Monday, December 26, 2005

No Matter How Far Away You Roam

... the airlines will find you, and screw you.

I didn't arrive in Cincinnati without a fight. I was in the Daytona Beach International (Snicker) Airport deciding between a $249586283270 sub sandwich and a $294578209465 hotdog for lunch when Delta Lady came over the loudspeaker, asking all Cincinnati passengers to report to the ticketing desk, as though we had won some sort of grand sweepstakes. Must be present to be screwed!

The nine of us assembled, and were told that we would miss our connecting flight to Atlanta, and there would never be another seat on any other connection to Cincinnati, ever, but, since they, Delta, were wonderful and glorious to behold, we would now take a taxi to Orlando and fly on a nonstop from there to our destination. For a small fee.

You know how you come to hate total strangers just by their bald proximity? I hated the people on my flight. We stared at one another during reticketing, waiting for the taxi, riding in the taxi, re-checking our bags, sitting for two hours at the gate in Orlando, awaiting beverage service, throughout taxiing, on the jetway, and at the luggage carousel. Hate 'em.

It Takes a Hockey Team

Then I hurled my bags into my parents' condo grateful that the trasportation mishap for this trip was through, and thus was my complacency until I received the following phone call from Josh the Pilot:

ME: I'm coming to get you at the airport. Where are you?

JTP: Chicago.

ME: But you live in New Orleans.

JTP: They sent me to Chicago.

ME: Why?

JTP: So I could get the connection to Columbus.

ME: But... I'm in Cincinnati.

JTP: So is my luggage.

United saw Delta's charge-for-inconvenience and raised it one 180 mile round trip drive down I-71. Because only the incompetent will rise, they made sure this all took place at two in the morning for a driver who cannot find her way out of a handicapped bathroom stall, much less an airport she has never seen.

The call arrived after watching Country The Brother In Law's hockey team win its league championship. In the grand West Side soccer tradition of whoever brings the post-game soft drinks gets to be the captain, they recieved not a gigantic ring but a pitcher of beer, which I was allowed to share. So between the combined BlackBerrys of the Rink Rats we manged to chart a detailed course to Columbus, which I receieved with great care and followed precisely until I turned the wrong way out of the ice arena parking lot.

The divorce rate continues to rise, largely in part to cellular phones. It took me two hours to drive to Columbus and another forty-five minutes to actually locate Josh the Pilot. We had many conversations like this:

ME: Where are you?

JTP: At Passenger Pick-Up.

ME: No you're not!

JTP: I am too.

ME: Which side of the airport are you on?

JTP: What do you mean, which side? I'm at Passenger Pick-Up.

ME: I was just there, and I didn't see you.

JTP: Where are you now?

ME: In the bathroom, where else would I be?

As it happens, there are two Passenger Pick-Ups at the Columbus airport, a North and a South, because to have just one would make actual sense. The North and the South Passenger Pick-Ups divide the immense foot traffic of this great transportation crossway, and are twenty feet apart.

Classes begin again in Daytona Beach on January 10. I'm leaving now.

parking in the white courtesy zone at:

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