Tag Archives: airport

Moving…There’s Not Enough Vodka for This. Vol. 1

It all started with what I thought was a dog’s bellowing.
You know that sound.
Something between a howl and a growl.
Or it was a terrible bagpipe performance….performed by a ostrich.

In reality, it was our cat….. Monkey.
In her carrier.
Being taken out to the car.

By the time we got everyone into the backseat, the cats were carrying on a conversation that clearly they thought life, as they knew it was over. Well, buy those felines a king size bag of nip….they were correct!

We were on the way to get kitty health certificates because in two short days….they were  flying with Momma from Miami to Boston!  Are we excited? Oh yeah.

They were about as excited as cats going to the vet’s office, in cat carriers, in the back seat of the car….screaming the whole way.  We’re going to need some drugs.  Either the cats are going to need drugs for the flight or I’m going to need drugs for the flight.

Someone WILL be medicated.

Fast forward and let the chaos unfold.

Day of the flight…I am packed and ready to go.  The house is fairly boxed up and sorted out.

Eric will be driving up in the Honda, so I have a pile of “must go in the car” and a pile of “would be nice to go in the car” and a “can wait for the movers” pile.  Knowing how the day is going to progress, I begin the day with a hearty breakfast – a Whipped Cream Vodka shot.  Perfect.

I download a movie.  Get dressed.  Throw things in my two giant suitcases,  one under the seat suitcase, which will be checked as luggage and one carry on.

One cat, will be a carry on.  Two cats will be checked as luggage.

There is a word for this traveling style:  Circus.

The only saving grace for today is it’s a non-stop flight.

Time to get dressed.  Boston.  It’s freezing, literally.

Attire: jeans, long sleeve shirt, jacket, Xtra Tuff boots.

UGH.  Time for another shot….Rootbeer Vodka Shot.

Alright, we are close to leaving, time to pack up the small pets.  I calmly say to Eric.  I’m getting a cat.  I pick up Taku, the youngest and stuff her into a pink, hard sided carrier.

He grabs Liggy, the eldest at 15 years, and we back her into her soft sided case.  She is the one traveling under the seat.

Next up is Monkey.

It becomes a three ring circus.  Monkey is under the couch, over the chair, up the stairs.  Her tail is as fat as my arm.  She is NOT happy.  She is hissing.  Growling.  Under the couch.  Over the chair.  Under the couch.  Through the kitchen.  Behind the boxes.

We are now 10 minutes into trying to catch Monkey.

What.

Is.

That.

Stench?

Great.  She has released her anal glands.  Think musky, dirty, poopy, dank, odor from the swampy depths of cat butt.  Awesome.

Scratches on Eric’s legs as we try and grab her as she dashes past on her way round boxes, under the couch, under the coffee table, over the chair….knocking over trash cans, empty suitcases and other roadblocks.

Finally, we catch her and she is literally sweating.  Her fur is wet.

The Monkey.  Is.  Pissed.

A blood curling yowl escapes from her little furry black body.

Into the pink carrier she goes.

I need another shot…..

Now, we’re late, of course.  Damn it Monkey!  We get into the car and the felines are silent.  I think someone said two words and that was about the end of it.  They knew.

We race up to Ft. Lauderdale airport and decide to drop me, the luggage and the circus at the sidewalk.  There are hundreds of people in line for curbside check in.  You have got to be kidding me.  We don’t have time for this.  I can’t lug three suitcases and three cats by myself while Eric parks the car.  So I decide to crouch next to the felines and talk calmly to them.  There isn’t a porter in sight.

I’m sweating through my Xtra Tuffs and jeans.

Is that a whiff of Monkey ass?

Christ, please.  I don’t want to smell like cat butt.

Next thing I know I hear this man say, “Mommy, you need help?”

I look up and low and behold….A PORTER!  A PORTER ALL FOR ME!  Yes, I will be anyone’s mommy if you can help me!

Yes, yes, yes! I need help!  Checking in…with three cats!  Please!  (Get me into the air conditioning before my crotch soaks through these jeans in this heat…that would be a fantastic feat!)

