Our flight from Wenatchee to Seattle wasn’t until 10:55 am, so we had some time to once again contemplate absconding with that pancake machine we were so enamored with during breakfast. I told Connie that I was certain she would be able to fit it into her pocketbook while I faked a seizure in the lobby. She insisted that I was out of my mind, and that there was no way that something that big would fit in her pocketbook. I politely disagreed and asked her if she’s seen her pocketbook. It’s like a fucking suitcase. She told me to shut up and I did. I’m not a stupid man, although I sometimes play one on the internets. The worldwide one.
I hate when my vacation ends, because I’m always paranoid that I’m going to forget something precious and leave it in the hotel Like my soul. I also feel that way when I’m going on vacation. But if I forget something when I’m going away, that shit will be there waiting for me when I get home.
We checked out of the hotel and made our way to the airport for the forty minute flight back to Seattle/Tacoma. It was one of those little regional airports that you can drive right up to and park. No shuttle buses or moving walkways to eventually bring you lazily to your destination. We returned the rental car and made our way to the security checkpoint.
I really don’t understand why I have to take my shoes off when going through the airport security checkpoints. Why can’t they just put an x-ray machine down on the floor? Maybe I couldn’t find clean socks that morning. Or matching socks. Or maybe any socks at all, and I might have forgotten to clip my toenails in the last couple of leap years. Now I have to be publicly shamed for it? That seems un-American to me. Obviously I’m not a terrorist. My cheerful disposition and intimate knowledge of American cheese should appease even the most churlish of TSA agents. But it never does, so I have to take off my stupid shoes like a common Neanderthal.
TSA quickly assessed that we were on their side and we got to the waiting area about fifteen minutes before boarding time. We hung out talking to Amy and Joe about our amazing grand prize-winning weekend. It turns out that they weren’t the original winners of the Capital Cities trip. Someone else had won it and couldn’t go due to a family commitment. Sucks to be them. So they drew another name and it was Amy. Which is cool, because they were really fun to hang out with. I bet those other people were dicks. Their family was probably all like, “We wish you went on that trip instead of fulfilling your family obligation. You’ve ruined the Wedding/Christening/Bar Mitzvah with your drunken tomfoolery. Grandma doesn’t love you anymore. Seriously, attend a meeting or something, you asshole. Oh, and you’re paying for that (fill in the blank)!”
We boarded the prop plane for the forty minute flight back to Seattle. I am already on record with my abject disdain of prop planes. I don’t like being able to see an engine stop. I think that if God wanted man to fly in prop planes, he’d put jet engines on them. The flight back to Seattle was pretty turbulent, and I felt bad for Connie Bigs because of all the excessive squeezing I did to her leg. But she’ll heal, like a big girl does. When we landed, we departed the plane and said our goodbyes to our Nebraska friends. We had a four-hour wait for our flight back to Boston, so we went and got some sustenance to tide us over.
Connie and I stopped and got bagels in this place I want to call “The Bagel Store”. That’s not the actual name of the place, but that’s what it was. A store full of bagels. Bagels as far as the eye could see, as long as your eyes can only see to the back wall. They probably had more bagels behind the wall in the kitchen, but I can’t vouch for that. I chose a delicious French toast bagel with cream cheese, because they didn’t have any Freedom toast bagels. Connie got a chocolate chip one, because she always confuses breakfast with dessert. It’s adorable.
We paid for our food and headed out to sit at our terminal for four hours. As we were leaving the register, I glanced at the customers in line. Mike Birbiglia was standing there. As I have previously stated, Birbigs was one of my must see acts during the weekend, but due to the meet and greet with The Lumineers coinciding with his set, we weren’t able to see him. I tapped Connie on the shoulder and informed her of my discovery.
ME: “Holy shit! Mike Birbiglia is standing in line.”
CBS: “Really? Are you sure?”
ME: “Yes, that’s him with the backpack. I recognize his stance.”
CBS: “Are you getting all creepy stalker right now? Don’t get all creepy stalker on him.”
ME: “No, I’m not going to get all ‘creepy stalker’ on him. Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just going to stand here and wait until he comes out, and then approach him in a non-threatening manner and tell him I love him.”
CBS: “Yeah, that sounds fucking creepy.”
ME: “No, you don’t understand me. I’m not saying that I love him like I want to marry him or skin his flesh off and wear it as a bodysuit under my clothes, like I love you. I’m just saying if he ever wanted to come over to our house for a sleepover, that would be wicked awesome.”
CBS: (shaking her head) “Well, I have to go to the bathroom.”
ME: ” Go ahead. I’ll wait right here. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be a creepy stalker. I just want to tell him that I think he’s great, and that his movie Sleepwalk With Me is fantastic, and that we don’t live that far from his hometown of Shrewsbury, so if he really is serious about that sleepover thing I could even come pick him up. No problem at all. I won’t even charge him any gas money or anything.”
CBS: (Walks away silently, with that look on her face. You know the one.)
About five to seven minutes pass, and Connie Bigs returns
CBS: “Did you say hi to him?”
