The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Worst . Day . Ever

I used to like flying. Between school and work, this was one of my low stress times to just sit and read a magazine or listen to music. Boy did that change today!

I had meticulously chosen my departure and arrival times. I would leave Houston around 2:30pm since that was convenient for sister in law to bring me to the airport. I would arrive in DC around 8:30pm because I could get a ride and have dinner with a friend. I should have foreseen disaster when sister in law said something came up at work and she would have to get me to the airport earlier. Three hours earlier. Ugh, what am I supposed to do at Hobby for three hours? So, I made sure my cell phone was charged and my camera was charged since electronics are a necessity if stuck in a lifeless airport. When I checked my luggage, the man said "is this food? is it perishable?" Yes sir! "Okay, I have to tell you that we cannot promise it will not perish. But, I'm looking at your flights and you should be fine, I don't foresee any delays." I realized I would have to grab lunch at the airport since we left before I was hungry. Choices at Hobby: cold pizza that has been sitting out for an hour or salad with brown lettuce. As I walked back and forth between the two, my purse suddenly got lighter. Mostly, because the strap broke and my purse was no longer on my shoulder. This is the last time I spend a significant amount of money on a purse that will not withstand being carried on a shoulder.

After my ghastly lunch, I cracked open a book and cranked up my Ipod. About 30 minutes later, my Ipod quit singing to me. I looked down to see that the battery was dead. WHAT? It was the "you forgot...to hook up...the doll" moment. With everything I had the forethought to charge, I forgot...to charge...the Ipod. So, I did what anyone would do, I scooped up my purse with both hands since I no longer have straps and I moved to the empty terminal away from all of the chatty people hidden in a corner so I could read in peace. Then, the people followed. Apparently, when people see quiet parts of airports they immediately equate it with prime cell-phone-talking real estate. Not just that, but they do that movie theater/church pew/bathroom stall faux-pas where they ignore the 50 seats in the rest of the area and choose to sit right smack dab in front of me. Jackass! I am trying to read. MUST you pace back and forth on the phone with aunt suzy RIGHT in front of me? Luckily it was about time for my plane to board so I headed over.

As I approached the gate, they were boarding the flight at the gate next to ours. A 2:39pm to Atlanta. Hmmm, that's funny, I'm on a 2:35pm to Atlanta and we aren't boarding yet. I guess AirTran is on top of things a bit more than Delta today. I look on my Delta screen and it says next flight leaving at 4:23pm. Wait, wait, wait...so confused. "Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the weather in Atlanta, air traffic control is not allowing any flights in. We will be delayed for at least two hours," belts out the Delta dude. Then, the AirTran guy says "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are still boarding and do intend to fly this plane to Atlanta." What the hell? First thing that pops into my head is that Hobby is a really crappy place to get stuck. Second thought is of the $60 worth of perishable food I checked. Damnit.

So, I go ahead and get in line so Delta guy can re-book my connecting flight I will obviously be missing. Of course, said line takes 30 minutes to get to the front where I can finally plop down my strapless purse. "Ma'am, we will be getting you in to Atlanta at 7pm and we can re-book you on the 9:30 flight to DC." I am pretty sure (in an effort to NOT take my frustration out on Delta guy) my only response was 'whatever'. Then he said something else and I said 'whatever'. Then, there was an awkward silence between me and Delta guy. To try and make things not weird, I decided to start idle chat. I said "so, out of curiosity, how come they got to leave at 2:30 and we didn't?" At this point, Delta guy turns into the devil. Smoke starts coming out of his ears and he yells "I have no control over the weather! I just do what air traffic tells me to do!!!" At this point, I stuck my finger in his face and said "you need to calm down." Then, I realized I was no longer talking to my 2-year old niece and that I had actually just reprimanded the Delta flight agent. Oops. (Note: in the above paragraph, the only exaggeration for dramatic effect was the smoke from his ears:-) (Seriously)

With some time to kill, I bypassed the quiet, cell phone raided, corner I had found and headed straight for the bar. I drank and read. It was nice. Flight was great. That is, if you don't count the facts that it was ASA which insists on conserving plane space by putting seats WAY too close together...AND I was in the last row of the plane, in front of the bathroom...AND I had no window...AND the woman in front of me reclined her seat the whole time. Yeah, great flight.

Atlanta was uneventful aside from that one woman and her daughter who frantically showed up at our gate (A01) for their flight only to find it was moved to gave A27 and the daughter yells "c'mon mom, let's go" dragging her mom who is yelling "you Delta bitch" to the agent at gate A01. 'Twas a quiet night. I got on the plane in Atlanta and was surprised to see it was fairly empty. I like fairly empty flights. Then, at the last minute, the guests we were waiting on arrived. A whole freaking slew of boyscouts* boarded. They were all in their uniforms and had apparently been hiking and not yet bathed. I discreetly sprayed perfume in the air hoping it would not alert the terrorist watchers. Of course, since the three most obnoxious boyscouts ever spawned were sitting behind me, the plane got stuck on the tarmac for an hour and a half. Could life get any worse? Yep. The boyscout behind me found a glitch in his seat in which the radio (instead of demanding headphones for your listening pleasure) would just blare right out of his seat. To make sure all of his boyscout friends got to hear, he kept turning it up and up and up. Then, he said "look, I can provide a radio for the whole plane." I turned around and this idiot was a full grown man in a boyscout uniform. Aside from this troop leader looking like a fool, when he realized I heard his radio, as did we all, he giggled. Seriously, the man giggled. I shoved sweatshirts and blankets in the cracks between the seats so as to drown out as much noise as possible. By now, I had completely finished my book that I began at the start of this dreadful day, so not only was I annoyed, but I was bored. I sat there, secretly hoping he would start kicking my chair so I would have a reason to go postal. Apparently, someone else complained and they cut off his access to the radio. *note: I never actually had anything against boyscouts prior to this flight.

I was happy to finally arrive in DC at 12:15! I called friend, who was originally supposed to pick me up at 8:30 and told him I would understand if he didn't want to come get me. I was happy that he did anyway. No sooner did I say to him "this was the worst . day . ever" when he was approached by a cop who gave him a ticket for having an expired sticker. Sorry again, friend! So, I think it is best for me, and anyone else around that I go to bed now.

(There was ONE good thing that came out of all this madness. I found out the perishable-food-items bag I have rocks! After being out of the freezer and in that bag for over 12 hours, my crawfish fettuccini and cajun sausage are still frozen:-)