There are forces conspiring against me leaving Alabama without drama. Today was the worst of all....& I thought I'd had it bad enough already.
The day started off well enough. I decided to make things easier on my uncle AND get to see the adorably handsome circlek at the B'ham Airport, & get there early. My sister's flight left at 9:45AM, & my flight left at 12:55PM. I thought it would be silly for Bobby to drop her off, come back for 2-3 hours, & then drop me off. AND by getting there early, I got to meet circlek, as I said. Here's a pic of me with circlek, & yes, I really do look as sick as I feel.
I sat with Kathy for a while, until she had to go through security. About 45 minutes to an hour later, circlek showed up. I recognized him right away, & it was soooo nice to finally meet him. What a cutie! He was far too complimentary to me in his journal. I thought I looked like hell warmed over, since I have been really sick since Xmas day. At this point, I was still running a temp, still sniffling, still had red eyes, & was therefore flying with my glasses on. Somehow, the crazy fool managed to still find me "cute." *scratching head* Anyway, it was so nice talking with him. We got along quickly & easily, as if we had known each other for years. I wish I had more time to spend with him. Maybe he can come to my lakehouse this September. :-)
I finally hugged circlek goodbye, & headed through security. It soon became obvious that the plane was delayed. They finally made an announcement that there was a mechanical problem, & a mechanic was on his way to check the plane out before we left. Gee, that's always what you want to hear before you board your plane....mechanical problems.
At 2:30, they CANCELED my flight. They said our luggage was waiting for us at the ticket counter, & we needed to claim our luggage & then get in line to get a different flight. Because I actually FOLLOWED the fucking instructions, I ended up being near the end of the line. Everyone else either got in line & dealt with their luggage later, or were traveling in groups, & while one person waited in line, the other got the luggage. But I had to find my big suitcase & a little bag (I always have more coming home than going), & then lift the big one out over everyone else's (some nice man helped me)....then got near the end of the damn line. *sigh*
It took 2 1/2 hours to get up to the ticket counter to get assigned a new flight. You read that right. 2.5 hours. Just to get to the counter. Against my better judgment, I called Momme Dot to let her know what was going on, in case I needed somebody to come back & get me. She flipped out, as expected. About 2 hours into my wait, I hear my name called over the intercom system, beckoning me to a "white courtesy phone." There was no such thing around me, so I just stayed in line...and then a ticket agent started calling for me. I walked to the counter, they passed me the phone....& it was Momme Dot just wanting to know what was going on! I had told her I would call her as soon as I knew something! Sheesh! I told her I had to get back in line with my luggage. Towards the end of the wait in line, I started talking to the nice girl in front of me, & one of the security dudes.
I get to the counter, they look up my trip....and tell me they can get me on a flight that gets me into Burbank around 8PM TOMORROW night (Sunday night). Ummmmmm...that didn't work for me. I have to work on Monday, & since I am really sick, I wanted a damn day to recuperate. I said I would take something into LAX (which I normally avoid like the plague) if they could transport me by ground to Burbank Airport. They said that they could give me a travel voucher, just find an American Airlines supervisor. They found a flight getting me into LAX after 11PM. I said, "SOLD!"
So now I was booked on Northwest Airlines to Memphis, changing planes, & then on to LAX. Since my flight didn't leave until 7PM (it was just around 5PM), I decided to grab some McD's, & just chill for a while. I called Kathy, & she was already back home & couldn't believe the drama. When I walked through the security checkpoint again, the security dude I had talked to earlier was there, & referred to me as "an old friend." :-) The Memphis to LAX leg was looooong (anything over 2 hours on a plane is long to me, & this was just under 4 hours). The bonehead next to me held up the plane from his connecting flight...no biggie, but in his "rush" to the plane, he stopped by McDonald's & got dinner, which he ate right next to me. I finally fell asleep (uncomfortably) for the last 2 hours or so of the flight, mercifully.