Within minutes, he had me in the line and we were zipping to the check in counter.

Next thing I know we get to the counter.  My little agent guy has a helper.  The helper lady seems to be doing a lot of the work.  Uh-oh.  My little agent guy….is new.  Buddy, I don’t have time for new.  Not today.

Look, you fill out the form, you slap it on the kennel. It already has a Live Animals sticker on there.  You put the label with the arrow going UP.  You want the kennel to stay in the UPRIGHT position.  Are you kidding me?

I don’t want to tell you how to do you job – but damn – I don’t have time for this.

Then they tell me we have to take the two kennels going under the plane over to TSA and they need to inspect the kennels and we have to take the cats out.  I look at Eric.  One word comes to mind.

M O N K E Y

We tell the TSA guy, “well, let’s do the easy one first.”  Taku, who never says a word, comes out…blinks at us while I hold her…. and goes back in.  Time for the stinky, pain in the ass, but really she’s just scared to death,  one.  I open the door, reach in and grab her by the neck ruff.

WE will not be playing any games in this airport missy.  You may think you’re all that and a bag of cat nip…but I AM the momma cat and YOU WILL not be fucking around.

Fine, back in she goes.

Next, time for me to go through the security gate and I look at Eric.   What time is it? Plane boards in 10 minutes.  GREAT.  I have to give Liggy her medicine 30 – 60 minutes before the flight.

Wait!  Where is my iPad?  Momentarily I panic.  It’s in the car.  I debate, leave it or should Eric go and get it?  I downloaded a movie to watch just for this flight!  I have my book, but I really wanted to watch the movie.  He runs and gets the iPad….in the meanwhile….

I throw everything on the floor.  I grab the pill and try to shove it down Liggy’s throat while she is sitting in her little bag.

Once, twice, three times.  Not happening.

I open the bag.  Jerk her out and hold her in my lap.

You.  Will. Eat.  This.  Pill.

Liggy, however, has other ideas.

Such as…..there will be no pill going down her throat today.

EAT THE PILL!

By this time, sweat, is pouring down my face.  I am literally, a hot mess.

Eric is back and he’s telling me, “you have to go.”

Okay, well.  Here’s hoping she ate the pill.

Pack up the 15 pound cat, roller suitcase and my handbag.  Off we go through security.

I get to the X-ray machine and tell them I have a cat.  “Please take her out of the bag.”  Okay.  Liggy and I then stand there for 5 minutes while they discuss with the persons in front of me which machine they should use.  The walk through X-ray or the stand there with your hands above your head machine.

Okay, I’m standing here with a 15 pound feline, who isn’t really happy with her situation.  Could we move this along?  Is she doesn’t start hissing, I might.  We both might.

We get through the machine and don’t you know her carrier bag get stopped on the conveyor belt…..just short of arm’s reach.  There’s that sign that says, “don’t reach in to grab your bag.”  Come on.

COME ON!!!!

I get all the stuff…cat in the bag.  Luckily, for once, I was the FIRST GATE!  Eureka.  They were already boarding First Class when I arrived, so I dashed to the restroom.  Why?

Well, yes, to use the restroom, but also, because unlike most people.  My quart size bag….is filled with airplane bottles of…vodka.  Yep.  So I had a shot of chocolate vodka before jumping on my flight.

(No.  Contrary to popular belief, the only thing TSA has ever said to me was, “Finally someone actually gets the idea of what they should be using the quart size bags for on these flights!”  I can get about 8 little bottles in there.)

Liggy and I get to the gate and I hop in line.  I look around and smile.

Finally.

This is the first time in two years.

I have found my people.

Carhartts.

Flannel.

Boots.

North Face.

Fleece.

English is the first language.

It’s good.

As I get on the plane I advise the crew I had two other felines joining me below, they were like, “YOU’RE the CAT LADY!!!!”  Yes.  Yes.  I am.  They were delighted.  They had the slips showing Taku and Monkey were already boarded.

Liggy and I get on board and the middle seat remains empty.  I’m thrilled.  I’m thinking, this is great!  I will enjoy my movie “Chef” and order a seltzer water for my Vodka….after the last four hours, I need another Vodka.  Liggy, I’m pretty sure, hasn’t taken her pill as she keeps changing positions and mewing.

