Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Conference Story, Picked Up Again at Part 3

First of all, the big talk around my town today is this national news story: 7 Year-old Kid Drives Geo Tracker around Muncie, Indiana. He stopped at the mall, by the way. Probably needed to pick up some power tools at Sears or something. One of the kids in our youth group is this kid's cousin, and when he told us the story, he did not seem surprised by the event at all. I'm going to stop right there.

Because you didn't come here for national news, anyway, did you? You came here for Conference Story, Picked Up Again at Part 3, starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw.

Let's return to Sunday after the conference. I was to wait in the hotel lobby for Lotus Limousines to pick me up as Jorge had planned. I waited and waited, and there was no Lotus Man.

Another woman was waiting, too, so I struck up a conversation and shared why I was standing there. We chatted. A few minutes later, a large black sedan pulled up, but the driver just sat there.

I waited, but he wasn't budging. I couldn't decide whether to wait longer inside or go out and ask if he was from Lotus. The lady and I decided I should ask, and she said she'd watch my luggage. So I went out and approached the driver, who was slumped down in his seat, almost napping. The window was down.

And then, people, I actually said these exact words to him:

"Are you here to pick up a woman? Because I need to be picked up."

And then I died right there in front of that hotel of embarrassment.

He was not the Lotus man. But he did seem to perk up after my question.

Finally, Lotus man arrived and whisked me off to Satan's "Fantasy Island" (the airport) where I'm sure all of the "Tattoos" (airline employees) stand beside the Devil who is wearing a white suit and an impish grin when I'm on the guest list.

I made one stupid mistake, which I shall not divulge here, because there's a limit on how many completely humiliating confessions a blogger can make in any one post; it's a rule.

Once again, I boarded the tube of death, a jet the aeronautic equivalent of the Chevette.

We taxied out and stopped, engines running. We sat there one full hour when the pilot announced, "We're having a weather event in Dayton, so I'm waiting to hear how we'll re-route. We're sorry for the delay. We'll get you to Dayton ASAP."

More time passed. He spoke again, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are now low on fuel, so we're going to have to go back to the gate to re-fuel, and then we'll be off soon."

We sat there another hour.

They would not let anyone off. They would not bring food or drinks on board. They would not give us air to breathe, let alone food or water.

Then another message: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to have to de-board two guests. Medics will be assisting them off the plane." No, I wasn't one of them, but at that point, I wished I was.

Then the attendant told us that we needed another tank of oxygen because they're not allowed to fly with only one. Also, whenever medics take people off, the pilot must de-board and fill out paper work.

More time passed. The guy behind me bellowed, "I'm giving them one more hour, and then I'm calling 911." I couldn't decide if he was nuts or a genius. What if we all had to pick sides at some point, the pro-911's versus the con-911's? Who would I side with? Which side was less likely to be cannibalized by the other?

We were hot and thirsty. The attendant suggested that if anyone wanted anything to drink, we should press our call button, as they would not be bringing the cart but would be bringing each drink individually, for some reason. Immediately, about 100 call button bells dinged simultaneously, and that attendant was not happy.

So she poured our drinks and walked them back to us saying, "OK, this is all the ice we have, so when we're in the air, you're not going to get a cold drink. Just room temperature sodas, that's all."

I wanted to say, "You hear that, people? The warden-matron here says we ain't a gettin' no cold sody pop in the air! Are we gonna stand for that?! No we ain't!" but I didn't. I just texted my daughter and friends begging them to send ice or chocolate.

I want you to know I read an entire book that I was given at the conference on the plane, with time to spare. Finally, after three hours, we took off. We had some turbulence, but at that point, I kind of liked it because it meant that although I was still a prisoner, I was a prisoner who was actually on the move somewhere, like I was being let out of solitary and moved to another cell. It didn't matter where we were headed anymore. It was just kind of exciting to be non-stationary. And it confirmed that I still had feeling in my butt, which I was starting to doubt after my stint as hostage.

My husband picked me up, and I almost cried when I saw him. He took me to Bob Evans and made me want to live again.

Then I came home, patted Zoe, went to sleep, and started my SERVE week at church bright and early Monday morning. I've been on the go every waking hour since.

Sigh. And tomorra, is anotha day!


Queen B said...

I've seen those horrible runway stories on the news. I knew it was a good reason not to fly.

Glad you made it back in one, thirsty piece.

Susanne said...

Bwhahahaha. Okay, gotta wipe the tears from my eyes. No way. You really did not say that to the psuedo limo guy?! Oh my friend. What a way to end the conference.

And the wait in the plane? Crazy! Personally I would have like to have known what would have happened had you stood against the warden-matron and the warm sody pop option. Would have made another great airplane post. :v)

Barbara H. said...

How awful! I would feel so claustrophobic.

Mocha with Linda said...

Only you would this happen to. (Well, and the other 103 people on that plane!)

Maybe you should have gone with Limo Drive #1 instead. He might have driven you all the way to Muncie with that kind of opening!

