Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Marriage 301, Lecture 523: SH looks good in a pink suitcase
The good news was that my flight was not cancelled.
I guess there really isn't any bad news except our hotel room has floor to ceiling mirrors on one wall, a mirror over the bed, and two mirrored walls in the bathroom. Plus florescent light. Let's just say my ego, which usually only has to see me from the waist up, is a little battered.
Back to the flight. SH and I could not get on the same flight. He left Detroit on the 4:00 flight to Amsterdam and I was on the 6:15 flight. We had hashed out a luggage strategy in the MKE that consisted of his checking my (larger) bag and my taking his carry-on in hopes that the Detroit gate agent might move me to his flight.
Which did not happen because they were overbooked and then the standbys got on so we don't know what the heck happened there.
In any case, SH left and I returned to the Delta lounge in search of more little Nutellas and some peace and quiet. I returned to my gate to board. Got on, got my BUSINESS CLASS SEAT.
I love SH's frequent flier miles. His many nights away from home and long hours on airplanes have given us some very nice trips. In BUSINESS CLASS. Which I have decided is the only way to go. As long as someone else is paying for it. With my own cash, I fly steerage.
I had moved the blanket and the pillow and the little kit with the baby toothpaste and the earplugs and the socks from the seat and had finally gotten myself arranged, book in lap, menu in hand.
Crab salad with avocado
Chilled carrot soup
Deli plate with cold beef, gravlax, and hearts of palm
Dark chocolate cake
I was comfy. And hungry.
And then the pilot started talking.
Technical problems, flat tire, blah blah blah.
The last time someone said the words "flat tire" about a plane was at the beginning of what turned out to be my ill-fated trip to Nepal to visit Steve and Megan, who have a habit of fomenting revolution and problems wherever they go.
First, they were supposed to go to Chengdu, but then there was SARS and Peace Corps decided to avoid the area. Then, they were in Nepal, which the Peace Corps evacuated when the Maoist rebels started acting up and I think when the royal family was assassinated. Then they went to Uzbekistan, which Peace Corps had to evacuate because the army was shooting civilians.
In each of these places, I had a ticket to visit. Visa. Travelers checks.
Wait. I stopped using travelers checks years ago, once I learned about ATMs.
But I was going to visit.
I was on the plane in Memphis to start the journey to Nepal. Memphis-Minneapolis-Tokyo-Bangkok-Kathmandu.
I had the tickets as far as Bangkok. Megan had worked some magic with one of the vendors Peace Corps* worked with and had gotten me the Bangkok-Nepal ticket (which one could not buy online) and was sending it to my hotel in Bangkok.
There was a lot of precision required for this trip to work.
And then the pilot announced there was a flat tire and everyone had to get off the plane and then they said they had to get another plane and it would be six hours. Which would mean I would miss my connection in Minneapolis to Tokyo which meant I wouldn't get to Bangkok until a day late. And the Bangkok-Nepal flight only went three times a week and the ticket was good for THAT DAY.
Oh yes. I spoke to some guys from work who traveled to China a lot. Those tickets were good for that particular flight. The ticket was not a contract between the passenger and the airline to transport the passenger from Point A to Point B with the burden falling upon the airline once money had changed hands. The ticket was a contract for the passenger to get on Flight #XXX on Day X. If for some reason the passenger could not be on that flight, even if the fault lay with the airline, then the passenger would just have to buy a new ticket.
Because the ticket was for THAT FLIGHT. Just THAT FLIGHT.
After going over all the options with a very patient NWA agent, we realized that if Air Nepal honored my ticket for another flight, I might get to spend four days in Nepal.
Which was not the original plan.
NWA cancelled my ticket and refunded my money.
(Yes, they can do that.)
I went home and unpacked.
So when I heard the pilot say yesterday that the plane had a flat tire, I was wary.
Two minutes later, the pilot announced that in addition to the flat tire, there was also a problem with the brakes and we all needed to take our things and deplane.
They might have it fixed in two hours, he told us.
Well that made me cranky. I was convinced the flight would be cancelled or delayed until Monday morning. I would have to stay overnight at the airport or in whatever dive hotel the airline put us in. And I would have a suitcase full of SH's button-down shirts and khakis.
He, in the meantime, would have my t-shirts and running shoes (for the "running" I will be doing here) and all my toiletries. For the training presentation he is giving on Tuesday.
I begged the lady at the Delta lounge to find me another way to Munich that night but apparently, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend is when everyone travels to Europe. Who knew? Not a seat available. I was stuck.
Seeing as I am not very good at the building up and resolving the tension part of the plot, I will just skip ahead and tell you that an hour later, the lounge agent announced that the repairs were done and the flight was ready for boarding.
I know. I need to work on that. Develop the conflict, heighten the tension, build suspense, resolve the conflict, wait, no, a setback, and now a true resolution. And the end.
But I am not good at that and I am really tired and hungry, so I am going straight to the end.
I cheered, but not out loud. And got on the plane. And got to Amsterdam. Where I looked for cheese and didn't buy any because the euro is just too darn high.
* Hear me, novelists. The Peace Corps does not usually take high school dropouts. The usual stint is two years. Could you at least get those facts right? Is it that hard to look at peacecorps.gov and get a clue?