My Life

Long Day’s Journey into Flight – Part I

Herewith, the sordid tale of our return from Spain…


The darkness began while it was still dark…

I was innocently slumbering in our hotel room in Málaga, most likely dreaming of something naughty although the exact narrative escapes me now, when I was awakened by my phone pinging, alerting me that something electronic had just arrived that may or may not require my attention. Sighing, I fumbled for the phone and perused it with one bleary eye.

It was a text message of no importance, just a snippet from the helpful folks at HEB, a grocery-store chain back home in Texas that we frequent, letting me know that organic sausage-links were on sale and that I should scurry in and get some. (Perfect for your 4th of July grilling!) I had no intention of doing so, partly because it’s too hot in Texas to grill in July but mostly because we were in Spain, which is nowhere near Texas.

Of more importance was the time displayed on my glowing phone. It was 4:30am. This is not a good time for me to be ripped from salacious dreams about swarthy men taking off their shirts for no apparent reason. I have a hard-enough time sleeping through the night as it is, so if anything jolts me awake at 4 in the morning, I may never get back to the remainder of the dream wherein the swarthy men remove the rest of their couture. The best thing for me to do is remain perfectly still and do my best to keep my hyperactive brain from engaging any further. I gently slammed the phone back on the nightstand and tried to do just that.

Sadly, Partner chose that moment to surface from his usual Sleep of the Dead. Apparently, he had seen me touching my phone and decided it was time for an interrogation. “Did you check us in for our flight tomorrow?”

I sighed again, because now I had to use words, and such an action was going to awaken more brain cells. “No, poodle. It’s 4:30 in the morning. Our flight tomorrow isn’t until 8:15. I can’t check us in until 24 hours before then. I’ll take care of it in a little while.”

“Okay.” And then he was instantly snoring again, because he’s blessed that way. I am not. I stared at the ceiling which was presumably somewhere up there in the darkness, assuming something hadn’t gone terribly wrong with the structural integrity of the building during the night, ruing the combination of genetic gifting and personal mental-wiring that does not allow me to sleep like a normal person.

I thought about the bills back home that were going unpaid whilst we frolicked in Spain. I contemplated, once again, my wretched decision to leave college after my sophomore year. I reflected on the series of poorly-chosen boyfriends that plagued my Twenties. (I just wanted to be loved!) I relived the horrifying moment when, as Student Council President in high school, I froze up whilst giving a speech in front of 700 students and one of the assistant principals had to drag my catatonic ass off the stage. I wrote part of this very blog post in my head.

Have I mentioned that my brain does not shut off?

I believe I finally drifted off at 7:48. The alarm on my phone issued its gestapo alert at 8:00. (Sometimes I really hate that phone, yet I can’t function without it, which is another flashback to those poorly-chosen boyfriends.) I signed into the Delta Airlines app, which promptly told me I was a bit early for check-in, but I didn’t care. I kept refreshing the damn thing until the appropriate button became active. (Another reminder of those boyfriends, natch.) Once clicked, the button happily prompted me to check in Partner. But not me.

Hmm. What fresh hell was this?

I took care of Partner with relative ease. The app was almost giddy with its pleasure in being able to do so, with happy, soothing chimes indicating that everything was going quite splendidly during the process. I even got a chirpy email, confirming that Partner was free to get on the plane right now, if he wanted, even though said plane was nowhere near Spain at the moment. (I was surprised that someone didn’t knock on the hotel room door, intent on delivering a gift basket and an extra 50,000 miles for Partner’s frequent-flyer account.)

But my name would not come up as a check-in option. I was dead to them.

I was starting to slightly panic. I pulled out my laptop, tethered it to my phone to get an Internet connection (the hotel had wi-fi, but they wanted my Facebook or Twitter credentials to sign in and they weren’t getting that from me, nope), and navigated my way to the actual Delta website, hoping that it would be more cordial than the app. Sadly, because our data plan in Spain was limited to 2G, it took an excruciating amount of time for each page to load. We’re talking multiple minutes, not seconds. I was clawing my face with frustration, spoiled as I was by the 4G we get back home and completely forgetting that back in the 90s it could take 30 minutes to download a single image of swarthy men taking off their shirts.

Finally, I made my way to the check-in page. In a brief moment of redemption and possible salvation, I was thrilled to see that my name appeared as an option. I clicked on that button and waited another eon for the next page to load. When it finally did, there was no gift basket. Instead, a rather portentous message, in a font that spoke of doom, appeared. I’m paraphrasing here, because I didn’t have the sense to take a screen shot, but it was basically this: “There is a problem with your flight status and we are unable to check you in at this time. It is strongly suggested that you report to the airport early so that this issue can be resolved.”

