You win

January 28, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Posted in Travel | 2 Comments
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I fear I have offended thee, Travel gods. I worry that I have incurred your wrath and am now forced to suffer through life as a travel casualty, and I believe I know what it is you may be upset about.

I think that I may have committed the sin of pride against you.

I have long considered myself a professional traveler. I make one day trips to and from distant locations. I always have my shoes off in time, and I never, ever set off the metal detector. I self-select into the expert check-in lane at airports, and I scoff at the common travel folk as they fumble around with the giant oversized dog bowls and tupperware bins. 

My confidence was such that I packed for my 6 am flight somewhere around midnight of the previous day with nary a care in the world. I did not make a list. I did not check it twice. I may have even whistled.

This clearly upset you, Travel gods, and so you decided to play a little joke on me. You allowed me to check myself in at the self-service kiosk as a different person. As a young female coworker, actually, whose ticket I had purchased the same time as mine on our corporate card. This greatly confused the man at the gate entrance, as my driver’s license does not list me as a twenty-something female. We had a fine chuckle and I returned to the desk to check in again, this time as a thirty-something man. 

All was well. I thought.

wsgIn my overconfidence the night before, I had quickly packed, in my carry-on, my toiletries bag. Apparently while I slept, you wily Travel gods swapped out my carry-on toiletries for my check-bag toiletries. Which is why I found myself pulled to the side of the security gate trying to explain to security that, yes, I was aware that there was a 4 ounce limit to carry-on liquids, and, yes, I saw that the toothpaste was 4.6 ounces. And the Listerine. And the hair gel. And the shaving cream. I was now, at 6am, the peak of business travel, that guy.

And so I boarded my plane, a bit red faced, a touch embarrassed. I completed a rather uneventful flight to Raleigh and ventured forth to pick up my rental car from Hertz. A shiny new Crown Victoria. This car, Travel gods, is a very, very large car. A car that a very averaged sized man might look a bit silly driving. But I soldiered on through the day, to my meeting where the conference room had no internet access, flip-boards, or markers, to the Walgreens to pick up new toiletries, and then back to my hotel to catch up on e-mails and get some rest. Where I discovered, dressed in my PJ’s and ready for bed, that my toothbrush holder did not contain a toothbrush.

This, Travel gods, was a good one.

I cannot even fathom where this toothbrush must have gone. It never leaves this toothbrush holder. Ever. Yet here I stood at midnight in the Hampton Inn forced to ask the nice lady at the front desk, politely, if I could use a hotel toothbrush that had less in common with the cleaning of teeth and more in common with the scrubbing of grout.

logoI awoke the next morning to shower and head to my meeting. I abhor ironing, and as I always travel with a garment bag (and thus all of my clothes are on hangers when I arrive), I usually just hang my shirts in the bathroom while I shower and allow the steam to get the wrinkles out. It’s very efficient. When you bring your garment bag and your own hangers. Not when you fold your shirts in your carry-on and hang them on the Hampton Inn stock hangers. Because, you see, the good people at the Hampton Inn fear that you may attempt to steal their hangers, so when you remove them from the closet the hanger part stays in the closet. Very effective for preventing hanger theft. Not very effective for allowing me to hang my shirts at the end of the shower.

I must admit that after spending ten minutes rigging the hanger to stay in place at the end of the shower rod with a combination of a large towel and dental floss, I did not find it amusing when you made my shirt, my only shirt, fall into the running water of the shower.

Later that day, when you again had me walk through airport security and forget that I had too large a container of gel in my carry-on luggage, I failed to see the humor in that situation either. I get it. You are mad at me. I am now the security checkpoint jackass twice in two days. Yes, I am aware that is larger than 4 ounces. Yes, I understand that 4 ounces is the limit, ma’am.

And then, Travel gods, you cancelled my flight home due to snow and freezing rain, forcing me to shuffle across terminals and wait on hold for an interminable amount of time with a ridiculous cast of characters before negotiating passage (at no small fee) on another carrier’s flight home that was landing at the same time as my original flight that was cancelled, I will remind you, due to weather. Weather that apparently is too much for American Airlines to navigate through but nothing to worry about on US Airways.

Having the woman at the entrance to the jetway for my connection from DC to Hartford tell me that even though I had a printed ticket, I wasn’t on this flight, was just cruel. Original, yes, but also soul-crushing and unnecessary. Making me go back to the US Airways desk and stand in line for fifteen minutes so the woman there could tell me that the ticket was fine, walk back to the jetway and be told that the ticket was not fine, again, and again, and again was over the line, Travel gods.

But you relented. I was allowed on the plane. I arrived back in Hartford. My car was buried under several inches of snow, topped off with a thick layer of freezing rain (read: ice), and so I was forced to set my luggage down in the parking lot and spend half an hour cleaning off my car and scraping the windows. Nevertheless, I was home. I was feeling better. I would soon be in my living room and on my couch, and my confidence was seeping back in again.

Which is probably why you sent the Bradley parking lot snow plow around the corner to push my luggage into a snow bank.


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