Monday, June 23, 2008

The Conference, Part 1: Getting There

Getting There. It sounds so easy, doesn't it?

You'd THINK.

When Jorge pushed me in my baby stroller up to the place in the airport where you check in (the computer screen) it said, "What do you think you're doing? You know don't belong here. I [the airport] will eat you when your husband leaves."

I replied, "Wah."

So we talked to a real person (a minion, remember) behind the desk who told us, "You're going to have pay $100 more because you changed your flight around." She said this with a look that added a Redd Foxx "Dummy!" at the end just for kicks.

I looked at Jorge. "I didn't do anything; I promise!" Because I know he thought I tried to get into the reservation and cancel it or something.

He said, "I didn't change anything, either."

The lady wasn't buying it from either of us. So she clicked and clicked and then said, "Oh, it's our bad. We changed the flight numbers. Huh! Fancy that! You don't have to pay another $100 after all."

It was then that I noticed the Granny Smith sized apple in my throat that prevented me from swallowing for the next 2 hours. Can you get brain damage from not swallowing?

I waved goodbye, passed inspection, got on the plane and looked for row 17, which was the very back seat in the plane.

For those of you who watch LOST, remember what happened when that plane crashed?
Goodbye seat 17.

I tried breathing in and out slowly for four counts each: 1, 2.3.4. - 2, 2.3.4 - 3, 2.3.4, but I got to 100 and was still panicking and scaring the guy next to me who was starting to reach for his oxygen mask because I was using his air up, too, so I just reverted to chipmunk sized breaths.

When I arrived at Charlotte, I immediately began looking for my bag, which never came down the chute, although everyone else's from my flight did. While I was looking for my bag, I was also on the lookout for the limo guy that Jorge hired to carry me to the hotel. Both the luggage and the driver were MIA.

Finally, I found this scared looking guy holding a placard that said, "Linda T." I wondered if he was my guy, but he was from a different limo company, so I hesitated to ask. I called Jorge, who called Lotus Limousines, who said they had subcontracted that company to pick me up. So I confirmed with this kid that I was his charge, and he helped me looked for the suitcase.


Me and the guy, just lookin', lookin', lookin' for my suitcase. And we couldn't talk because he didn't speak English very well, except for "yes."

Finally, I saw that an airline minion had snatched my bag from carousel thing and hidden it from me. I think her eyes glowed red, but I'm not sure.

So by the time I got to the hotel, I felt, and probably looked, like this:

I went into my room and swallowed for the first time in two hours. It was then that I realized I do enjoy breathing and swallowing.

Unpacked, I ventured downstairs to look for food. I waited 45 minutes for an appetizer of spinach and artichoke dip, which I took to my room and ate while watching the biography of Andy Gibb. Good times. (Did you know he dated that girl from "Gimme a Break?") I couldn't believe I was finally there.

It was then that Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders and Carol at Sheep to the Right phoned my room to see if I made it OK. Apparently, my rantings had even gotten to Amy's husband, who nudged her to call me and make sure I was there in one piece. Glad to know my nuttiness is crossing gender lines. In fact, that's always been a blogging goal of mine: "Make my own insanity known to everyone, without respect to gender, race, religion or creed. Check!"

I went to sleep. I woke up. My first thought? "I have to go to the airport again in 72 hours."

Part 2 plus pics tomorrow.


Amy B said...

Girl, I wish I had been there with you. We could have stressed out together. Oh, and I love spinach and artichoke dip! :)

Camille; Ponytail Challenge said...

Wow- what a trip! It is nice to be reminded why I am glad to not be going on a fly-away vacation anytime soon! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Darlene R. said...

You crack me up!

I can't wait to see pictures. I love pictures.

thouartloosed said...

Can't wait to hear this rest of this!

Amy Wyatt said...

I'm so glad you made it home safely. Can't wait to read all about your return trip. Apparently Leila had some difficulty getting back to the airport too. Haven't found out the details yet. I hate that I didn't get to spend more time getting to know you this weekend. I'm on my way for a new headshot :)

Mocha with Linda said...

You mean I have to wait until tomorrow for more?! I don't like cliff-hangers!

Just think how dull your blog would be without all these experiences. Why waste them on someone with no sense of humor or writing outlet?!

Marina said...

I was worry these would happen to you linda I felt nervous for you b/c I do the samething to my self when I fly,my husband hates flying with me that is why we have not gone anywhere in 3 years.
But I did pray for you :)!marina

Melanie said...

You just make me laugh.

Jenny said...

I'm living vicariously through you, Linda, She Speaks sounds like it was great. Even your flying nightmares. :)

I'm excited to hear about the conference!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

What an experience!! You did crack me up with that Lost comment - I would not have remembered what happened to which seat number!

Roxanne said...

Hilarious. . .now that it's over and you had fun and arrived safely home.

Barbara H. said...

You know what's sad -- I wonder how many people just pay those fees no questions asked. My sister almost paid a water bill that was 3 times higher than normal -- she knew she had had a leak, and the landlord fixed it. We told her if she talked to the water company she wouldn't have to pay the excess for the leakage. If my husband hadn't talked to them for her, she probably would have gone ahead and paid it. Companies make a lot of many from people feeling intimidated! I'm glad you spoke up. And got back to swallowing. It is needed for a healthy lifestyle. :-)

Cindy Swanson said...

Oh, daughter Elizabeth could so identify with you. She hates and is terrified of flying. She did bite the bullet and fly to Texas recently, and she's already afraid of the flight back, even though she'll have her cousin with her for support. I do love how you can make anything funny and interesting! :)

Jen said...

Bless, bless, bless your little heart.

I used to work for Southwest Airlines in southern California. So I've flown a lot - and I can tell you, airports are just like bus stations. Filthy public places full of people rudely going about their way.

I actually chose, usually (the schedule changed every 3 months) to be the "minion" in the baggage claim office. And generally, people were either pretty easy to please, or just really tired and not wanting to deal with a problem.

It's actually where I learned about customer service, and why I am the picky-ooonish critic that I am when it comes to public service. In fact, Hunk O Man just asked me if I'd rather stay in a hotel or with friends when we visit Cincinnati next week. I said friends -- I HATE hotels! Ooooh, the germs! The filth! The other-people's-God-knows-what!

I'm so glad you made it. And hopefully the good time you had made up for all the upset.

It made for one funny story, that's for sure. You rock, Lid.


Cyndy said...

Oh dear Linda, if I coulda, I woulda been there for you...especially with the airline minions.
I glad you made it there and back again and I can't wait to hear..."the rest of the story".

samurai said...

Yikes... I am glad to hear that you made it safe... looking forward to hearing more about your adventures... I needed that laugh this morning. ;-)

Kelly @ Love Well said...

You really need your own reality show.

Chatty Kelly said...

You crack me up again and again! Glad you are now home, but aren't you glad you didn't miss it?

Kelley said...

Are you sure it wasn't a really large ROCK that was blocking your airway?? LOL

Come to think of it, I could use a blockage in my throat to stop me from devouring these wonderful chocolates you gave me!!! They are amazing and my hips are holding on to each and every bite!

Glad you are home.....

A Stone Gatherer said...

I don't think you and my son should ever talk! He has to get on a plane to CA in less then a month and does not need to hear your fear! I think he could smell it! Glad you made it O.K.!