap, in short (ha ha HA!): Tuesday & Wednesday: Left home. My flight left Huntsville at almost 11, made it to Dulles with time to spare. I had a three-hour layover, which I whined extensively about before I left home, and so karma said “You want something to cry about? Let me see … Continue reading “6/22/09 – Vacation Recap, part 1”

My vacation recap, in short (ha ha HA!):

Tuesday & Wednesday: Left home. My flight left Huntsville at almost 11, made it to Dulles with time to spare. I had a three-hour layover, which I whined extensively about before I left home, and so karma said “You want something to cry about? Let me see what I can whip up for you.” First the flight was delayed by half an hour. Then it was delayed by an hour and a half. And then for a few hours it would get pushed back a little more. For a while it looked like the flight was always going to be two hours off. Then I was sitting there during the time in the evening when no flights were going out at all due to thunderstorms, and I idly glanced up to see that the flight was no longer listed on the monitor at the gate at all. I grabbed my stuff and went to the big monitor – the one that lists all outgoing flights – and saw a big flashing “CANCELLED” after my flight. I hauled ass to customer service and ended up second in line.

There was a customer service rep who was directing people to the computer terminals to the side of the customer service desk, but when she heard that I (and the guy in front of me) were going to Portland, she told us that she wasn’t able to pull anything up on the computer terminal, so we should just wait in line. We were waiting patiently for a customer service rep to become available, when a United agent showed up and said that she could help the next few people around the corner at the gate.

Like a goddamn idiot, I followed the guy in front of me. And I stood there for – I shit you not, I checked the clock on my cell phone three thousand times – FORTY MINUTES while they searched for a way to get that guy and his friend to Portland. When they found a way, there was an additional wait while they discussed AT LENGTH how he’d paid for his ticket. Apparently there were certain “points” involved and something special needed to be done and all I wanted to do was stab someone or break something (I think that throwing my phone on the floor, stomping on it, and bellowing “COME THE FUCK ON ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME JESUS MOTHERFUCKING CHRIST ALMOTHERFUCKINGMIGHTY FUCK YOUR FUCKING POINTS FUCK FUCK FUCK FUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!” would have been very cathartic.

But I refrained.)

She finally got him squared away (and he was apologetic, but I think he saw the murder in my eyes, because he was apologetic as he ran away from me) and then it was my turn. The guy in front of me had opted to fly into Boston that night and then drive to Portland. I wanted to do that, but of course – OF MOTHERFUCKING COURSE – he and his friend had gotten the last seats. The only way they could get me to Maine was to fly me to LaGuardia the next morning, and from there to Portland. When I shrugged and said okay, the gate agent gave me a look of surprise that I didn’t fully understand until the next day. See, I’ve never been through LaGuardia. I DIDN’T KNOW.

So I got my ticket booked and I called Fred and I ranted to him, and then I dithered about whether I wanted to spend the night in the airport or get a hotel room. My usual rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be stuck in an airport for five hours or less, it’s best to just stay in the airport. Longer, and it’s worth getting a hotel room. I had twelve hours until my flight was to leave, but I really didn’t want to spend the money. I finally decided to get a hotel room and called Fred to go on Expedia and book me a room, but he wasn’t able to find me anything for less than two hundred bucks.

The airport for the night, then.

I took the shuttle to the main terminal (I’d been hanging out in Concourse B most of the afternoon, because it’s big and shiny and has lots of stores and restaurants), but as soon as I realized you had to leave the secured area to get to the main part of the terminal, I turned right around and went back to Concourse B. I loathe going through security, and I wanted to avoid having to do it again if at all possible.

Back in Concourse B, I went to Brookstone and bought a charger for my cell phone. Knowing that I’d be carrying a laptop and the big (heavy) camera through the airport, I’d opted to pack all nonessential items rather than put them in my laptop. I’d planned to bring my cell phone charger, just in case, but Fred better-idea’d me and pooh-poohed the necessity of packing a cell phone charger for a day of traveling, and I was suckered in by his stupid fucking placid utter reasonable certainty of the silliness of such an idea, and packed it instead.

(Fred has been advised to keep his fucking better ideas to himself in the future.)

While I was in Brookstone, I bought an organizer case that had wheels on the bottom. I’d been shlepping my carry-on bag, which contained my laptop and big-ass heavy camera, all afternoon long, and my shoulder was painful to the touch. That organizer case, even if I never use it again in my entire life, was the best thing I’ve ever bought. EVER.

I wandered the concourse some more, ate dinner, and wandered yet some more. Given that Concourse B was so bright and shiny and had so many stores, I opted to stay there for the night. For future reference, if you’re stuck in a big airport for the night, don’t be suckered in by the big and shiny concourses. I was FREEZING in B, even though I’d bought an oversized sweatshirt. If I’d gone over to A, there were piles of blankets and pillows by one of the gates. It was also warmer over there, and someone had actually put up a TENT. All the seats in A and B were the divided kind, so you couldn’t lay down and get comfortable. Had I gone over to D, they have the old seats that don’t have dividers, and I could have gotten plenty comfortable.