ME: “No, he’s still in line. But I think it’s really moving along now.”
CBS: (rolling her eyes) “Let’s just go sit down and eat. He’s probably flying out of the same terminal, since he’s down here. Maybe he’s flying back to Boston and we’re on the same flight.”
ME: (Reluctantly) “Alright Connie. You win this round. I’m not going to make a scene, because I love you, and because of the intense scrutiny the TSA places upon people acting like raving lunatics yelling angrily at their wives in the airport nowadays. But I want it on record that I am sitting down and eating this bagel under protest.”
CBS: “Duly noted. That’s my big boy.”
We walked down to our gate and found a seat where we proceeded to eat our now cold bagels. After we finished, I said I had to use the bathroom. There was one right there, but I walked back down to use the one by the bagel place. Mike Birbiglia was gone, as I had feared. I went back to where Connie was sitting and told her. She laughed at me. That cut me to my core. Well, maybe that’s a little extreme, but it definitely scraped me a little bit.
We spent the next few hours catching up on the new season of Arrested Development via the magic of Netflix for iPhone. We watched four episodes and I must say we laughed out loud like idiots during them. At least that’s the impression that I got from some of the looks cast our way from other travelers. They should have looked in a mirror at themselves, because they all looked pretty fucking ridiculous to me. A few hours before our flight we decided to grab something to eat at Chili’s. It seemed like a good idea, since we still had a seven hour flight back home, and man cannot live on soy nuts alone.
By the time we finished our food and paid, the ticket counter had opened up. We went up to it and asked the flight attendant if there were any first class upgrades available. She said that there were two seats left in first class, and that it would be another $240 per person. This seemed well worth it, for a seven hour flight. Or six-hour and ten minute flight, with a fifty minute layover in Chicago. I still had $300 left on the American Express gift card that no one would accept as a form of payment, but luckily American Airlines did. Probably because they have American in their name too, and it would seem unpatriotic of them to decline something American.
We boarded the plane early, like first class people have done since time immemorial. I had never flown fancy style before. To be honest, whenever I have flown somewhere, I always walk through first class and silently glare at all the beautiful people and wish them ill will. Even the children. Especially the children. Nothing’s worse than a little kid in first class. Nothing.
We sat down in our comfy seats and waited as the rest of the passengers filed by us silently glaring and wishing us ill will. Even the children. It was actually pretty awesome. When the plane was in the air, the flight attendant came by and gave us a warm towel, which I always thought only happened in barber shops and wet dreams. Then they gave us bowls of nuts. So warm and salty in my mouth.
Then they came around and asked if we wanted lunch. We had stupidly eaten an hour before, thinking we’d be back in the poor part of town where you fight for any little scrap of food you can get, so we declined.
The flight was great until we got about 45 minutes outside of Chicago. We flew through a seriously scary lightning storm. I’m almost positive I fractured Connie’s forearm with my concern for her well-being. But that’s what love is all about. Protecting the one’s you love from things that scare you most. It was a horrible experience that I was pretty sure was going to end badly for everyone involved. The plane was bouncing and dropping. The sky was alive with lightning bolts. The flight attendants were all crying. Or at least they looked like they were through my tears. It was mortifying.
But we landed safely in Chicago, and the plane erupted in applause. Then people started chanting, “Encore! Encore!!” The flight crew broke into a rousing rendition of Sweet Home Alabama, but one dickhead had to scream, “Play Freebird!” It always happens. Just let them play what they play, dude!
We weren’t switching planes, but we got off to stretch our legs and kiss the ground like the pope would do.
I mean the kiss the ground part, although I’m sure the pope needs to stretch his legs too. He’s old, and arthritis ain’t no joke. Although he probably just has an altar boy stretch his legs for him. Maybe work out his quads and such. Like the bible says.
We boarded the plane again, because the lightning was so much fun the first time, we figured we should do it again. I actually told Connie that we should just rent a car, and make the sixteen hour drive home. She said no.
The weather had delayed some takeoffs and we wound up waiting on the tarmac for about another hour. In the back of my head, I was kind of hoping they’d just say, “Fuck it! We’re not taking off in this shit.” But they didn’t, and we did. The plane finally took off and we were on our final leg of this very long day/week. Connie slept for a bit, while I stayed awake to enjoy every single bump on a very bumpy flight. Every… single…. one.
We landed at Logan around 2 am, an hour after we were scheduled to arrive, and were met by Connie’s parents, Big Jim and Donna Momahue. We set out for the half hour ride to their house in Weymouth, just glad to be on terra firma again. Until Big Jim almost killed us in the tunnel coming out of the airport. We asked him to settle down a bit and drive like a grown up. He agreed, or maybe he didn’t. I’m not really sure. I was very tired. But we made it to their house with minor emotional trauma, so that’s a plus.
We then took the fifteen minute drive back home to Whitman, and crawled into bed at 4 am. There’s nothing better than crawling into your own bed after a week away.
What I’m trying to say is,
If you see a contest on Facebook, maybe you should take a shot and enter it. People really do win those fucking things.
I’m living proof.