Then it happens.

I get a middle seat person.

Which under normal circumstances, would be fine.  But this, of course, isn’t normal circumstances.

Guess who sits next to me?

Nope.  A pilot.  Of course!  There goes my Vodka.  (Plan B:  have to use the restroom and take my purse, which had my quart size bag anyway after security.)

So, definitely, Liggy had not taken her pill.  Luckily the noise of the aircraft mostly drowned out her meows but she definitely could not sit still.  Well sister we have three hours to go, suck it up.

We finally land Boston and we hop off the plane.  Liggy and I meet our pick up party in baggage claim.  All the luggage arrives and we wait patiently for the two pink cat carriers to come through “special baggage”.  Apparently, animals are last off the plane.

As soon as I saw those two carriers I said, “There’s my little girls.”

Then SHE LET ME HAVE IT.

It was one big yyyyyeeeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwlllllll….followed by…..

A where in the hell are we?

And a who the hell do you think you are?

And a what the hell was that?

And never again!

And a fuck you lady and the horse you flew in on!

Monkey.  Was.  Pissed.

By the time we got out to the car, she was exhausted and had no further words.

Now, if we could just get her to come out from under the bed….we’d be doing good!  She does laps, to make sure we’re still here.  Then back she goes.

 

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Buckle Up, You’re a Traveler.

Last week I took a long weekend to travel up to Buffalo, New York to visit my better half’s family.  It was his Dad’s 80th birthday.  There were enough candles on the cake the wait staff actually brought in fire extinguishers…..just in case.

Had Dad had extra long eyebrows or nose hairs, we would have had some serious issues.  The dancing flames of flamenco dancing would have had all new meaning to the clan.

The joys of traveling.  A necessary evil.  Luckily we’ve been able to bypass the stagecoach nowadays.

A first for me was having to find a boarding place for our child.  I wasn’t going to bring her with me and while she’s 11 years old, she’s too young to stay by herself.  After asking around I found a highly recommended boarding facility about 45 minutes from our house. The morning of departure I packed her up and we traveled to the cottage.  The entire time in the car she pitched a fit.  Wouldn’t stop telling me how unhappy she was for all kinds of reasons:

  • She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go with me.
  • She was unhappy that she couldn’t stay by herself at home.
  • She’s never been to the new boarding place.
  • She was worried about making friends.
  • She was pissed she couldn’t see out the window.
  • She wasn’t happy about having to travel in the car while zipped inside a bag.

Needless to say, Liggy, was one pissed kitty upon arrival to the Country Cat Cottage.  After dropping her off at the feline spa, I raced home and threw on my dress and grabbed my suitcase.  I was off and running to the airport.

Yes.  That is correct.  I wore a dress.  On the plane.  With heels.  For one main reason: I wanted to see if I got treated better dressed up.

What do you think?

Remember years of yore when people actually dressed up to travel on the airplane?  Sunday best attire, hats and gloves?  Now everything including pajamas are acceptable.  It’s ridiculous.  I think there should be a little bit of a dress code to fly.  Honestly, there was a hooker on my return flight!  Forgive me, a working girl.  A gentleman’s lady.  An escort.

Seriously, she was a lady of the evening.  I saw who checked her in at the Delta kiosk.  That wasn’t her father.

Another reason for dress codes on the airplanes is because seats are now so close together that you pray the person sitting next to you doesn’t cross their leg….resting their ankle on their knee closest to you.  Chances are they’re wearing inappropriate shoes, right?!

Of course.  Flip flops.  Toes that haven’t been tended to in months.  Nails so long they’re leaving snags in the airplane carpet.  What is that tapping noise?  Oh, that guy’s toenails hitting the tray table.  Lo and behold, if you looked close enough you’d probably spy moving fungi between the toes.  Oh, wait up….that was jam.

What’s even worse (you’ll want to mentally prepare yourself for engaging your anti-gag reflex) the people who play with their toes or pick their nails and then put their fingers in their mouth.