Do some exploring, is what I’m saying. Don’t get stuck in your big and shiny comfort zone.

By 10 or so, things had started to shut down, so I found a place to plug in my cell phone charger, and I called Fred and talked to him for a while, then I talked to Debbie for a while, then I texted with the spud for a while. Once my cell phone was charged, I began wandering the concourse, looking for a quiet place to settle down for the night.

What ultimately ended up happening is that I’d sit and watch an episode of Gossip Girls (still working through Season 1) on my iPod, then I’d get up and wander the concourse for a while. Then I’d sit and try to get in a position where I could doze, wouldn’t be able to doze, and would get up wander the concourse for a while. Sit and watch another episode of Gossip Girls, wander the concourse, lather-rinse-repeat. I opened up my laptop several times to see if I could connect to the internet, but I couldn’t, and in the end I ran out of power and see above about not having a cord to charge the laptop with so I couldn’t even fire up the laptop and play a rousing game of Snood!

Occasionally another stranded passenger would wander through the airport or a cleaner would go by with a vacuum cleaner or cleaning cart, but for the most part, that was one deserted concourse.

Around 3:00, I decided that FUCK THIS SHIT, and I curled up against the wall, out of the way, and I managed to doze off for about 20 minutes straight, then eeked another 40 minutes of on-and-off dozing. I dropped off hard for about ten minutes, and woke to find approximately 30 people in my general vicinity. Turned out, I was near the gate that hosted the earliest flight of the day, and people wanting to get to San Salvador were waiting to board their plane.

Since I couldn’t sleep with so many people around, I got up, wandered the concourse some more, watched some more Gossip Girls, sat and stared off into space, and watched the clock on the wall slowwwwly tick off the hours. I finally wandered over to the A concourse to see if there was anything interesting going on over there, and that’s when I saw the tent set up. I snapped that picture, then had to pee, so I went off to pee and when I got back the tent had been taken down and whoever had been inside was gone. I was disappointed, because I was VERY curious to know how exactly he’d conveniently happened to be carrying a tent with him.

The time finally came when I could see which gate my flight would be leaving from – D concourse – and after I got breakfast (I kind of wanted Dunkin Donuts, but not surprisingly their breakfast items are rather low on protein, so I opted for an egg and cheese sandwich at Five Guys) I boarded the bus to get to D. I found my gate, boarded the plane with no issues, and off we went to LaGuardia.

I don’t know what I did so wrong in my last life that I would end up in LaGuardia, but I will tell you that I wandered around that goddamn motherfucking asshole of the universe, on the verge of bursting into tears, for half an hour before I found someone who could tell me that I had to catch a bus to the terminal from whence my flight to Portland would be leaving. In Dulles, nice shiny bright Dulles, if you had to leave one terminal, there were many signs telling you where to go and what to do. In LaGuardia, apparently you’re just supposed to KNOW that if you go wandering out to the front of the terminal you’ll eventually stumble upon a bus that will SOME DAY get you where you need to go.

The surprised look that the United agent in Dulles gave me when I was willing to fly through LaGuardia makes SO much sense now. With the entire motherfucking internet as my witness, I will never fly through LaGuardia again. FUCK YOU, LAGUARDIA.

(And now I’ll never be able to get another flight that does NOT go through LaGuardia, right?)

I found my gate, and then the gate agent announced that there was going to be a delay – the plane I was supposed to fly out on hadn’t arrived yet, and it’d only be a ten minute delay.

Which is when I realized that I’d died and for my many sins during my lifetime was doomed to wander the airports of America, always thinking I was juuuust about to arrive at my destination, but never actually getting there.

To my surprise, they did board the plane about ten minutes late. The plane pushed back from the gate. And we spent 45 minutes inching along. AND THEN the pilot announced that there were 20 planes ahead of us, and it’d probably be another 45 minutes.

And then we left. And I arrived. And Debbie picked me up, dropped me off in Brunswick to pick up my rental car. I went over to her house to see Brian, then I headed over to my parents’ house, greeted them, ate ham Italian sandwiches from the Kitty Korner, struggled mightily to stay awake until 7, talked to Fred for ten minutes, and then slept like the dead for 12 hours.

Thus ended the first two days of my vacation. And when one of your days of vacation gets all fucked up by travel delays, the rest of the vacation flies by like the wind, believe you me.

To be continued…

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2009-06-22 (2)

2009-06-22 (1)
Newt’s glad to have me home. Fred just doesn’t do Snackin’! Time! right. He told me so!

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2008: No entry.
2007: No Mister Boogers.
2006: No entry.
2005: Oh, the hilarity that ensues when your car and foster kitten have the same name! I could almost hear the laugh track in the background.
2004: PMS, anyone?
2003: No entry.
2002: No entry.
2001:No entry.
2000: Charmed life, have I mentioned?