Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Charleston, Chewed - Part 2

Click Here to read this story from the beginning…

So, the killing of two hours begins. As we all know, airports are not the most exciting venue to begin with (Have you ever heard anybody holler “Hey, let’s go hang out at Akron International and watch people shove each other!” No, you have not), and at five in the morning, the drudgery is even more intense, since the only open stores and facilities are miles apart and you have to drag all your crap with you from one end of the terminal to the other, seeking minimal and unknown satisfaction.

We decided to eat. Everybody likes to eat, right? Surely we could find some place that would allow us to do such without too much effort or bickering. (This was a happy little thought that I would soon discard for the rest of the vacation.) After hiking what must have been the length of the Grand Canyon, doubled, we finally ran across a place that was actually open, sporting the alluring title of “Euro CafĂ©”. We dashed forth.

To find a definite lack of cute little bistro tables, people chattering in foreign accents or charming fires being stoked in a French Country, shabby-chic environment. Instead, we were treated to bottled juices, plain bagels, and a small assortment of things that had to be placed in a microwave before you could tell what the item really was. Sighing, we stared at the sad offerings until we could hypnotize ourselves into actually wanting them. I finally chose coffee and one of the nuke options, simply because it would kill additional time if they had to actually cook something.

The cashier/tramp actually had the nerve to ask me if I wanted the breakfast sandwich heated up. No, sweetie, I want to eat it just like that, a frozen brick of frostbite. I have far too many teeth as it is. Now throw the damn thing in the microwave and give me my change. (And thus began yet another recurring theme during our sojourn to Charleston, a concept we will dub Why are there so many annoying people in the world?)

Oh, and the tramp didn’t stop there. She snatches up my plastic-wrapped breakfast surprise, lugging it along like it’s yet another of the endless burdens in her life, shoves the mess into an industrial-sized microwave, slams the door, and turns the power on for roughly two seconds. The door is whipped back open, and she prods the still ice-cold object with one of her nasty little fingers. Apparently offended that her first time selection was deemed unworthy, she hurls my sandwich back in and punches a number with enough zeroes that you would think she was defrosting a rump roast.

Several minutes later, during which I had to constantly get out of the way of other people who had wisely chosen food items that did not require a heat source, the tramp hands me my sandwich, which has been placed in a little white sack. I’m assuming the new packaging was necessary since my breakfast was now in liquid form after the overzealous baking experience. I could hear it sloshing around in the bag.

I joined my traveling companions at a small table that was presumably designed for pre-schoolers, sitting on a tiny chair that caused my knees to bang into my ears. But at least the coffee was good, in that double-edged-sword kind of way. On the one hand, it’s pleasing that your mind finally starts to clear and most of your bodily functions become operable again.

At the same time, you now have enough awareness to fully study the people around you, and this can prove to be a dangerous and life-altering activity. There are some people that simply shouldn’t be seen in public before the sun comes up. Let’s leave it at that. I only survived by concentrating on a trashy piece of artwork that someone had nailed to a wall in a weak attempt at ambiance.

We finish up with the consumption of processed-food products, and then wander back to our gate. We still have a seemingly endless amount of time until we leave so we locate and occupy some seats in the waiting area. This is always fun, being bored while perched among hundreds of people that you don’t know. Everyone tries to pretend that they aren’t staring at one another, but you can’t help it. Everywhere you look you spy someone else acting like they aren’t staring at you. Because there’s nothing else to do.

So they finally start the “early boarding”, which means we get to watch the rich people stroll past the commoners, talking importantly on fancy wireless phones and waving around ostrich-skin carry-ons. This is also the point when the asshat losers start edging their way closer to the ticket agent, instead of getting in the meandering line like a decent person should. Come ON, people. We all have assigned seats, and the plane ain’t leavin’ till everybody’s up in the grill. Settle down. But no, we’ve got the morally inept wankers who will actually knock a grandma down to cut in line.

Anyway, we all get queued up in that long metal box connected to the plane. As we board the actual vehicle, we are greeted by the pilot and the random flight attendant who drew the short straw and got welcoming duty. These people are too chipper and overly-friendly. Why are you greeting me with such enthusiasm? You don’t know me, I don’t know you. Can we just walk by one another without the Hee Haw production number?

Then we have the endless standing in the aisle while the people in front of you try to figure out things like where to put their carry-on and what it actually means to get the hell out of the way. They piddle with this and they fiddle with that. Look, you knew it was time to board the plane. Why are you just now deciding that you must dig out something from the bowels of your luggage, tossing toothbrushes and panties through the air while you search for a stupid magazine that you have no intention of actually reading? Hate you a little bit.

And the best part? That anxiety-riddled stretch where you march up to your particular seat, wondering who else might be sitting in your row. Will it be Princess Tiny Bladder, who has to pee every ten minutes, stomping on your feet and whacking your head with her breasts as she clamors toward the lavatory? Will you get The Wet Man, who instantly falls asleep and proceeds to drool on everything in a 5-seat radius? And then there’s the ultimate horror, the species known as Chatty Catherine, who firmly believes that any thought which enters her head should be shared with the entire plane.

Where did the spinning wheel land for me?

The lady who plopped into the seat directly in front of me, with her mammoth earrings banging and clattering like we were in a Stage 5 hurricane, immediately hit the little button so that her seat-back whomped downwards and crushed my pelvis. She then turned to her instantly-terrified neighbor and launched: “That is the CUTEST hairstyle. Where did you get that blouse? Do you think we’ll get to watch a movie? Did you know I’m allergic to peanuts? I snore a lot so just wake me up. Oh shoot, better run to the ladies’ room before we get started. I once had a yeast infection that lasted for three years. Be right back!”

It was going to be a long flight.

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series…

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