There is a lesson to my current location, as there is to all things, which is that if you make too many jokes about Michael Vick you will find yourself stuck in Atlanta without a change of underwear listening to the owner of a Mexican restaurant attached to a Best Western express outrage that Vick is getting two years for killing dogs, which, the guy pointed out, his grandfather used to eat.
Fair warning: there are no general points to be made in this post -- it is all straight ahead personal narration although, as always, my general and always wavering levels of righteous indignation could stand some recalibration.
This morning I set off from Los Angeles. I was inspired by the extreme competence of my cab driver and the ease of my check-in. I was also a little loopy from the fact of getting to LAX by 4:30 a.m. That, my friends, is how I emerged in Atlanta at 1:30 p.m. to discover that my connection to my holiday destination had been canceled.
The lesson to all this may in fact be not to fly to a place on the day that it's being pelted by snow. That could be a lesson too.
I was prepared to roll with that punch, but when the Delta guy told me that because the next day's flights were all booked up that I would have to stay in Atlanta until Tuesday morning I got a little pissed. I believe my precise words were "You're fucking kidding me." If I had known how many opportunities for pissy behavior I would have and take in the space of the afternoon to come, I might have let that one slip on by.
Also we fought about whether the second night of a hotel would fall under the weather rule so that the airline wouldn't pay for it. He got pretty feisty in defending Delta; I suppose there's something inspiring about that quality of loyalty.
Anyway, we found a neighboring town to my destination that might have a flight leaving tonight (Sunday) and he said that he had also saved me a seat on the next day's flight to the neighboring town.
We parted on good terms. That was a mistake. I went and read trashy books and drank trashy drinks. That was not.
About an hour before my flight was supposed to depart (at 8:55 p.m.) it too was canceled. A second round of phoning was required to discover that I didn't have a seat on the Monday flight to the neighboring town. Discussions were had. She promised me meal vouchers, and said she'd see about allowing me to reclaim my checked bag.
Oh hell, you can imagine the rest. The luggage is not being released, the woman at the baggage claim told me with pride -- "Nobody going to Buffalo is getting their luggage back."; I had to get all rowdy to claim my $21 of meal vouchers which I will almost certainly fail to use; the shuttle driver for the motel I booked tried to convince me that I was actually going to another motel, and, on the way out of the parking lot, started praying loudly to god that the van would work again. Endless stupidity. And I swore a lot and told various Delta customer service representatives how shitty I thought their airline was, which I'm sure made everybody's day pleasanter.
And really, the downsides are these: I don't get to see the people I love as quickly as I would like to; I'm not going to smell very good when I get there; my carefully selected Christmas presents (I really want to write a post about present buying one of these days because it is the most enjoyable form of shopping in some ways, although also one of the most wrenching) may be gone forever. On the other hand, I spent a day drinking and reading trash, and feel vaguely virtuous about it. Also I'll watch tv. Also I can spend a day in Atlanta, which I think we are all excited about.
It's cold and crisp here, and my only real regret is that I couldn't properly overhear the owner of the Mexican restaurant when he explained how he would prefer his wife cheat on him, if such a state of affairs had to be. I feel like I should regret being such an jerk-off to the various customer service reps, but really I also kind of hate them.