Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I am not a good flyer. I don’t know how or why this happened, but I if I ever fly alone or over water, it is only because I’ve had a Xanax or a cocktail beforehand. On Friday night, my plane was delayed by 2 hours due to the rain in Atlanta. While I was waiting I noticed a group of men who were obviously in a band waiting for the same flight. I could tell that they were musicians because they had the long stringy hair that is indigenous to rockers in their fifties. To say that they stood out from the crowd would be an understatement. Some women gushed and asked for their autographs (thank God no breasts were bared), others like me and the lovely homosexual man next to me whispered to each other sideways “Who the hell are they? Lynyrd Skynyrd? Molly Hatchett? 38 Special?” Yes internet, I live in the south where there is actually a genre of music called “Southern Fried Rock.” One of the band members had on a shirt that said “If I Leave Here Tomorrow, Will You Still Remember Me?” and the face of a Van Zandt. I don’t mean any disrespect toward the dead, but I just don’t know which one it was because I try my best to avoid rock that is southern fried in nature. I could only think of two things while I sat and stared at them. 1) If these are the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and they have already lived through one plane crash, they can’t continue to cheat death forever, therefore I am totally fucked. 2) I can’t live in this city much longer.

**After I later Googled the bands I realized it was 38 Special, which is comprised of a Van Zandt brother and a surviving member of Skynyrd. (I was right when I thought I was fucked) Holy shit, I just called them Skynyrd like the locals. FREEBIRD!

On my way home Sunday, I was dropped off at the airport at 8:15 p.m. to catch my 9:20 p.m. departing flight. As soon as I got into the airport the heavy rain and lightning began almost immediately (is it me?). I checked in, yada yada yada, and then saw that my flight had been pushed back to 10:00 p.m. due to the weather. Ok, no problem. I sat there with my book and my assload of IKEA merchandise and waited. And waited. And watched the departure time move all the way back to 12:30 a.m. Since I was sitting across from a Houlihan’s, I decided to go over and have a pre-flight cocktail or two. This place was crazy. Apparently everyone in Terminal A thought that getting drunk was a good way to pass the time. I somehow got a seat at the bar and drank my Jim Beam because I don’t fuck around when it comes to pre-flight cocktails. At about 12:00 a.m. I gave up my plum barstool because my plane was taking off in 30 minutes. Right? Wrong. Now the time was pushed back to 1:30 a.m. I sat back down and heard an announcement that there were no other flights to Florida that night, so if you were on the flight to Orlando, you were basically screwed. The airline regretted that the weather was causing an inconvenience, but there were no hotel rooms available in Atlanta that night. Give me a fucking break. Did they really think that anyone believed that? It’s not like the Olympics were going on, and God knows that the IKEA had been open for a month or two already, so surely that wouldn’t account for the lack of rooms. This airline was clearly lying. What they meant to say was “there are no more rooms at the airport Motel 6, and we are not willing to pay for you to stay at the Marriott.” I will not name the airline because a dear friend gave me a buddy pass, and I was flying for a fraction of the cost. I may be a bitch, but I’m not an ungrateful one.

Around this time I got a call from my sweet, sweet Joey who had woken from a dead slumber and driven to the airport to pick me up. The last time we talked, and the last time he had checked online, my flight was still leaving at 12:30 a.m. Overcome with guilt, I sent him back home and instructed him to go back to sleep until I called him.

I continued to watch people frantically running for planes, yelling at each other, and dragging poor, sleepy toddlers around by their shirt sleeves. By this time a group of men had gathered just outside of Houlihan’s and were doing shots. When I count my blessings each day, I include no longer being in college, no longer having to go to nightclubs, and the fact that I did not marry a philandering drunk. These guys--who incidentally were all wearing wedding bands--were getting louder and calling out to the pretty girls who walked by to “Come sit on my lap and have a drink.” I guess they adopted the motto “What happens at Houlihan’s, stays at Houlihan’s” for the evening.

Since I was flying standby, I started to get knots in my stomach when I saw how many people had been transferred to my flight. I heard one of the clerks say that there were plenty of seats, but that they were waiting on some new pilots because the original pilots had been flying for 18 hours, which is the limit. WHAT? I could have lived the rest of my life without knowing that. I don’t think I could sleep for 18 straight hours, much less stay conscious, sit in one place, and be responsible for hundreds of people’s lives. Jesus.

My name was finally called and by this point it was a free for all. There were no more seat assignments, so I had to find my own seat which happened to be next to the meanest man on earth. I take that back, maybe everyone is that grouchy at 2:30 a.m. when they have been traveling all day. But still, he was a dick. Oh, and FYI: people who have been traveling all day smell. Really bad.

I was home and in bed at the reasonable hour of 4:00 a.m., almost 8 hours after my journey had begun. Unfortunately I woke Joe in the wee hours because I was talking in my sleep: “Attention customers, for your safety, do not let your bag out of your sight. Do not let anyone give you unknown objects to carry for them…” And so forth and so on.


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