Pass the salt and tequila

If it’s Wednesday, i’m in a fucking airport.  For the next few weeks, anyway.  This wasn’t one of those ‘hippy dippy happy’ road trips, but a gruelling slog of an airport decathlon, interspersed with ass-numbing meetings for relief.  Waking up around 3:00am on Tuesday, my butt was in the seat of a regional jet by 5:00am to get the day started.

Even worse?  i had to work yesterday at one of the meetings!  The horror!  They expect me to travel AND work?

After my meeting, i abandoned my brief delusions of snagging a seat on the early flight.  i settled into the airport seafood restaurant, snarfing down some crab cakes* and beer.  There at 5:00 pm for a 7:30 pm flight. 

Eventually connected with my work-mates waiting patiently at the gate.  Which is about the time the “Flight Delay Tote Board” started rolling… First it was to be 8:30pm departure, then 9:10pm.  We were told there was no plane, so one was being ferried in from another city. 

i was sorting options – flight to C-town?  Taxi to another airport and catch their last flight out?  These were time-critical decisions, and i had a team of folks with me.  When we were finally told at 9:00pm that the “ferry” flight was in the air, and we’d be departing at 10:30pm, i gave myself over to the fates, and went back to farting around on my computer…

As you can guess, it was shortly after the time when we were completely out of options that the airline announced the cancellation.  Fuck.  On the bright side?  When it’s mechanical, they put you up on a hotel.  So i made my way to the bar as the line for re-accommodation at the gate was at least 22 ounces long…

While in the bar i met a rather gorgeous man another traveler who was doing the exact same thing.  Steve said he figured he’d drink until the line was gone, and we toasted to our cleverness.  By the time we finished and went to the gate, my travel buddies were packing up for their hotel – which was now full.  So i was accommodated at a nicer place nearby!  As was Steve.**

Hooking the hotel shuttle bus, there were two young women also stranded – and they were expressing concerns about the logistics of this “hotel voucher” thing.  i assured them that they had lucked out into this particular hotel, as they would be greeted with warm chocolate chip cookies upon arrival, and a nicer lobby bar. 

When we checked in, i talked the desk clerk into giving the gals extra cookies, and told them to meet me in the bar for the first round.  i’d scammed my way into meal vouchers from the airline, but they hadn’t. So i owed them at least a beer…

Settling into the bar, i made friends with two other stranded travelers when they saw me trying to talk the bartender into taking my airline meal vouchers to pay for beer.  Tim and Kevin were from my hometown, and also killing time while trying to get home.  Joined shortly afterwards by Nicole (one of the “young ‘uns”), then Jenni, who at 28 years old was flying for only the third time in her life.  Steve figured out which bar we were in and joined us…

From there?  About three hours of getting to know strangers, finding out we knew some of the same folks (Steve went to high school with Tim’s brother), and pounding through a few beers.  By 11:00pm?  Tim has me “drunk dialing” his brother Gary in Detroit, i’m passing along the name of a great gynecologist to Nicole, we’re all swapping business cards, and the bartender is wondering if he’s ever going to get to go home…

Once we were kicked out called it a night, we agreed to meet up in the hotel lobby between 6:30am and 6:45am to catch the hotel shuttle to the airport.  i promised “No man left behind!” to the gals, complete with pinky swear and a lot of giggles. 

At 6:35am, Nicole and i saw Kevin and Tim heading to the airport, but waited for Jenni.  Who didn’t show up.  We convinced the lady at the front desk to ring her room – with only her first name, that she was on the 10th floor, and was one of the stranded airline travelers.  The clerk assured us that Jenni would be down in 5 minutes. 

When Jenni was a no-show at 7:00am, i sent Nicole on to the airport since she had to check a bag.  i finally gave up on Jenni and caught the 7:15am shuttle – figured there was nothing more i could do…

Re-connecting with my work-mates at the crowded airport, i did a quick scan through the seating area to see if everyone had made it.  There were Kevin and Tim.  Smiled, waved, and i mouthed “How’s Gary this morning?”.  Just as we were about to board, i heard Jenni’s voice – directly behind me!  She’d misunderstood our parting discussion*** and hopped the shuttle at 6:30am – figuring that we’d already left! 

