Clowns to the left of me…

airport minion

You know the cool thing about being a writer/blogger? It gives you a license to kill. Not really, since killing as a general rule is frowned upon in society, but it’s worth considering.  So, buckle up, rant/indictment of American Airlines is about to begin.

My beloved friend Rook took me the airport Wednesday morning. Three o’clock in the morning, so we would be assured of enough time to get through checking in, going through security, finding the proper departure gate. You know how it goes. You can’t just go to the airport, throw your bags on the little moving thingy, check in and hop on a plane anymore. (Yet another reason to hate terrorists.) So, we left in plenty of time and go right to where we’re supposed to be. It’s now five a.m. We’re loaded down with two suitcases, a purse and a cat carrier.

We get in line and I think, done, how awesome.

MINION ROTFL gif

I should stop thinking. There are at least 70 people in line and as I scan the American Airlines check in desks, I see…two people. Two people who apparently think that it’s better to look at their monitors instead of the endless queue of people waiting to make their flights. There are others, who (I think) work there, walking up and down the line as I nervously eye the clock.

The clock which seems to have been caught in a temporal anomaly. The one that speeds time up so that the next time I look at it, thirty minutes have passed and we are, maybe, two steps further than we were.  It’s now 6:30. My flight is at 6:45.

The same lady who has walked past us at least half a dozen times, stops and asks us again, “When is your flight?” Again, we answer “6:45.”

“Well, then come with me.” I look at Rook, she looks at me. Remember, it’s 6:30 now, and I’ve been awake since eight a.m. yesterday morning. This does not bode well for the people who get on my nerves, but, we follow her, around the other people, to a shorter line.

I think Hooray! Straight through to the plane!  {Insert derisive snort at my naivete here} We get to the shorter line and a tall, skinny woman with the look of someone who would rather be in Jamaica than in LAX at 6:30 in the morning, asks everyone and the other lady what we think we’re doing. When the other AA worker tells her, she does snort in derision and tells us, “You’re in the wrong place and if you want to make your flight (something that is so not going to happen since it’s now 6:40) you all need to go the main area.” When we all look at her as if she’s speaking some alien tongue, her faces screws up even more and she adds, “the longer you wait here, the less time you have to make your flight.” Her tone suggests, were she able, she would send us all straight to the 9th level of hell to burn in perdition so she could go have a coffee.

When we dare to ask her where the “main” lobby is so we can do as she suggests, she, who WORKS FOR THE AIRLINE, tells us, “I have no idea.” I can do nothing but stare at her, because if I open my mouth, chances are the TSA minionis going to come tackle/taser me. I may not always keep my mouth shut, but on occasion I have been known to have a modicum of common sense. She points in a general direction and we head to that general area where, lo and behold, there’s a big fucking sign that says “MAIN.”

Remember people, SHE WORKS THERE.

Rook and I get in this line and I look at the clock. Nope, 6:45. Not gonna make it. When we finally get to the desk, where we explain to the lady what has happened. Or, really Rook does. I’m too livid to speak, my main goal at this time is not to beat the woman to death with the cat carrier. (It weighs 14.5 pounds. I again refer you to the fact I would not be happy in jail.) Rook does all the talking and gets me on a flight at 7:36, so I can make my connecting flight.

The weighing of the luggage comes next and one suitcase is over the limit, so imagine if you will, two middle aged women, one of whom is pulling stuff out of one suitcase the other who is frantically stuffing said pulled out items into the other suitcase. When the second suitcase will hold no more, I put everything else in my purse. I now have my favorite sleep pants (more on that later) and other sundry things jammed into my purse, along with my usual purse stuff and a book. We make a mad dash to security and the lady was nice and tells me I don’t have to take off my shoes.

Rather than protest, “But I wore my good socks!” I say a profound thank you and keep moving. Onto the conveyor belt go my purse and cat carrier. I have dug Moof out of the carrier and am holding her against my bosom, like Melanie held Beau when they were making their escape from  burning  Atlanta. The TSA people LOVE Moof and want to pet her. I let them, then manage to get Moof back in the carrier, where I’m called over to the deck where they want to look at stuff inside your purse and I think  Well, crap. Because I have saline in my bag. They swab my hands and I know it’s ridiculous, but I’m thinking, I hope it cleans them too, not just look for bomb making residue.

They test the saline, it’s just saline. It’s just saline because I have no idea how to make a bomb and a terrorist’s life is not for me. At least not yet. By the time I get to Dallas, all that might change, but if I DID become a terrorist, it wouldn’t be to protest the inequities of labor law or demand that all religions bow to mine. Nope, my jihad would be against American Airlines and the demand that they put people into positions who actually know what they’re doing.

We’re through security, fast duck walking down the causeway to find gate 44C.

FOUND IT!

Minions high five

This is where Rook leaves me, because I can catch a bus by myself. I have no watch, so I’m thinking, well, they wouldn’t put me on the shuttle for a flight that’s already left, right?  {Insert your smart ass comment here.} The shuttle takes forever and then I’m on it and at my designated gate.  I go to the desk, ask the man how much longer til this flight boards, and hand him my ticket. He looks at me with utter disgust. “That flight left,” and throw a thumb over his shoulder to the plane that is just reaching up for the sky. Now, I admit, I don’t have a lot of patience and I have a pretty bad temper, but those anger management classes have really paid off. There was no cursing, no yelling, no beating about his head. I did snap the pen in my hand in two though.

