We got up early(ish) and went down to smithsonian and went to the national gallery, putzed around, took pictures, and got vicious with the people who just couldn't stop being idiots around us. Fun stuff. Then we drove up to Baltimore for the airport.
I had a flight yesterday that was scheduled at 8:45. We got to the airport about 6:45 and discovered an *enormous* line in front of the US airways counters. Wonderful.
That took about 45 minutes to get through, what with idiots who'd already missed their flights, idiots who have their own first class windows deciding to just pop on over to the windows for the proliteriate and spend a *really* long time checking in there, and the generally pervasive slowness of most of the people behind the counter in conjunction with all the special questions of the people getting on the flights.
Keep in mind, the weather had been pretty bad all day long. Lots of thunderstorms all up and down the coast and tornado warnings and watches here and there as well. So the possibility of delays and cancellations was certainly a strong one.
We get through the line (becuase Karl is a sweet person who waited with me... he even pushed the luggage cart thingy) and get checked in, baggage taken care of, and go to find Karl some food, because he is in need of it. We find the only thing on the open side of the security checkpoint, a lil loungey bar thing, and sit down in there in front of the big screen basketball game and all the waiting people at the gate.
There is no food available from their menu except for premade sandwiches and chips and salsa.
So Karl get some chips and salsa and we watch this guy with a badly tucked in shirt and bulgy wallet ass stand looking hopeful with a bouquet that we were sure he got out of the flower vending machine (I'm not making that up, $10 for mixed bouquet including one gerbera daisy, $20 for red roses) just around the corner.
Boarding was supposed to start at 8:15, and the gates for the propjets are always *way* at the end of the concourse, so around 8 o'clock I said buh-bye, went through security, and got down there about 10 minutes later (becuase I stopped and bought a kitkat... it's a plane ride ritual for me. Return flights get kitkats) to find that there were 3 departing gates, two of which had delays and so the whole area was just packed. Not a place to sit, not even on the floor along the walls.
So I stood. Almost right in the middle of everything, but just far enough back that I didn't feel like an idiot.
At 8:45, my flight was delayed until 9:00. So I went and made a call letting my mom (who was going to be picking me up) know that it was going to be later than expected, and I would have called Karl (who I was supposed to call when I got back home) but my book with his number accidentally got left in my baggage that was already checked. Grr.
I went back to standing.
After awhile, this slimy, short, vaguely hispanic, very very heavily covered in Aspen guy stood way too close to me for way too long.
There was plenty of room all over the place for spread out, dejected and annoyed standing. Others were doing it and doing it well... all in their own little space. This guy was almost shoulder to shoulder with me.
He stood there for about 10 minutes or so, looking around a lot, shifting from one foot to another.
There was a good 6 feet on all sides of me (expect for the side he was on). He apparently decided to move away somehwere and walked behind me, *rubbing* past me, as if there were a tightly woven crowd, packing us in on all sides. So the little freak was just rubbing up against me. Grrr.
So he went away.
Then they bumped the flight to 9:30.
There were two flights headed to norfolk. The first was scheduled at 7:55 and had been delayed to 10:00 so far and then mine that was scheduled at 8:45 and had been delayed to 9:30.
The terminal workers had already announced that whatever flight went first, they would attempt to put everyone else on.
The flight to boston out of that area was officially cancelled, so a lot of those people went away and then the flight to canada finally took off, so there was finally a place to sit.
I called home again to tell my mom about the next delay and got my dad instead. Mom had already gone to the airport.
I got reprimanded for the weather ( I guess) and the issues with the plane (I guess) and the general situation (becuase it's my fault that... planes don't do well in big thunderstorms and sometimes they have to delay...) and that just pissed me off.
So now I was tired, sick feeling, annoyed at the whole situation, pissed at my dad, pissed at my life, annoyed that I couldn't remember Karl's number, really in need of a hug (the easy availability of which I think I got too used to), and I had to pee.
So I went into the bathroom and spent some time communing with the silvery stall reflections.
When I came back, the norfolk flight that wasn't mine was boarding and the one that was mine was boarding as welll.
Only two other people *hadn't* flip flopped planes.