Good grief….disgusting.   Miss Manners would be horrified.  Forget Miss Manners – I AM HORRIFIED.

Being this was my first time to the Fort Lauderdale airport as a departure contestant (think Fear Factor contestant) I drove around the entire complex TWICE before locating the proper exit for parking.  I can’t say it was a scenic drive as I was too busy trying not to be run down by the taxis.  The first parking garage I drove around and around and around was – full – of course.

There was a sign for Valet, which I actually considered as I was beginning to panic about finding parking, but couldn’t actually locate where the hell the Valet people were stationed.  Everything here in Miami has valet.  Seriously:  malls, restaurants, movies, bars, strip clubs, doctor offices…you name it there’s a valet.  You would think the airport would have a blazingly bright neon sign screaming, VALET.  Or at least a random homeless person with a sign around their neck with a big arrow saying, VALET….this way.   Nope, this airport is like Pandora’s Box.  Good luck with that shit.

Finally, I find a spot to park Norman….in a second parking tower.

Since the complex is so enormous, I actually took a picture of the garage parking map where it said, “YOU ARE HERE.”  At least I’ll have a general area of where the hell Norman is when I return.

I race down 6 floors to the ground level where I see a sign for a shuttle to the terminals.   The airport fairy sends the tram car and I hop on.  The gentleman in the back car smiles and gladly takes my carry on luggage.  Score one point for my test of dressing nicer for service.  I advise him of my airline and off we go.

Now, I am sweating, not because of the heat (well mainly because of heat) but I’m now later than I wanted to be walking into the actual airport.  I have a little over an hour before departure.  My time has been wasted trying to find parking and then taking the tram to the actual building.

This is ridiculous.

In my haste to get to the airport, I completely forgot you have to take your shoes off at security.  There I am BAREFOOT in the airport.  The best I could do was try and keep my little piggies up off the floor.  Most people wear socks right.  Wrong.  I look around and 99% of the people going through the security gates are sockless.   Walk on your heels.  Don’t walk on your heels – they’ll think you’re mental.

Finally, I make it to the gate only to learn the flight is 25 minutes late.  Great.  There goes my connection in Detroit.  The gate agent assures me it won’t be a problem, there’s a tail wind and all connections will be made just fine.  I try to think positively but in my heart I know this is going to be a mess.  You know like when your gut tells you not to open that piece of junk mail but you do it anyway and it turns out to be a virus.  I felt like that.

Once on board the silver bullet we take off and the pilot comes on to announce our arrival time into Detroit.  Oh yeah, by the way, we’re still going to be 30 minutes behind schedule.  Luckily I am in the second row of steerage so I’ve formulate a plan.

As soon as the “double-ding” occurs I am up and out of my seat heading towards the door.    I race up the gangway and leap out into the terminal like a ninja.  Where’s a monitor?  I need to see the monitor!  (No.  Thanks Delta, but you were’t able to provide gate information coming in for the landing, you didn’t care I had a connection and there was nobody at the gate to assist.)  We’ve arrived into terminal A – and my connection is in terminal C.

YOU MUST BE KIDDING.  With 10 minutes before departure, I give it a solid try.  My feet have already been contaminated so what’s it going to hurt?  I yank off my high heels and begin sprinting through the terminal like OJ Simpson.  The exception is I’m shorter, pulling a wheeled bag and I’m barefoot.  AGAIN.

I’m following the big C signs with the arrows  and come up short when I realize, there’s a  shuttle to the C terminal!  I hurl myself into the car as the automated announcement tells us the doors are closing.  No shit, really?  The gentlemen next to me asks about my connection, I tell him it’s to Buffalo.  A Delta employee is sitting there and says, “Oh, they shut that gate 7 minutes early.”

The doors open and I weigh my options.  Continue like a crazed nutter and hope the guy was lying or put my shoes back on and stroll up to the counter?  Yep, you guessed it.  The Nutter won.  I continue sprinting along the long hallway, which obviously must be under an runway as it went on forever.  My little naked feet are pounding against the moving walkway as I keep praying silently to myself, “I will not get foot fungus.  I will not get foot fungus.”  It was like being in a horror film….running down one of those long hallways that you never get to the end of….and Jack Nicholson is chasing you with an ax screaming “Here Comes Johnny!”