I politely try to explain to him what has happened and he sends me to another place to re-book the flight. This lady re-books me for 12:06 p.m. to Dallas. I, because I do have a triple digit I.Q. ask, “That’s for today, right?”

She looks at me funny, says yes, gives me my ticket/boarding pass and I find a clock, the proper gate, and a coke machine. It’s now around 9 a.m. and I’m hungry, so Moof and I, we meander around to where they keep the food. The ridiculously expensive food. The $15.00 for a hamburger food. I check out the food truck. Maybe a chicken quesadilla, plain so I can give some to Moof. The quesadillas have kimchi on them. I ask if they can make me just a  plain one, and they give me a look that declares me a Philistine. This is where I start to wonder if I should be allowed out on my own.

So I take my soda and go find a little slab of concrete that is close to my gate, sit and lean against the wall and close my eyes. Next thing I know, a little Asian man is snapping his finger in my face, asking me if I’m going to Atlanta and if I am, my plane is boarding now. I snap my finger back at him and say “No, I’m waiting for the noon flight to Dallas, and please don’t do that snapping thing at me again, I don’t respond well to it.”  He straightens, turns on his heel and leaves. I look at the clock. Not even eleven yet. I stand, stretch, and decide to check out the shops. Apparently, shop keepers know they have you over a barrel, and though I was mightily tempted by the store with all the Minions stuff, I resisted and went back to the gate area, to find a chair to sit in. I found one and there was even a space for Moof to sit on the table so she could see things, instead of nothing but people’s feet.

Just as a side BTW: Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are stuck in LAX for any length of time, bring one of those fold up chairs with you because LAX chairs are the same as concrete, only the chairs have arms and you  don’t have to bend as far to sit down.

I wait a bit and then get up to check the board for my flight. Looks like I won’t be missing this one, because the departure time has changed from 12:06 to 12:55. Half an hour later, it’s changed to 1:05. At 12:55 I get up, prepared to board. Guess what?! Departure time is now 1:55. By now, I fear American Airlines has beaten me into submission because I don’t do well without sleep, or even with sleep for that matter and I settle down to wait a bit longer. There’s a young mother with an adorable toddler there now and apparently he knows a kitty when he sees one and tries to poke his finger through the front of the carrier. God love her, all Moof does is make a pathetic meow sound and turn her back to him. I fear I have now traumatized the cat to the point of no return.

At long last, they call my flight and people are pushing and shoving to get to be first in line. This is when one the worker bees comes on the P.A. and says, “Please step away from the line. You’re not helping and if you don’t, you will be the last to board. And you stand by people, you’re not getting on this flight, it’s full, so you’ll have to wait elsewhere.”

I mutter something about manners and the woman gives me the hairy eyeball and repeats what she just said, but says nothing to me. I wait until most everybody is in line then get up to join the queue. By now, my hands are beginning to ache and my formerly comfortable Dr. Scholls’ sneakers make me wish I was at the beach digging my toes in the sand, but I soldier on. I get to the flight attendant who tells me where I need to be seated and I tell her, “No, I asked for an aisle seat, because I’m claustrophobic.” I look at the ticket. Middle aisle, middle seat and I push down a panic attack. At this point I just want out of LAX and I would kill the neighbors for it. She shrugs and I think, it’s only two hours, if you focus on something else, it’ll be ok. I try to fit Moof under the seat and have half way managed it when the guy who’s going to be sitting on my  right comes up. Offers no assistance, just stares at me as if I’m ruining his flight. This is another reason I want the aisle seat, there’s a better angle for it, and then guy who’s sitting on my left shows up, giving me the same look, so I sit down, Moof on my lap.

ruth buzzi

I figure the always kind and benevolent flight attendants will help me when they come through and see Moof is not under the seat. One blonde, on red head, neither of whom are even a little bit helpful, stand over me and tell me I’ll have to put in the overhead and I’m like, “uh, no and if you try, it won’t end well.” I left off, unsaid, the “for you.” They are hovering over me in a manner that reminds me of photos of the Spanish Inquisition and I stand, when the blonde asks me where I’m going. “Uh, this is the plane to Dallas, is it not?”

“Yes, but is that your final destination?”

Spanish inquisition

“No, but right now, I’d be happy to be out of this airport. Huntsville is my final destination.”

BFA: “Huntsvealle?” That is her approximation of a southern accent.

Me: “No. Huntsville.”

BFA: “So, Huntsvealle?”

Me: “If by that, you mean Huntsville, then yes, that is my final destination.”

BFA:  (Hand on her hip.) Well, if he doesn’t fit under this seat, he won’t fit under the other seat. Don’t you know that?”

Me: “Actually yes, I do, which is why I asked for an aisle seat. An aisle seat allows for a different angle.”

BFA: “Well, you can’t hold her like that, it’s against the rules.”

Me: “Then please find someplace else, besides the overhead bin, to put her.”

BFA leaves and returns with red headed flight attendant, one on each side of me. I’m still clutching Moof’s carrier in my lap.

RFA: “We’ll put in her in the back in first class.”

Me: “That would be fine.” See, not that difficult a problem. That garners me a dirty look, but ask me if I care.

To Be Continued in …Jokers to the right.

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