I know it was no fun, but you sure make it sound hilarious after the fact.

Just don't ever fly American through Dallas. The end of the runway is their Plane Purgatory.

Krista said...

I am sorry your flight was so terrible! Selfishly though, I'm glad you had an entertaining story to write. lol. At the end of this week, you need to get some chocolate, a latte, and a pedicure and that will almost make it worthwhile! Have a blessed day!

annie's eyes said...

What a flight and end to a wild weekend! Good grief, maybe it was Behavior Modification Therapy to let you experience the stress and see you could live through it, even under the worst and hottest circumstances.
Once in Mexico, we were on a 12 hour train that took us 3 days, with all the paperwork and police reports, when we hit and killed two people who had fallen asleep (!) on the track. No ice, no a/c in the hot mountains of Mexico! I was 15 and they ran out of sodas so my mother let us drink beer! So then it was changed from awful to adventure. Is there any chance you reframed your fear of flying to say "Yeah, I can do anything. Once, I..."? Maybe not just yet. Sorry, Pollyanna will sign off now.

Anonymous said...

You need to be picked up?

I'm just crying...

Teri said...

Girl, that plane trip would have taxed the happiest of travelers...just the fact that you lived to write about it is a modern day miracle.

So...YOU DID IT! You did the whole stinkin thing girl. I am SO happy or you!

Cindy Swanson said...

Great story about the kid driving the car...I'm going to use it on the air!

Cyndy said...

Remember the days when the stewardess always served with a smile and flights were on time?

Yeah, well so much for that.

Anyway you have a very funny story to tell now and you are safe at home!

Carol said...

Oh my!!!! That is awful!

Robin said...

Oh Linda. Your story makes mine pale in comparison. You poor thing. I actually started getting that sick creepy feeling in my gut just READING your story.
So, do you have any upcoming trips planned? LOL

Lisa a.k.a. The Preacher's Wife said...

what would you have blogged about if the trip were uneventful? lol

btw - you have to email me with DETAILS, woman, DETAILS about your publisher meets!

Lisa a.k.a. The Preacher's Wife said...

I hate your flight was rough but WOW at the bloggy material it gave you! :)

And woman, I want DETAILS of your publisher meetings...Email me! :)))

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

OHMYGOSH! I would have needed a Xanax. Not kidding.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

You cracked me up with what you said the the man in the car. I'm sure your witty self could've "covered" it and made an additional sly remark.

I can't believe all the hassles that you endured. Who'da thunk the pilot had to get off and write a report for the two medical passengers exiting. Oh, the joys of flying. I don't mind flying but any flight in the air over three hours and I go stir crazy trying to find things to do: read a book, eat the few crumbs they provide, force myself to sleep, then readjust to get the crick out of my neck. At least that's one less book on your to-do list back at home.

I don't watch the news but I suspect down in these southern parts of Indiana we wouldn't hear about the young driver cruisin' the strip.

Chatty Kelly said...

I love your blog so much! I had a flight like that, only it was hailing outside (why we couldn't take off) and it sounded like we were being bombed or something "tink, tink,tink." No-one allowed off the plane, no snacks or drinks, nothing. Then after 3 hours, we miraculously had drinks (I am suspect of the honesty of the flight attendant) and she announced she would give us drinks! As all the passengers let out a cheer, the pilot announced we were about to take off, so sit down and no drinks. It was the most turbulant flight ever. But I survived. And I didn't ask any men if they were looking to pick up a woman, so bonus points for me. SMILE!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

Wow! I'd go hodo too, after all that!

Debbie said...

You survived AirSatan's trip from , well, you know, and lived to blog about it. I think you can handle about any trip now!!! So glad you're home safe and sound. I can't wait to hear all the details once your crazy, busy week is over.

Denise said...

What a story! Yikes...makes my 6 hour drive seem like a cake-walk! Glad you made it home - eventually!

Marina said...

Linda you made it through Parise God !!! at least you didn't have a night mare flight like I did in Puterto Vallarta when I through up the whole way back for 3 hours I wanted to die!marina

Michelle said...

Oh, how PERFECTLY HORRID for you!

I am glad you made it home in one piece.

I love to fly, but these days, it almost makes driving worth it. Almost.

PJ said...

Aiy Aiy!! How terrible. No wonder you don't like to fly. With an experience like that, it'll take a major miracle to get you near an airport again, much less on a plane.

I think this merits at least a quart of chocolate chunk ice cream!!! With hot fudge syrup!! Although, Bob Evans ain't half bad in terms of comfort food.

THopgood said...

Oh I would have died! I hate flying to begin with!

Amy L Brooke said...

Quite a story! You tell it well.

Thanks for stopping by. I do remember you, but there just seemed so little time to connect with so many people.... Sigh.

I'm going down off my She Speaks high. I am tired now and so glad tomorrow is Saturday. My cats may wake me up to be fed, but I think I'll spend most of the morning in bed!