As I’m dashing down this hallway, more like a character from a Dr. Seuss story than a long distance runner I notice with horror one thing.  I’m loosing my panties.

My under ware is falling down.

By the time I get on the escalator going up to terminal A, I realize half of both cheeks are exposed.  Well, how the hell am I going to pull these up?  Thank god for the person who invented the pockets.  My dress has pockets.  Insert hands and pull up panties.

Good grief.  I’ve never.  Ever.  EVER.  Had a problem like this before.  What’s next?

Finally I get to the counter and there are THREE Delta agents there.  Nobody making eye contact with me.  Oh so sorry, that flight is already gone.  We’ve already booked you on another flight this evening, here’s your ticket.  No seat assignment?  Oh, we can’t do that, you have to go to that gate.  Alright fine.

I walk away, sit down on the bench and burst into tears.  Now I know how people feel on American Idol.  You give it your best shot, do everything in your power and you still loose.  My cute dress didn’t even help me.  They can’t even give me a seat!

Finally I pull myself together, wipe the sweat and melted eyeliner off my face and walk to the departure gate.  I have about 90 minutes before the next flight.  I ask the agent if they can assign me a seat.  Nope, they are not dealing with my flight yet and suggest I come back in about an hour.

Are you kidding me?  There’s computers and technology sitting all over counter.  You’re telling me you can’t assign me a seat?  For real?  OMG.  Where is the customer service?  Not at Delta Airlines.

Don’t worry, it gets worse.  Trust me.

I get something to eat and head back to the gate.  They assign me a seat and while I still have 30 minutes to kill before boarding I wander the terminal and make some phone calls.  I stand across from the gate, while I’m on the phone, waiting for the flight number to read “now boarding.”  All of the sudden the gate number changes.  WTF?  I rudely tell my friend, “I have to go!  The flight is now departing out of B terminal!”

Once more, I ponder my situation and decide, in order not to miss the possibility of this next flight also leaving early, I better take the heels off again.  I dash through the airport, pulling my purple wheel bag and praying to God my panties don’t end up around my knees.

Again, they get so bad that I seriously consider just stopping and yanking them off.  I don’t care at this point.  But then I think to myself, “what would you do if you fell and didn’t have anything on underneath?  You’d be embarrassed….”  So instead I stopped and pulled them up three times on my run to the next terminal.  What baffles me is they were cute new roos.  How could they not fit?  Good grief.  Leave it to me.

I finally arrive and sling-shot myself into the counter in B terminal.  The agent tells me I have plenty of time, not to worry.  So I decide to use the restroom, wipe the sweat off all exposed areas of skin and secure my panties.  I’m not just misting or glowing, I look like I’ve been enjoying myself on the slip & slide.

Pulled together once more, I walk on to the tiny plane.  It’s one of those with 2 and 2.  My seat, last one, by the bathroom and it’s a window.  Of course.  Nothing like being a nervous flier stuck by a window, in a seat that doesn’t recline and enjoying the aromas of the freshly used toilette.  Love it.  Sign me up to do this multiple times a day!

I get to my seat and the guy on the aisle is very nice.  I figure it must be the dress.  I get my ear plugs out and a piece of gum.  Departure time comes and the Delta crew tells us they’re waiting on a few connecting flights that just landed, giving those folks time to catch this flight.  Fuckers.  You didn’t wait for me, you sent my plane early!

Really though, it was a lie.  Nobody else joined us on the plane.

20 minutes later.

30 minutes later.

45 minutes later.

60 minutes later.

We’re still sitting at the gate.  Trapped in this silver bullet.  Waiting to go to Buffalo.  It was a mechanical.  It was paperwork.  It was the dispatchers. It was the hokey-pokey.  I don’t know exactly which excuse it actually was but just be honest.  While you’re at  it….  offer us something to drink for crying out loud!  This was the first time that I didn’t travel with my Quart Size Bag filled with alcohol bottles.  Yes, I am the only person who actually  uses those bags properly.  Had I stuffed it with my little bar bottles, I could have made a fortune on that plane.  $5 a bottle.

