Road trip U.S.A 2011 is officially underway! Alas, not without its issues. I scheduled my flight to leave at5:30 a.m.fromBoston, thinking it would be great to get toSan Diegoin the morning and have a whole day there. Running on two hours of sleep, I took a groggy shower and thanked the universe for make-up. Except this morning the universe did not provide, or, more accurately, my forgetfulness foiled me again and I could not find my make-up in the bag I swore I packed it in. On a side note, this happens to me often. Misplacing things, that is. Sometimes I blame it on A.D.D. Sometimes I blame it on being over-busy. Sometimes I think that a greater being is either trying to use these moments to teach me something, or gets a kick out of being sadistic. In my most irrational moments, I think that elves/gnomes/pygmy people from the Underworld (one can insert any fictitious being here) follow me around and mess with me just to be assholes. But I digress. The point is, on this particular morning, my face is a hot mess, especially so because the past few weeks I’ve been lazy about plucking my eyebrows and so my usually distinct and separate two brows are creeping in towards my third eye, determined to meet in the middle and morph me into Bert from Sesame Street. Ugh. I either have to accept that for an entire month I won’t be able to hide on the days that I feel less than 100%, or I have to shell out money for things I already own, in the name of vanity. I dislike that I am probably going to choose option number two, but conditioning is hard to escape.
That’s not really what botched up the beginning of this trip, though. It’s the fact that I’ve been staring out the window at a drearyPhiladelphiafor four hours, yearning for the sun ofCalifornia. My5:30flight took off on time, though not before the woman checking me in forced me to check my carry-on, which I had carefully packed in case my checked bag got lost. Now I am left with nothing except a sinking feeling that I’ll have to survive with only the clothes on my back when I get toSan Diego. I avoid checking bags like the plague. I have no trust in airlines to get my shit from point A to point B. I am further discouraged by the conversation I had with my father a couple days ago, when he told me that the two times he flew throughPhiladelphia, they lost his luggage. At least I have a toothbrush in my purse.
In addition to avoiding checking my bags, I also generally try to avoid long layovers, so I booked this particular flight because the 45 minute gap between flight one and flight two was appealing to me. As per usual, my time management skills suck to the nth degree (I sense this turning into a self-deprecating blog), and U.S. Airways dumped me here in Philly with a few minutes to get to my connecting flight. I’ve never run so fast in heeled boots, with bags bouncing off my hips threatening to take out any passenger who got in my way. I arrived just in time to board and through wheezy breaths asked the flight attendant if she thought my bags would make it on to the flight. She assured me they would. I don’t doubt she was right as they had three hours to transfer bags while we sat on the plane, waiting for a take-off that never came. Apparently the brakes on the plane were broken. Not comforting news.
When they finally released us from the aircraft, I followed a mob of people to the counter to try and get a new flight. I was feeling sorry for myself until I heard a deathly ill woman on the phone talking about how her flights got messed up and that this was the second night she may have to spend inPhiladelphia. Through sneezes and sobs, she pleaded with the woman behind the counter. My own situation and sniffly nose paled in comparison. I started to feel some anger toward the airline people. I knew even as I felt it that it was misdirected but I went with it anyway. The feeling quickly subsided when I got my turn at the counter. The woman was quite friendly, even though she was supposed to have finished work two hours before. It was a nice reminder that when shitty things happen it’s usually pointless to find someone to blame. We’re all in this together. It felt that way too, standing in a crowd of people either trying to get their needs met or trying to meet others’ needs. Despite the disappointment I’m sure most people were feeling, the majority of the passengers and the airline staff remained very kind. A few people looked close to tears, but no one so much as raised their voice.
I was told that the next flight available wouldn’t leave for 6 hours, and would put me in San Diego14 hours behind schedule. I asked to be put on standby, though I had little hope that I would make it onto the flight, as I was one of the last people to be put on the list. When I checked in I was told I was 27th in line, and I resolved myself to the fact that I would be getting cozy in Philly for a while. With every name that was called I wished hard that it would be mine, and by some miracle it happened. I even got an aisle seat.
So now I’m sitting inPhoenix, in the home stretch. There’s a picturesque mountain scene when I look out the airport windows. It makes me want to come back here. Too bad we’re not headed this way on our road trip. Although maybe that’s ok, because it’s currently a balmy 106 degrees (one hundred and six!!) I am fairly certain this is the hottest natural environment I have ever been in. I’ve been craving yoga after a full day of sitting and if I go outside I could have a nice session of Bikram.
The time has come to board though, so it’s time to sign off. The last leg has begun! I pray my luggage hasn’t had as bumpy a day as I have…