I arrive into LAX Airport. I wait 10 feet away from Scott Hamilton (the amazing figure skater) & his wife at baggage claim. I keep wondering why he keeps looking at me...and then I realize I am wearing the beret from the recent winter Olympics, & he was probably wondering if I was there. I didn't want to bother him, but he seemed really nice when another fan approached him. Anyway...it was a while before the luggage was spit out. Mine, again mercifully, came out fairly quickly, both pieces. I spent $3.00 on one of those luggage carts, which ended up being a great idea. I loaded up my bags, & took the elevator up to find the American ticket counter, to find a supervisor. Went the wrong way, asked directions, & was sent back down the hall the other way. I finally found the American counter, but it closed at 10PM (it was about 11:45PM). After roaming the halls for a while, not knowing what to do, I finally got out my ticket & called the 1-800 number for American Airlines. After some automated rigmarole, I reached an agent. I immediately asked for a supervisor. She asked if there was something she could do to help me. I said, "It's a really long story, & I was told to ask for a supervisor, so if you don't mind...." She transfered me over, & a very nice guy named Alex came on the line. I told him my sob story, & he told me that absolutely they would give me a travel voucher to Burbank Airport (where I would then take a taxi to my house). He talked to LAX, & made arrangements for me, & told me I needed to go to Terminal 4, where there was an American counter open til 12:30 (it was now about midnight). I was at Terminal 2. I ended up going the wrong direction, & ended up at Terminal 1. Oh joy. Alex put me on hold to talk to LAX again to find out where exactly I needed to go, & I finally found a human being to ask which way to Terminal 4. So I was headed the right way, finally. Alex came back on & told me to look for a guy named Erik & that he would stay on the phone with me until I got there. That was nice, cause it was late, I was sick & tired, & annoyed by this point (I frankly don't know how I didn't explode by this point). I don't even remember what I was babbling at this point (I had been up since 7AM CST), but he kept laughing, so I said, "Hey, at least I am entertaining." I finally got to Terminal 4 (if you don't know, LAX is a HUGE airport & very expansive, so Terminal 4 was quite a ways by foot from Terminal 1!), & got off the phone with Alex, thanking him for his kindness. I found Erik right away. He spotted me first, & said, "Did you come from Terminal 2?" I saw on his nametag that he was the guy I needed (he was the first guy I happened to approach). He was also really nice. He looked at my ticket, & said, "Ummmm...do I even want to know what you have been through today?" I told him. He said, "Would you like the Customer Care address?" I said I sure would. He gave me my voucher & told me if I ever needed help again, to come to him....I didn't need to ever wait in line, he would help me (not real useful, since I never travel through LAX). Nice guy. I took out my AFLAC duck (a Xmas gift from my bro, chappell), & said to him, "I have one last thing to say....the duck says, "AFLAC....AFLAC....." & then SCREAMS "AFLAC!!!!", just like the commercial. Erik starts cracking up, & I say, "On that note, I bid you adieu, kind sir." Off I go to find the elevator.
So I get out to the island to wait for the Super Shuttle. It's cold & rainy here in LA....it seemed to be colder than I left 'bama! I had to sit & wait for a while with the Super Shuttle employee, but at least she was nice. The Super Shuttle finally gets there. He looks at my voucher & says he can only take me to Burbank Airport, not to my house. By this point, I am too tired to argue, so I say that's fine, I'll get a taxi when I get there. He PASSES my house to get to Burbank Airport....& drops me off at the closed, dead Burbank Airport. There is no one there but some employees & some cops. No passengers. No taxis. No nuttin'. It's 1:30AM (3:30 on the time zone I was still technically on). It's FREEZING & wet. I waited a few minutes, & then decided to call the cab company. At first, they tell me they don't dispatch cabs to the airport, that there are taxis waiting on the curb. I'm like, "Lady, it's 1:30 in the morning, I have been here for a few minutes, I am the only person around this place, & there certainly are not any taxis." She says she will dispatch one. Here's a picture of the desolate Burbank Airport.
2AM comes along....I am still sitting, alone, freezing, with a bad cold, on a cold bench. I call the cab company back to get an ETA, & he tells me 5-10 minutes. Finally, around 2:15AM, a cab pulls up. I wave at him, walk to the bench to get my bags, & when I turn around, he's gone. He just drove past me & off! I call the dispatcher back, & tell her I am waiting at the Burbank Airport. She says, "We don't dispatch to the Burbank Airport. There are taxis waiting there." I said, "Look, I called 45 minutes ago & got that same story. I have been here since 1:30, & there has not been one single cab, the airport appears to be closed. It's wet & cold, & 45 minutes ago, your company said they were dispatching someone for me, & a cab just passed me by." Instantly apologetic, she says, "Well, that's not cute. Hang on one moment." She comes back & says, "He did pass you up, & picked up someone else, but they will send him back." I said, "I don't know how he managed to miss me, I look like an Eskimo." I described what I was wearing, so they could recognize me (as if standing next to the curb under the "TAXI" sign wasn't enough). Here's a picture of me waiting on the curb....how could you miss this (I was standing RIGHT on the curb, not standing back from it)?
5 minutes later or so, a taxi bus pulled up. I jumped in. I told him where I lived & he didn't even bother to run the meter. I directed him how to get to my house, just overjoyed to finally be going there. When we got to my house, I asked him how much, & he said, "I don't know, just like maybe $5-6 dollars." I gave him a $10 bill & told him to keep the change....happy new year. I dragged my heavy luggage to my doorstep, unlocked the door, got the mail, & fell inside.
I wanted to make this post while the adventure was still fresh.
Truly unbelievable. I am just ever so grateful to be home. It was a major comedy of errors. I think I have pneumonia now. It was freezing on that curb....& I am just now starting to get sleep. I was working on pure adrenaline, but I am not sure where it was coming from.
Goodnight. If I missed anything important in LJ land, please point me in that direction with a link. Much obliged. (I will never catch up.)