70 minutes into our collective meditation on the lack of service provided by Delta and we’re on our way.

Ahhhhhhhh…….

Had a great time with the family.  Lots of laughter.  Met new faces.  Ate the same thing for lunch two days in a row….the sub shop is AWESOME.  Bought hosiery cause I can’t find any in Miami.  Wandered through the village.  Went to the zoo.  Chased little kids.  Played one hand of some sort of card game (I don’t like cards….too many numbers.) And ate a steak for the first time in months!  Was also the only one who didn’t get sick after eating at the weird taco place….

I would like to say on my return, I did not wear a dress.  It obviously had put the hex on my customer service experience.  Upon arriving at the Buffalo airport I had plenty of time to get to my gate.  Once on board I relaxed and happily anticipated enjoying an adult beverage from the cart.

We push back from the gate and guess what?  Delayed.  AGAIN.  Trapped like a sardine.  AGAIN.  Are you kidding me Delta?  The people around me immediately start balking.  Their flights before this one were all late and now this one is leaving late.  Connections are going to be missed.  It’s a fiasco.  Previously, I had a 2 hour layover in Atlanta.  Now, I have about 60 minutes, which is fine.  Not a problem.

The real problem however was when we landed in Atlanta and I walked to the next gate for my flight to Fort Lauderdale.  Yep, you guessed it, my last flight of the day….delayed!  Honestly, they should consider renaming Delta to Delay or maybe just Delete.

Things I learned from this experience:

The dress didn’t make a damn bit of different.

You can’t drink alcohol in the Buffalo airport before noon on Sundays.

Never to work for Delta, let alone fly with them again.

Always travel with your own bar.

Oh and yes in case you were curious, I threw out the panties.

 

 

 

 

Airline Travel : Hold the Rolls Please

There’s nothing more I’d rather do then get into a metal tube with a bunch of strangers, sling shot myself through the air at the hands of someone else’s capabilities and land exhausted, grumpy and achy in a distant city.

Awesome.

Life changing.

Fun.

Let’s do it again please.

What is it with people getting on an airplane?  It’s always a mad dash to see who can be first to board.  News flash folks: this isn’t a game of Musical Chairs.  There is a seat for you, provided you have a ticket.  Everyone wants to beat the stranger next to them to get on the plane.

I have a limp so I need extra time to board early.

My contact fell out so I can’t see and need to go first.

Yes, my 15-year-old needs extra time to get settled, we’re going to pre-board.

This computer bag, garment bag and messenger bag are over weight and too heavy, I need a wheelchair to get down to the plane.  Excuse me.

Forget about those that actually need to board first.  Hell, just run the legitimate folks down, they’ won’t mind.  Isn’t it obvious?  They’re just like the rest of the group.  Just one in a herd waiting to hear the cattle call to move forward.

I’ve written before about passengers who believe the entire overhead compartment is just for the two of them.  (Not for all three in the row on that side, just the two of them.)  They always feign shock when the flight attendant comes by and asks them to fold up their coats and to please take down the “mine, mine, mine” sign taped on the door.

They usually respond with “But we’ve always done it this way.”  I’m sorry honey but that excuse stopped working in 6th grade when you could no longer snow your teacher into believing you didn’t know the proper way to settle into detention.  I was born at night, but not last night.  Let’s move on.

As John Q. Public gathers anxiously around the gate’s podium everyone is eyeballing everyone else and thinking one thing:

Who am I sitting next to?

If you’re a people watcher, you can see the expressions change as the public reviews its options from one possibility to the next.

Yes.

No.

Hum, ok.

Definitely yes.

No.

No.

Hot momma…yes.

When it comes down to it, we’re all hoping for one thing:  maybe the middle seat will be empty.  If the airlines were smart, it would be an option for passengers seated on the window or aisle.  You could select a box that says, “willing to split fare for middle seat” and if the person who books the other side of the row agrees, you each pay $200 to save that middle seat for yourselves.  Why not?  If I’m flying from one end of this country to the other, I’d pay for half the space.  Unless I was in first class, then it wouldn’t be an option.  But, let’s not dream – let’s stay focused.

