The Most Wonderful Time . . .
Well, it rained in Big City today, so the hive mind shattered into tiny little pieces. Reporters on the local news were pointing at puddles in disbelief. People were running around with garbage bags on their heads. There were accidents everywhere, because folks here seem to think they can keep driving like cabbies on speed when the roads are wet.
Also, holiday traffic + rain in Big City = Bad News. Poor Boy Roomie may never offer to drive me to the airport again: we sat in traffic for more than an hour.
Once I got to the airport, I stood in a long check-in line, only to be told that my ticket required "special handling" and sent to another long line. That wasn't the right one, either, so they sent me to yet another. By the time I got to the end of that one, my flight had closed. Maybe that's what "special handling" means?
Instead of saying she was sorry or trying to help me find a solution, the woman who gave me the bad news actually started scolding me: "You're supposed to check in at least 45 minutes before your flight leaves!" I gave her the stank eye and said: "Look, I left my house more than 2 hours ago; please just don't start in on me." "I'm very sorry for your trouble, m'am," she said, in a way that made it perfectly clear that she actually didn't give a shit, before turning her back on me and walking off.
Thinking that I was being clever and avoiding further wait times, I went to the pay phone and called in to the reservation center. No dice: they wanted to charge me $500 to fly me out at 11pm tomorrow night. By this time, I confess, I was bawling.
Once I could control my tear ducts again, I approached a rather friendlier-looking woman at the entrance to a line I hadn't tried yet. She told me to go wait in a fifth line to talk to somebody on a direct-dial phone. So then, I stood in line with a bunch of extremely pissed-off people for about an hour, with what seemed like about 150 people smashing into me because they were stampeding blindly through our line on the way to the security gates.
Finally, I noticed that one of the coveted black phones was available. I pounced. A woman named Cheryl answered. "Hi, Cheryl," I said. "I bet you've been talking to a lot of unhappy people tonight." "Yeah, it's not fun," Cheryl said. "What are they doing over there? Are they just telling everybody to call us?" "Yeah," I said, "after sending us to the wrong lines repeatedly, that's pretty much what they're doing. It rained here today, and everybody went insane." "Ah," Cheryl said.
Cheryl then worked her magic, called me "hon" a number of times, and got me a flight out late tomorrow morning. I thanked Cheryl and told her to have a happy holiday.
Then, after wandering through three terminals with all my luggage, looking in vain for a working ATM, I got a ride home with a cranky Russian guy who took me past a bank on the way home. He brightened up a little when I gave him a hefty tip, even though he still didn't help me carry my bags to the gate.
Ah, what the hell: it's the holidays.