Steve was with her, coaching her on the skills required to catch a plane at the commuter gates.  They told me that Nicole had been afraid i was still at the hotel, and was off looking for me!  Waved to her as we were boarding, and she heaved a visible sigh of relief.  Landing at the home airport, we said our goodbyes and good lucks, and went our separate ways…

Stuck at an airport.  Hustled off to a rented bed for the night.  A pack of complete strangers shares one of those nice, transient “crisis/hostage” bonds – and makes a crappy situation into something downright pleasant.  And then scatters off into the ether – a little better for it…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* At this point, me eating crab cakes was marginally cannibalistic…

** Didn’t i see this in a bad porn flick once?

*** Alcohol *may* have been a factor…

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34 thoughts on “Pass the salt and tequila

  1. the only thing better than this is voluntarily getting bumped, getting cash and a travel voucher! LOL seriously,i learned a long time ago the minute you step out of your parked car/transport to the airport, you have to relax and surrender to the flow. it’s the only way to travel without slitting your own wrists or those of the person next to you. :~D xoxoxo

    • good point! turning it into free airfare would have been like being in travel heaven! bonus? by the time my flight landed, they were already sending folks home from work because of snow, so i went home and slept for 3 hours! awesome to the power of woo-hoo!

  2. That is so awesome! You made a potential torture treatment situation into a fun, social gathering. Next time I get stranded in an airport, I hope there’s a daisyfae there. I fear you’re one of a kind!

    • they were a fun crew – and Jenni was really freaking out when we first got on that hotel shuttle bus. felt good to pay-it-forward a little bit with her… not one of a kind. dime a dozen, methinks! but thanks!

  3. It’s always awesome to see people making the best of a shitty situation.

    The fact that this comes so easily to you does not surprise me one bit, Miss Daisy Fae.

    • when it’s weather delays and EVERYBODY is stuck? it’s far more “every man for himself” in the crisis. but when it’s the cameraderie of one cancelled flight? seems to work out better…

    • There’s a Gordon Biersch brew pub at the DC airport. Garlic fries and pilsner. i’ve had FAR worse meals… when i’m stuck, or cranky, i sit and add up the frequent flier miles and plan my next holiday. while drinking beer and reeking of garlic.

  4. Well that debacle ended quite splendidly, didn’t it.
    Nice to hear/know that there are still some really awesome people out there; but you knew we already knew that about you!

    • life is truly what you make it. i could have easily just gone to my room, watched bad tv, and called it a night… but did i mention that Steve was really gorgeous?

    • ideally, i’d like a little less of this sort of adventure… and there are days i really want to just change the light bulbs and set up the chairs for the meetings… but mostly, i know i lucked out into a professional lifestyle that suits me.

  5. bloody hell, for a minute I thought I was reading a Penthouse letter : I never thought this would happen to me but while waiting for a flight I met this girl……
    Hope all turned out well.
    Cheers, Sausage…

    • it took me a full three hours after i got home to realize that Steve just might have made a pass at me when we deplaned at our home airport… sometimes i’m really dense. especially when the guy is gorgeous…. so, alas, no letters to Penthouse.

  6. Finding out my flight has been cancelled is up there on my list of nightmares, just above hearing that my mother is staying the weekend.

    Well done for having a good time!

  7. This reminds me of the time my flight from Da Nang to Hanoi was cancelled. The staff were SO delightfully apologetic, we scored a comfortable hotel for four hours in the middle of the day, meal and drink vouchers and an envelope with half our airfare refunded IN CASH for putting us to such an inconvenience. If you’re going to get bumped try to do it in Da Nang

    • WOW! i had to show some cleavage to get $15 in meal vouchers from the airline! and you remember how much help we got in Mytilene when the flight was cancelled… Da Nang it is!

    • oh, i do my fair share of the scowling and stewing and text-ranting to sympathetic friends… this time, i think i was just glad that i would have a damn bed, instead of sleeping on a hard, odorific carpet covered in dubious layers of nasty crunchy things…

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