Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oh, it's good to be back home.

Our original flight plan had us leaving Vermont at around 11:00am, hanging out at JFK airport in NY for 3 hours, and then arriving in Oakland, CA at 7:00pm. This was a surprisingly humane schedule for traveling from the East Coast Boonies to West Coast Civilization.

Of course it didn't work out that way. Our 3 hour layover at JFK turned into an 8-hour debacle, where they constantly changed our flight time amidst a departure board that became increasingly riddled with flight cancellations. It was a harrowing wait for any number of reasons including this one.

At one point, when Hank and Daisy were in the bathroom, I got out of my seat and wandered over to the gate to make sure that our 6:00pm departure time had not changed. I found that it suddenly said 8:45pm. I swore audibly and heard a voice next to me say, "Maybe we should give up on this flight."

I turned around and was surprised to see that the voice came from a very attractive woman sitting at the gate. She was looking at me expectantly. I immediately replayed her comment in my head.

What did the 'we' in her question mean? Was she implying that she and I should take this opportunity to bolt from our existing plans and lives and take off somewhere? Had she noticed that I was formerly with family and that I was now suddenly alone and available? Was this fate speaking to me?

I parsed the potential meanings and outcomes in my head quickly. And then I turned and marched back to my seat. It was the only course of action that made sense.

Anyway, our flight did eventually take off, five hours later than scheduled. Earlier in the day I had used Google Maps on my phone to try and find a shuttle service to take us from the Oakland airport back to our home in San Francisco. I had googled for "Super Shuttle" near the Oakland airport, and Google Maps had returned a result for Super Star Shuttle. Good enough. I called them and arranged a pickup. They quoted me a reasonable price and said that they'd have a Lincoln Town Car waiting for us near baggage claim.

When it came time to meet up with the car service in Oakland, I was surprised at how poorly they seemed to know the airport. The pickup place they quoted was under construction and it was a comedy of errors trying to find each other. When we finally located the car, the driver popped out to open the trunk and it was filled with his personal belongings, including old boxes, gym shoes, and assorted trash.

Hank attempted to open the car door and it was jammed. The driver rushed over, apologized, and jiggled the handle vigorously. After a few seconds of that, the car door popped open and we climbed in.

This was clearly just some guy's car, and not the Super Shuttle I had hoped for. I climbed into the car hesitantly, but it was nearly 1:00am at by this time, so I would have accepted a ride in Satan's car if it seemed to have a good chance of heading in the right direction.

As it turns out, the dude driving the Super Star Shuttle was exceedingly nice. I don't know if he had a commercial license or not, but he got us home safe and sound. I fell asleep at around 2:00am, about 22 hours after I had woken up in Vermont. It was good to be back in my own bed.


Lisa said...

Hello.. I found your blog through Newnorth's site. I really enjoy your writing.. very funny. Have a great night!

Mike said...

Hey Lisa, thanks for the kind words. Drop on by anytime.

Neel Mehta said...

Hey, I found your blog from a link on my blogroll.

I'm sorry you had to go through that travel nightmare, but I hope you learned your lesson: there is no purpose to visiting the East Coast.

Mike said...

Neel, welcome to my site!

Unfortunately, there is one big reason to go to the East Coast, and that's to maintain marital bliss.