Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On the perils of getting from Point A to Point B

Recently, a friend invited me to visit her in North Carolina. I assumed, from the placement on the map, that this place is in "the south". Having never been in "the south", I decided to go. I practiced my "ya'lls" and "yes ma'ems" in the mirror, making sure to seem earnest in my efforts. I chose clothing that would help me "blend in" with the locals (no black t-shirts bearing statements such as "SF Peace Lover"), though I DID NOT lower myself to purchasing sandals or flip flops. PLEASE. Dignity at all costs.

A simple plan was hatched. Book airline ticket, get there, enjoy visit, take airline back home. Not so fast! I made it out of SF with only a one hour delay. I KNOW! Shockingly good!
SFO TO RALEIGH -off to other lands
While flying over "those other states" - I took great delight in watching severe thunderstorms surrounding the plane. Having grown up in a "2 strikes and then it's over" location, I was really enjoying the constant action mother nature was supplying:
This was until I heard the captain announce we were about to land in SOUTH Carolina for re-fueling. Now I know that states back east are smaller, but I also know that my destination had a NORTH in the state title.
The very same thunderstorms that I was enjoying were about to turn my trip into a hellacious event. Quick summation:

- Re-fueled in South Carolina for over an hour
- Missed all our connecting flights from Charlotte airport to Raleigh (mine) and Orlando (others)
- Those were the last flights of the night
- Airport security kicked us out into the baggage/pick up area
- It was 11:30 at night
- The bathrooms were closed due to renovation's the best part...
- there were no hotel rooms in Charlotte due to Sarah Palin and the NRA Convention in town.

The desperate masses (about 150 of us) that had crowded the "special services" airline desk were now all scoping out spots on the floor, where, to my absolute shock and horror, people began to simply give up the fight, lay down on the airport floor and go to sleep. I, on the other hand, had desperately called my friend in Raleigh, and she was on the road to get me. It would take her 4 hours. Driving in thunderstorms. At night. To a strange location. To get me. God love her!
In the meantime, I enjoyed the following sight:

My floor mates were quite diverse, from a middle aged, iPad using father with his teenage iPod using daughter, to a loudly snoring young man who thrashed about like a dog in his sleep. I watched old men curl up on the floor and sleep soundly, young men pace the hall for hours in a zombie like trance, and people attempting to stave off boredom by re-reading some damn article about some damn celebrity with some damn issue.

I was rescued around 4:15 am. Yes, I saw the jealously in the other victim's eyes as I gathered up the sad remains of my magazines and untouched water bottle ( bathrooms!) and practically ran to her car.

RALEIGH TO SFO - the return trip
One of the mantras I subscribe to when flying is "never check your baggage". I had successfully eluded this on the hellacious trip in to NC. I had made sure I was in Zone 2 seats for the trip back to avoid it. Now, as I stepped onto the plane in Raleigh for the one hour flight to Charlotte, I heard the dreaded words slip from the flight attendant's lips like lemon juice on an open wound ..."Stop - from her on back - check the bags". I quickly snatched all electronics from the suitcase, and gave final destination info to the guy who was tagging the bags. "SFO" I said, then watched as he wrote the wrong flight number on my tag. This is how bags end up in Stockholm as you land in SFO.
After slapping him severely about the face (OK, meekly pointing out his error), I was on board and in Charlotte in no time. Despite the rain, thunder and lightening outside the window, I had high hopes we'd be on our way to SFO soon enough:
We sat for THREE HOURS on the runway. Across from me, an infant wailed uncontrollably, representing how we all felt about being made to remain in ONE POSITION for three hours, with 5 more to go once in the air. Under cover of thunder and rain, we finally took off for SFO:

Bored already from hours of airport non stimulation - I took some video of the incredible thunderheads we were flying through:
Next Blog: North Carolina in all it's glory! The Biltmore! The green trees and mountains! Ashville and shopping! The thunder and lightning! Houses with land around them! Frogs! Birds! And much more!

1 comment:

The Swamp Fox said...

What? No video of the snoring young man thrashing like a dog in his sleep? Fail. Go back.