I calmly closed the browser, untethered the laptop from my phone, shut down said laptop, set it aside, marched over to my carry-on bag, located the special, zippered section wherein I kept my meds, found the bottle of “rescue pills” for moments of extra-special anxiety, opened such, popped one of the tablets in my mouth, washed it down with the remnants of a bottled water that I still had from the flight to Spain when I had not been branded of dubious character, and sighed for the third time. Then I trotted over to Partner’s side of the bed and poked him on the shoulder, intent on resurrecting him from the dead so we could discuss this nefarious development.

He snorted briefly and then quickly returned to his own nocturnal visions of men undressing for no apparent reason. Of course he did. He had the gift basket, not me.

I glanced over at my carry-on. Would I be needing a second rescue pill? Probably so.


Click here to read the next bit of madness in this series….


Story behind the photo: A poorly-planned snap of a marble floor, taken during our visit to one of the palaces at the Alhambra. I like how it clearly captures my dumb ass in the midst of not knowing what the hell I’m doing…


25 replies »

  1. Advice for this predicament. 1/ Breath deep. 2/ Think positive thoughts. 3/Gently flex fingers. 4/Clench jaw, then molars. 5/ Exhale with a foam flecked primordial scream. 6/ Clench fists, pound head against wall. Repeat stages One, Four Five and Six.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Totally understand and commiserate with the getting back to sleep thing. I have to take melatonin to shut off that damn flow, no raging torrent of thoughts, just to get to sleep. Getting back to sleep after being disturbed during the night (and wishing hubby was still in this world to take care of the fun visions) is a lost cause. I usually get up, write down the plot ideas or clean something, not necessarily my brain. So glad you’re home, safe, jet-lagged, and finding the courage to face the stuff that piles up after leaving home. I just stay home now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really not fair, this discrepancy with how people are able to process the mere act of sleep. My partner can drift off in the middle of a conversation and not move a muscle for 8 solid hours. The tiniest disturbance in the atmosphere can have me wide awake despite my degree of exhaustion. So I usually do as you, getting up and tending to mundane things until I get drowsy again, which often never happens…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As Laurelwolfe said “another good reason NOT to fly” anywhere. Ever. But I’m sure things were resolved eventually, even though you may have had to rely on speaking Spanish (which, if it’s not a first language or even a language in which you are fluent, that can be challenging. Or so I hear. No habla muy espanol bueno. I can say taco, enchilada, bano (if that’s spelled correctly, I can PRONOUNCE it dammit and will never be without toilet facilities if I ever go somewhere where they speak Spanish); and i know colors and the names of a large variety of unconnected phrases. Donde esta el bano. for example. Your little tale (of which I’m now anxiously waiting to see what happens NEXT) reminds me of going to Canada with most of my extended family (do NOT do that. ever. it’ll age you. By decades) and almost not getting to go home again because my siblings insisted to dawdling and I-whatever in Washington state is no place to try to hurry on a Sunday afternoon. Especially if there’s road construction (there was) and some idiotic sporting event that was at some stupid dome arena in downtown Seattle. My consolation was that I had flown first class (and will never ever fly again any other way. Damn the cost.) and I got a seat, while the rest of my family was put on ‘standby’. Given that there were three adult children who had college classes (and tests) the next day, and one of my siblings had to be at work; it was a scene fraught with angst and anger and a lot of finger pointing. I wisely refrained from saying “I TOLD YOU SO”, but I blamed them all the same. I hope your story has a happier ending. We all did get home, but that’s the last time I ever went anywhere with my sibling and his family. Tortoises got more organizational skills and are faster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Spanish is actually okay, but it’s Latin American Spanish, and this has proven to be a negligible skill in Spain. They have different words for the very same thing, and there’s all this mess about pronouncing things in a way that simply doesn’t happen in Latin America.

      I’m envious that you were able to fly First Class. I would love to do so, but I’d also love to afford the cost of putting food on my table, so there’s a bit of a conflict.

      Speaking of conflicts, I have grown to somewhat loathe travelling with family. I love MOST of them, but they can be so damn annoying, making me wonder how the family line has managed to persist. I’d much rather travel with chosen family, aka friends, wherein there’s relatively little emotional baggage and we simply carry on and get things done….


  4. I guess there’s an advantage to getting behind — I don’t have long to wait for the next episode.
    By the way, I too have salacious dreams about swarthy men taking off their shirts for no apparent reason. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • And there’s an advantage to getting behind in the comments, as I can review the entire array of submissions and then plan things so I don’t get trapped into repeating myself, for the most part.

      Swarthy is good. Shirtlessness is even better…

      Liked by 1 person

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