The one draw back to selecting your perfect seat mate while waiting for the racer’s gun to go off at the gate, is if you’re boarding a flight already in progress from another city.  Well this sucks.  You don’t get to ponder the possibilities of those already seated on the plane.  It becomes a cruel game of Peek-a-Boo!

Guess who?

No, I’d rather not.

Recently I was upgraded to Alaska Airlines MVP and was delighted with the fact I could directly book my aisle seat into an exit row.  A little extra leg room never hurts.  Not that I need it, but it’s helpful for when your seat mates have to climb in and out.  Climbing over me is fine, provided you’re the one I want a lap dance from – chances are you’re not that person – so I’ll take the extra space.

Recently I was on a business trip with a small posse of my industry mates.  We were all on the same short flight.  This particular flight had one stop before we reached our final destination.  Quick, easy, perfect.  The two segment flight was all of about 45 minutes of flight time but with boarding and stopping and all that other stuff it was about 2 hours start to finish. Ridiculously easy right?

Wrong.

Apparently the Karma Gods were not happy with me.

Walking on the plane I start immediately, counting back to my row.  That would be row 14 thank you.  Left side.  aisle.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four……

Wait.  What?

Five.

Six.

Seven.

That can’t be right.

Eight.

Nine.

Ten.

Are you kidding me.  I better check my boarding pass again.

Eleven.

Twelve.

Thirteen.

Just shoot me.  I didn’t even notice the welcome sign.  I ponder ringing the call button and asking for a fist full of little vodka bottles.

Fourteen.Welcome to Dante’s third circle of hell : gluttony.

I can’t even begin to describe the image that has been permanently burned into my mind.  At first I thought it was a walrus.   It’s a walrus slumped over into my seat.  Brown leathery neck folds.  Shiny bald head.  In my moment of confusion, I couldn’t figure out how he manged to get by the door attendants.

When did they let animals this large into the main cabin?  He’s obviously not going to fit under the seat in front of his owner.  Oh wait, the lady seated by the window is pressed up against the glass like a sea star.

She’s not with the walrus.

Uh-oh.  This is not a “happiness is” moment and I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands.

Before I set my bag down I realize my arm rest is up and he’s literally, laying half way across my seat.

Awesome.

Now I’m kicking myself.  I should have changed my seat.  I should have changed my seat.

I take one glance at walrus man and throw my bag into my seat.  I verify, again, my boarding pass and the seat assignment.

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

He straightens up and as I’m taking my book, ear plugs and gum out of my bag…he puts down the arm rest.  Thank goodness for common sense on his part because I was ready to very politely advise him that while I’m sure he’s a nice person, I don’t really want to get to know him any more than I obviously have to at this point.

The only thing that is going through my mind now is how am I going to sit back?  Half of his upper body is in my seat.  I don’t remember asking for additional back support on this flight.  Nor, did I ask for a jello like body pillow to rest my head upon.

I slowly inch my way back.  Pretending to stretch my back by twisting from side to side.  Here goes nothing.

S M A C K

That would be the sucking sound of my  shoulders finding what little space available under his ham hock of a bicep and suctioning to the pleather seat back.  It was then for the first time in my recent memory, I had to fold up like a Praying Mantis to survive.  I am very small.  I am a little bunny rabbit.  I am cute and furry.  I am small like a spec of sand.  I am light as a feather.

People continue to board and  I can only guess my facial expression – a desperate, silent plead for help.  Anyone want to switch seats?  Where is a small kid when you need one?

One of three things would happen as people noticed my situation:

Knowing grimace of pain and sympathy – mostly from strangers.

Compliments on my shirt, hair, necklace or earrings – mostly from strangers.

Horrified smirks and pats on the shoulder – fellow co-workers.

Thanks for the support guys.  Appreciate it.  Can feel the love oozing now.

Before they shut the front door, I realize with a churn of my stomach, this guy is radiating heat.  Lots of heat.  Not just any kind of heat.  Pit heat.

