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Saturday, January 14, 2006


Friday the 13th

4:30 pm
National airport
Flight is supposed to be boarding
Huge mass of people crammed into a small chaotic gate area

6:00 pm
Flight boards
Slow line snaking onto plane from gate area
Just before I step onto the plane they say overhead baggage compartments are full, so I need to check my small suitcase.
Sit on runway for a long time.
Already bored.

On plane:
Catching up on reading for work
Trying not to be distracted by cheesy Hollywood movie playing, "In Her Shoes"
Give in about 10 minutes into the movie
It's not cheesy, it's great. Cameron Diaz's performance is amazing. Or maybe I'm just really ready for a distraction at this point.
Resist urge to order a beer; holding out for hotel bar.

10:40pm, or 8:40pm local time - arrive in Salt Lake City
Connecting flight to Burbank departs at 8:56
Sprint through airport
Flight has just pulled away from the gate
"There's a flight to Ontario in 10 minutes, though," the gate agent says.
My husband and I stare at him.
"Ontario, California," he clarifies. "It's close to Burbank."
We sprint back through the airport.
At the gate, a round, heavily made-up woman is looking something up on a computer for another passenger. 2 other gate agents stand nearby, doing nothing. We explain our plight. "You'll need to talk to her," they say, pointing at woman #1.

5 excruciating minutes of woman #1 not knowing how to work the computer and none of them making eye contact with us later, one of them says, "now, you needed help, right?"

Once onboard, I order a beer.

1:30am, or 10:30pm local time - arrive in Ontario, California
Lo and behold, our suitcases do not appear in baggage claim. After filing a claim with Delta, we go outside to catch a cab. There are none. There is not even a taxi stand. What kind of airport doesn't have a taxi stand? We finally find one, at the far end of the terminal, and wait 10 minutes while someone calls us a cab.

2:00am, or 11pm local time
Most Expensive Cab Ride Ever
The amount on the meter literally increases every 4 seconds as we zoom at God-knows-how-many-miles-an-hour down route 10 towards Pasadena. We point it out and the cab driver says, laughing as though we're making a joke, "Oh yeah, (ha ha), it increases every 30 seconds." "But it's increasing every 4 seconds, we say." "Ha, ha" he says.

$95 and 1 hour later, we arrive at our hotel in Pasadena
It is now 3:00am or - everybody now! - midnight local time.
In our room, we order a cheeseburger and fall asleep to the dulcet tones of Bill Maher on CNN.

Now it is 10:30am Saturday, local time.
The view out our hotel window is lush - tall delicate trees with yellow-green spindly leaves, big old dark trees, the outline of blue mountains in the distance, now obscured by pale gray skies (it's drizzling). Alejandro Escovedo plays on the clock radio and scrambled eggs with ketchup sit in my belly.

Saturday the 14th is looking a lot better than Friday the 13th.

I've had better days, but I have a feeling I'll be remembering this one for a long time to come. Especially since I'll be wearing the clothes from that day for about a week until we see our bags.

Just be glad you didn't fly airfrance...
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