My baggage was on this one... I figured I'd stick with this one...
But I have to say that with the bad weather and the fact that there were only three of us on a propjet.... I had a Richie Valens/Buddy Holley/Big Bopper vision. (and no, I wasn't the big bopper, fuckers).
We board. We taxi out. There is a horrible fucking noise wracking the whole plane every time they brake. The whole plane shudders.
They taxi out to the point where we should be accelerating and the pilot announces they're heading back to the gate because something is wrong.
This doesn't help the La Bamba visions.
We taxi back, sit in the plane for another 20 minutes or so while they get out and look at things with flashlights and make phone calls in the terminal and the stewardess repeats for the 30th time that she's been "doing this for 4 years" and she just "knew that that noise just wasn't right. nope. No sir. There was just something wrong with that noise. This has been the worst day."
The Pilot got back on the plane to tell us there was something wrong with the brakes. That it could be something as simple as water in the brake liner, or something much more serious, and it would take awhile for the mechanics to get there and find the problem (possibly as much as an hour), so we'd probably be more comfortable in the terminal. The male passenger with us replies "Well, I needed to take a dump anyway," as he unclasps his seatbelt.
So we get off the plane, go back in, and the freaky woman on the plane with me decides now is the perfect time to make friends with me. Asking about my book, and David Sedaris and NPR. And then telling me that she has a consulting presentation to make in the morning and by now the hotel shuttle has surely stopped running and occasionally interupting her own train of thought to complete a move in one of her Tai-chi-like relaxation exercises she kept taking off her shoes to do while we waited.
Did I mention she was dressed entirely in green?
Bright emerald green, head to toe, even socks and shoes.
I need to stand in a stall in the bathroom and commune with the silvery surface again. Just stand there and stare and try to not to kill. Or scream. Or do anything that might involve the phrase "blunt force head trauma."
I go back when I'm calm and they decide that, since there was some sort of "Massive mechanical foul up" on the part of the airport's mechanics... one that "absolutely needs to be reported because, damn that's a big foul up" (in the words of the mechanic for USair) that caused the perfectly functioning plane that had been landed with no problems to somehow develop a huge rip in one of the tires while just sitting around that wasn't detected in any pre-flight mechanical checks... they decide that the other, identical, fully functioning plane that's sitting around for the 6 am flight for La Guardia can be used instead.
So we're going to switch planes.
They start getting it fueled up, switch over the bags, start going through their pre-flight checks.. and are just waiting for the new "tail numbers" to be updated in the computer so they can get clearance to leave and the air-traffic people at norfolk will know how to track them and who the hell they are...
That takes another... fuck.. I have no idea how long I sat there with the old guy with the shits wandering around aimlessly and the green woman chatting at me and doing her goofy breathing exercises.
I fully expected her to get into the lotus position at some point and start chanting.
I've talked to the flight crew so much at this point that the stewardess asks me to hold onto her cell phone while she goes pee.
We finally get on the plane and go and it's such a laid back flight that the stewardess just stands up and says "anybody need anything?" from where she stands. "You want a drink, snack, blanket? anything? "
(total side note: don't ever wash down a kitkat with apple juice. It's a bad, bad idea. VERY BAD IDEA)
We get on the ground at Norfolk and leave the plane with the stewardess saying "have a good night... dammit I have SUCH a horrible headache, I need a new job... I really really HATE my job...." Apparently 5 or 6 other flights have gotten in at the same time, but these are all like... super 80 flights. BIG planes.
So it's a good half hour til I can get to my bag that I keep seeing go around and around and that I'm paranoid about getting fucked up becuase of the bottle of wine (it was a GIFT, I didn't STEAL IT) that's wrapped up in my shirts.
We get out to the car and get in, get home, I'm here for about 10 minutes when I go to call Karl and realize that it's 1 in the fucking morning.
I had stopped looking at my watch.
I had just given up on the concept of time. I had no idea it was that late.
Originally, my flight was supposed to get in around 9:45. It got in around 12:15 or so.
By the time I got home, it was all just funny to me. But at the time... I thought I was going to kill the green lady.
But it's okay.
I've got coffee.