Arm.

Pit.

Heat.

I didn’t realize personal sauna was an option on airlines these days.  I certainly don’t remember requesting this service for this flight or any other.  And this isn’t an add-on service I’d choose in the first place.

Insert full on toddler wailing moment…….WAH!

Now can I have a double vodka – hold the tonic – with a lime please?  This guy next to me is buying whether he realizes it or not.    If I’m going to get felt up for the next two hours by a stranger, you better keep them coming.

Oh, right. The suck thing is on the short flights, there’s no beverage service.  Of course, at this point I don’t think a beverage would have helped.  I was trapped under the walrus’ flipper…there’d be no way I could have squeezed my lime into my vodka!  Just open the little airplane bottle and pour it into my mouth, that’s fine.

(Note, my boss sitting across the aside from me would have probably had a few words to say about that activity, but you know…desperate times call for desperate measures.)

What I truly don’t get is if you know you’re a giant person…why, why, why….would you book a middle seat?  Why?

Everyone has to make sure their carry on fits inside the airplane.  They have those tester frames set up at the check in area, so you can ensure your bag will fit.  Smaller planes will have the gate attendant come through and gate check oversized bags.  If size matters – all size should matter.

If your ass doesn’t fit inside the seat simulator – you have to buy the middle seat.

Period.

End of story.

Why should the rest of us, who have paid the same amount for our 17.5 inches of seat – have to endure 1/3 of it being consumed by a stranger’s fat rolls?  They’re comfortable, shouldn’t the seat ends be comfortable too?  If you’re into  sharing strange, fleshy rolls, by all means – enjoy it!  I however, do not.  I prefer to rub up against people I know and even then, those people are a small select group of pre-approved people.

If you’re oversized, do me a favor.  Buy the extra seat so we can both be comfortable.  Otherwise, this is going to be an expensive flight for you.

Ring that call button please.

Airport Shuttles – Don’t Be Rude

This past week found me returning home to Alaska. Of course, I had to overnight in Seattle, which is fine by me. When I checked into my hotel by SeaTac airport, I asked about the airport shuttle. It leaves on the hour and half hour. Fantastic!

Here we are the next morning and I depart my room with 10 minutes to spare for the shuttle departure. I check out and wait patiently in the lounge by the front door. Another gentleman arrives and we both wait for the shuttle. The shuttle driver arrives and escorts us to the waiting van.

I am ecstatic! The shuttle gods have finally smiled down on me and I am lucky enough to be first on the van to get the front bench seat. Sweet! It’s a strange little van that offers two seats on the driver’s side, an aisle way and then a single seat on the passenger side. For as long as I can remember I always get stuck having to climb the gauntlet of that “aisle” to get a seat in the back. Well not today! As I enjoy the smugness of my success, a third man shows up for the shuttle.

It’s now 8:32AM and we’re two minutes late for departure. Suddenly I hear him tell the driver, “My friend is coming. He’s on his way down and will be here in 10 seconds.”

Silently I start counting to 10.
Still waiting.
The driver comes around and looks at me and shrugs.
Still waiting.
We start talking about the weather.
Still waiting.
The friend finally says, “oh here he comes.”

Now it’s 8:40AM and these two guys finally get on the shuttle.
Sweet justice — you two get stuck in the back of the van. HA! Here comes that smug feeling again.

The two of us who managed to be ON TIME didn’t even acknowledge these two late people. Whatever, get in the van and sit down already.

And then the following exchange of words happened, not kidding:

Friend 1: I told these guys that if they didn’t want to wait the 1 minute for you, they could arm wrestle you when you arrived.

Friend 2: That’s okay. I haven’t killed anything in 3 days.

Friend 1: Remember our pact.

Still no response from myself and the second passenger who were on time. Complete and utter silence from us. Not even a rustle of a coat.

Wow, you two think you’re all that and a bag of chips! Hate to tell you but you aren’t even the pickle on the plate. Your buddy didn’t say a word to us in the first place and who the hell cares if you’ve been hunting. I’m not impressed, I don’t find you funny and I think you are rude individuals who believe only your time is important.

I hate that.