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The Misadventures of Erin

Posted 07-22-2011 at 12:40 AM by erinarnold

Training went so well at Southern Oregon MLS and Grants Pass AOR. The mountains are green and lush. There are towering trees and snow on the high mountain tops. It's a feast for the eyes and the soul. What could go wrong on this seamlessly perfect trip......

So I decided to check into my flight while on a break from training. The link to United's website from my Expedia email tells me my 7:30 flight has been canceled but I can check into the last flight of the day which is at 4:30. I tell the staff at Grants Pass that I have to leave right now or I'll miss my flight. They are understanding. I drive like a bat out of hell to get from Grants Pass to the Medford airport.

I pull into the tiny rental car parking lot like I'm Bo and Luke Duke running from Roscoe P Coltrane. I use some impressive Tokyo drift maneuvers to slide the car into a Hertz parking stall. I high-tail it to the ticketing counter and use a self service check-in kiosk. I made final check-in literally by 2 minutes. I walk up to the counter to drop off my bag and the bitter, sad-sack ticketing agent whose talking on her cell phone for several minutes before she bothers to talk to me says "You're too late, you can't check-in and that you'll have to take the next flight." I tell her "I am checked in, the kiosk checked me in" So she says, "Ok you can get on the plane but your bag can't. It will have to follow after you." I explain that the 7:30 flight has been canceled and she informs me that no it hasn't. It takes every bit of self control for me not to respond with "are you fucking kidding me?!?" But I calmly say I just drove 90 miles an hour and broke about 7 laws to get here because United.com said the flight was canceled. And she flippantly responds "well the website is wrong." **deep breath Erin do not lose your temper** I say "Please can you just ask the baggage people if they can take my bag. I don't want to have to wait at LAX for three hours for my bag to catch up with me" My crestfallen expression must have pierced her leather, sun spotted exterior so she offered to take my bag down to the plane herself to make sure it got on. From the benevolent look on her face you would have thought she offered to donate me a kidney. I thanked her profusely while secretly wishing she gets hanta virus and I ran to the security line. While taking my laptop out of my bag, I bent back and broke a fingernail all the way to the quick. It's bleeding. I run swiftly down the terminal. Is there anything better then the feeling of sweat running down you back into you ass crack? No, I think not.

I make it on the plane. The seat is comfortable, the stewardess is pleasant, my finger is throbbing like an after-hours techno club but everything is going to be fine. The worst is surely over. The plane takes off and I dig in my purse for a piece of gum. And low and behold, what do I find?.....the rental car key and the rental car contract. My mantra has now switched to **deep breath Erin do not cry** As soon as I land in San Francisco I call the Medford Airport Hertz counter and no one answers. Ohhhhhhh of course the whole town of Medford legally has to roll up and close at 7pm so that makes sense. I have an hour and half before my connecting flight so I decide to take the Air Tram to the Hertz rental parking structure to speak directly with a rep. I have to go out of security and the tram takes 20 minutes to get there. A nice Hertz representative genuinely apologizes but informs me that she cannot close out my contract and cannot take the key from me to send it to the Hertz in Medford. Also, most likely, they have already cut another key for the car and that it is a $200 fee. **deep breath Erin do not cry**. She sees my eyes slightly welling up (come on I'm only human and I've been fighting it for awhile). She offers to call corporate for me. They tell me they won't charge the lost key fee but that I have to Fed Ex the keys back to Medford and I will be charged for two more rental days. **sigh** fuck me sideways!

Ok, ok things could be worse. I sniff a bit, blow my nose and head back on the Air Tram. 20 minutes back to the airport, 30 minutes to get through security and now I'm about to miss my damn connecting flight. I sprint down the insanely long International terminal and of course the gate is all the way at the very end. There I find about 30 confused travelers aimlessly milling about. There is no plane at the gate and no agent at the desk. It's a ghost town on this end of the terminal. The monitor at the gate says Flight 381 to Los Angeles but has no departure time and no delayed notice but we all figure the plane is just late. So I sit down, take out my laptop and start to work on my expense report. 10 minutes later a random United employee wanders by and off handedly asks if we are going to Los Angeles; we all say “yes!” He says "you're at the wrong gate" I tell him that the monitor at the entrance to the terminal says it's this gate and he says "it's wrong, you need to go back to gate 92 and you all better run" Are you fucking kidding me !?! We all dash back up the terminal. It's a stampede of Japanese business men, overdressed Kardashian wannabes, elderly vacationers and me. Do we make it? Is the flight still there?

Oh this fuck-all story has only gotten started. Half way to the other gate I trip and fall, and not at all with any grace or composure because I do nothing gracefully. No, I fall with an amazing esprit de corps. My purse flies in the air and its contents rain down like mardi gras beads tossed from a float. I end up on my face spread-eagle emulating the Vitruvian Man. And because I did not zip up my computer bag completely my laptop skitters across the ground. **deep breath Erin do not cry, do not cry, suck it up!** Several kind people assist me in retrieving my items - cell phone, wallet, keys, makeup, oh and some tampons too for nice measure. In the process of becoming one with the ground, I have wrenched my left knee so I now I get to limp the rest of the way to the gate. The plane has not yet left. While in line to board, a beautiful, petite, Asian woman who obviously works for United asks if I have a few moments to answer some questions concerning United's customer service. Are you fucking kidding me!?! I don't say that, however I do start to laugh so hard and so loud that I think I scared her. I decline her offer because once I start cussing I won't be able to stop.

I get on the plane and YIPPEE my seat is in the very last row next to the aromatic lavatory. Of course the seat doesn't recline because there is a wall behind me. My travel buddy in the center seat is a very polite French man whose body odor can only be described as rivaling the flop-sweat stench of a 100 failed dreamers. He falls asleep shortly after take-off so I discreetly spray my vanilla perfume on him. Now it smells like fresh baked cookies, B.O. and latrine. Good call Erin!

At this point I think the inevitable next event will be one of two things: the plane will crash or at the parking garage I'll get gang-raped by a traveling band of syphilitic gypsies. The rest of the flight however is uneventful. But there's still those pesky gypsies to potentially contend with. I get to the parking garage and there's my beautiful car........with the driver-side, rear tire flat. **deep breath Erin do not cry....ok you can cry a little" Why couldn't it have just been rape-crazy gypsies? This is the same tire that Jim's Tire Man recently removed a nail out of and patched. Now I get to call BMW roadside assistance. I think the universe decided that it had broken my spirit enough because it only took about an hour for the tow truck to get there, find me in the parking structure and put on my spare. I can only imagine that I had the thousand yard stare of a WWII London blitz survivor because the tow truck guy was really nice to me.

Now tomorrow, on my day off, I get to stop by the office so Genevra can Fed Ex the keys for me and then I get to go purchase a new tire. Happy happy joy joy.

So why I'm I writing this and why am I up so late? I'm out of Jack, I'm getting drunk, I'm icing my swollen knee and I'm bored. Thank you for listening and may your god be with you.

Post Script - my laptop is no worse for the wear and appears to be working fine.
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