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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Friday, June 03, 2005
Traveling and the $25 Beer
Author's note: I swear that everything depicted here actually happened. This is a post I wrote before I had the blog. A year ago last weekend, I went to visit friends in the Boston area. This is the saga of that unfortunate travel adventure.
*******************************************************************************
Linda's original weekend itinerary:

Friday:

3:15 leave Baltimore

4:30 arrive Boston: S. To pick me up and take me to their fabulous summer house in Gloucester with J. For a fun filled weekend of exploring, hanging out, gabbing, dining, and antiquing. I haven't seen them since they moved from Bolton Hill back to Conneticut.

Sunday:

S. To drop me off in Boston on his way to Conneticut for work on Monday. J. To stay behind at the Gloucester house to finish a design project.

5:15 leave Boston:

7:00 arrive Baltimore

****************************************************
Linda's actual itinerary:

Friday:

3:15 leave Baltimore

4:30 arrive Boston: S. Picks me up and takes me to their fabulous summer house in Gloucester with J. For a fun filled weekend of exploring, dining, gabbing and antiquing. There was a glorious sunset "Happy Hour" on the beach at the Annisquam lighthouse, followed by a lovely dinner with friends in Gloucester. At about 11:00, the weather goes all "Perfect Storm" on us for the remainder of the weekend. Thunder, lightning, downpours and torrential rains. We talked a lot, read old / new Vanity Fairs and newspapers and went to lots of antique and old book stores in Rockport and Essex. Saturday evening we sat around after dinner and bashed the Bush administration, while answering life's questions and solving the world's problems over many glasses of wine. The high temp for the weekend was 48.

Sunday:

S. Drops me off at Logan at 3:00 on his way to CT for work on Monday. Very sad to say good bye - will miss them.

5:15 - Original flight was cancelled due to the bad weather. No seats on this flight. Two more flights that evening to try and get on. I am now officially "standby".

7:15 - Full flight. It's only now that I realize that every single college in the Boston metro area (and there are literally dozens) had graduation ceremonies this weekend, and all flights out of Boston to just about anywhere are overbooked with college students and their families. I locate the airport Houlihan's and have a stale sandwich and a beer for a mere $25 while waiting for the last chance out that night.

8:30 - Full flight. Last chance out now gone. Make a guilty phone call to J. and ask him to pick me up in Peabody at the bus shuttle and take me back to Gloucester for the night. The Airline people tell me not to try flying out till the 1:00 PM flight Monday since all morning flights are already overbooked.

10:00 - Arrive back in Gloucester at the "Little House" with J. after a stop at Walgreen's for essentials since my luggage went on ahead to Baltimore without me. How efficient of them!

10:15 - Down a stiff vodka tonic(s).

11:00 - Send e-mail / voice mails to office telling them I would not be in till early afternoon. Cancel all appointments before 3:00.

Borrow T-shirt from J. to sleep in and wash yesterday's clothes.

Monday:

Make due with Walgreen's overnight items. Saving grace - gay men have exceptionally good bath and hair care products - actually much better than I am used to, so I had plenty of wonderful, nice smelling things to choose from. Looked, felt and smelled a lot better than if I had spent the night in the airport lounge or hotel.

10:30 - Leave once again for airport shuttle at Peabody, but very glad to have spent some more time with J. Will miss them terribly.

12:00 - Arrive Logan for 1:00 flight. Discover I am #21 on standby for a flight with 7 empty seats.

12:01 - Too early for stiff vodka tonic.

1:00 - Airline guarantees me a seat on the 9:05 PM flight that evening. I try to subdue my enthusiasm at this boundless good news.

1:15 - Airline graciously offers to fly me to their hub in Atlanta where I can then "standby" for flights back to Baltimore. Theory being - more flights. Reality being - I'd still get home at 11:00 PM.

1:30 - Decide to have lunch and weigh my options. Exceptionally bad Chicken Caesar Salad and a beer for $25 (why does everything cost $25??? I sense Right Wingers are behind it all). Call Andrew on the cell and have him act as my long distance travel agent on the internet to evaluate options:

Option #1: Take the "T" downtown and shop / sightsee. Make a day of it!! Carpe diem!! Downside - Perfect Storm still howling outside. Umbrella is in luggage, luggage is in Baltimore. New umbrella costs $25 - ( see what I mean???)

Option #2 - Buy a one way ticket on another airline.
Downside - Cheapest ticket is $370 one way and still only gets me home 2 hours earlier.

Option #3 - Rent a car and drive / take the train
Downside - Still arrive at about the same time plus the cost and hassle.

Option #4 - Take a one hour shuttle bus to Providence Airport and get a seat on a Southwest Airlines flight to BWI!! Be home for dinner!

3:30 - Board shuttle bus ($20) to Providence. ETA 4:30. Book a ticket on flight leaving at 5:20 ($80). Woman across the aisle from me is still landing from a trip - and it wasn't a plane ride. Strange noises, smells and sudden movements emanate from her. I fall asleep on bus (priceless).

4:30 - Awake to see the Boston skyline (??). Not Happy. Not Happy in the extreme. We are dead in rush hour traffic trying to get past a car-BQ on I-95 just past the Big Dig. Call airline and change flight to 6:15.

5:30 - Finally arrive at Satan's bus depot outside of Hades / Providence (actually closer to Pawtucket and still 30 minutes from the airport). Discover that a taxi will cost $40, but there is yet another bus that will take me to the airport itself for $8 - at 6:00. Call and reschedule flight for the third time to 7:05.

7:00 - Running through airport ala that guy that got off on murder charges because...(oh - you know who I mean - don't get me started) to make flight. Last one on board, get seat in the back of the plane. Excitedly call J., S. and Andrew to tell them I am finally on an actual plane heading south!!!!

7:25 - Pull away from terminal

7:45 - Pilot informs us that there is heavy air traffic due to weather and we are waiting.

8:00 - Pilot turns off the seat belt sign, idles engine and asks us to be patient by offering a round of drinks. Luckily I am sitting in the back next to the galley and quickly make friends with the cute boy airline attendant who fixes me up with all the little bottles of booze that I want, but which will never be enough to erase this day from my life.

9:00 - All southbound flights on the Eastern Seaboard are delayed indefinitely due to weather and we return to the gate and deplane. All food service and bars are closed. The little bottles are empty :-(

Cell phone now dead from killing time by calling friends all day and using all excess free minutes. Charger in luggage. Luggage in Baltimore. Cry.

11:15 - Reboard plane!!!!

11:45 - Take off!!!!

12:50 - Arrive BWI. Find luggage that arrived yesterday in Air Tran office (which is at the EXACT opposite end of the airport from Southwest baggage).

1:15 - Board shuttle bus to extended parking.

1:25 - Car is parked next to wooded area under large parking lot light and is covered in cicadas, as is the ground around car. Crunch through cicadas and brush them off car as they land in hair and on clothes. Large ICK factor, and am near tears from exhaustion.

1:50 - Arrive home

2:00 am - 47 hours after I started trying to come home - I get to bed. Fall asleep with clothes on.

Resolution #1: I will never again wear the shirt I had on yesterday.

Resolution #2: As Scarlett O'Hara would say "as God is my witness - I will never fly standby again!"
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:02 PM  
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