Friday, March 16, 2007

In honor of Wrathos, the Travel Edition

In my younger and more vulnerable years I dated a Republican who lived in Dallas. I could start trying to justify it, but I would stray so far from the story that I want to tell, that I fear I might never find my way back. The only thing that matters is that he was living in Dallas, and I was in New York. He usually came up to see me, but I had one long summer weekend, and, being a native of Texas, I thought I’d zip down to partake of the 100+ heat and a little sweet lovin’.

You’re already laughing at me, aren’t you? “Silly Daisy,” you’re saying, “nobody can ever zip anywhere if plane travel is involved! The airlines simply can’t abide it if your trip is stress free. Your pain only makes them grow stronger, like Fraggles and whatever those things built by the Doozers were made of!” What can I say? I was young and deeply in like.

So I bought a ticket to fly out Friday and back on Sunday night on Continental. I took the bus to Newark, giving myself like three hours to get there, because I am hyper paranoid about getting to the airport on time. The ticket line was long, and we were moving at about six inches an hour. Slowly, a grumbling started to move through the line, an anxious murmur like the one made by the crowd in the courtroom at the end of every Matlock. Flights were being cancelled! Everyone was going to be stranded at Newark Airport, which (no offense to Jersey residents), is the armpit of hell.

I can’t tell you why exactly, but when bad shit goes down, I turn into a blissful optimist. “Sucks for them,” I thought, “but surely everything will be fine with my flight, because if it’s not, I won’t get to spend three days with my boyfriend, and nothing so horrid could ever happen to me!” If I could go back in time, I would walk up to myself at that moment and punch me in the face.

So, surprise, I got to the front of the line and am told that my flight is cancelled. I couldn’t go that night because of “weather in Dallas.” Every time I hear anyone who works for an airline say the word weather, everything that comes after that is in the voice of Peppermint Patty’s teacher, because it is oh-so-frequently bullshit so they can get away with not putting you up in a hotel. To test this theory I stood at the front of the line and called my boyfriend in Dallas to find out what the weather was like down there (Yes, I was that asshole, delaying things for everyone else.). His words, “It’s hot. And sunny.” I repeated that assessment to the guy at the ticket counter who said, “Maybe he’s lying to you.” I’m not going to comment about that, because the memory of it makes me want to punch a hole in my wall. Suffice it to say that my irritation level was fuchsia, a state I feel sure requires no translation.

The best they could do was put me on a flight the following day at 5:30 in the morning. That meant I would have to take a bus back into the city for the night, and then take a cab back to the airport the next morning, because the flight was too early for the bus. That’s like $70 in transportation bills I was racking up. I decided to plea my case and demand a hotel room. I was going to tell them that the whole weather story smacked of chicanery and that it was their responsibility to put me up in a room at the airport adjacent Marriott. I was going to be a stern, take no shit woman of the 21st Century. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I was none of those things. Instead I burst into tears, which made the desk clerk feel bad but did exactly nothing to advance my case.

As I was walking away, a sweet retiree came up to me with her husband, and we chatted about our mutual frustration. We vented for a few minutes waiting for the bus when a flight crew came to wait in the same area, and we heard the following words:

"Yeah, I was supposed to do the Dallas trip tonight, but the whole crew was over their hours, so they had to ground the flight. We’re going tomorrow morning instead."

Translation: The airline scheduled the pilots for too many hours so they cancelled the flight, and the whole story about weather turned out to be, as suspected, bullshit. And so I turned to the terminal, shook my fist in fury and began my incantation:

"From now on we are enemies, you and I. Because you choose for your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and give me only the ability to recognize the incarnation. Because you are unjust, unfair, unkind I will block you, I swear it. I will hinder and harm your creature on Earth as far as I am able. I will ruin your incarnation!"

Admittedly it’s not a perfect fit, but I swear to you, no Italian composer ever hated Mozart more than I hate Continental Airlines.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! they suck!

Anonymous said...

From Wrathos.

I feel your love all the way from...New Jersey. Yeah, I'm still here.

That, my friend, just renewed my anger towards all flying objects. Birds too.

Feel free to check out the experience at our vacay blog.

Anonymous said...

Missed an entire day of my honeymoon for the same GD reason AND we had arrived at the airport at 4:30am in order to catch the stupid thing. Why lie? Why? I hate for you.