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Fortified by pharmaceuticals, I tried to enjoy the rest of my day.
Granted, the fact that something wasn’t quite sorted with my international-travel status is a bit of trivia that one does not easily ignore, especially with a flight pending in the morning. Visions of doom accompanied me wherever we went in Málaga, intruding upon our otherwise pleasant activities. I would be innocently reviewing the ruins of the Roman amphitheater, contemplating ancient crowds perusing pageantry, when I would get a flash of myself as Brad Davis in “Midnight Express”, languishing in a Turkish prison where there was nothing to do but sweat and wait.
Of course, Brad’s character in that movie had actually done something he shouldn’t have, which then kicked off that whole homoerotic incarceration mess. I hadn’t done anything, to my knowledge. And the flight to Spain had been a breeze, with nary a hint that I was a threat to world stability. So if I had done something wrong, I must have done it after we landed in Málaga, and the only thing I could think of that even minimally approached the level of a crime was my mangling of the Spanish language.
Oh, wait, maybe that was it. Perhaps, in a desperate attempt to order some gambas pil-pil and a tankard of cerveza, I may have inadvertently announced that I was a high-ranking official in the Taliban. That would certainly cause one to pause. And then there was that mildly-drunken night in the Cómpeta town square when I may or may not have done an interpretive dance despite the fact that no music was playing. And that time at the Alhambra when I clattered my way into a restricted area because I have an issue with people telling me I can’t do things and-
“Stop it,” said Partner.
I blinked and returned to the present, with us strolling through the gardens of the Catedral de Málaga. “Stop what?”
“Doing all that drama crap in your head. There’s nothing we can do about your flight status until we get to the airport. We’ll just leave a little bit early and take care of it.”
I sighed. “You’re right. I’ll stop worrying about it.”
This was a complete lie. But I did calm down a little bit and, eventually, I even stopped trying to check-in on the Delta Airlines app every thirty minutes. That heinous message that kept popping up, saying I needed to physically speak with a Delta agent, was slowly destroying my soul. (Modern technology can be wonderful, but it can also create new anxieties. Back in the day, I wouldn’t have known there was an issue until I showed up at the airport. Of course, back in that same day, security at airports was negligible at best and there was no such thing as “flagging” passengers. You could waltz onto a plane with a harpoon gun and nobody would say a thing.)
Side note to those of you of a certain age: Remember when they allowed smoking on airplanes? (There were actually ashtrays in the armrests.) It was a ludicrous arrangement, with “smoking” and “non-smoking” sections, despite the fact that we were all in the same metal tube and that smoke was going everywhere. And the flight attendants were called “stewardesses”, a word that is now verboten, and they all looked like Barbie dolls, sporting skirt-suits and perfectly coiffed hair, lacquered with so much hairspray that all those cigarette lighters going off posed a spontaneous-combustion threat.
We headed back to the hotel in the late afternoon, as we had a very early start the next morning. (We had arranged with the front desk for a 4:00am wake-up call and a taxi at 5:15, since our flight was at 8:15 and we had to deal with that whole business of me being flagged as an infidel, never mind the usual torture of getting through security.)
To ease ourselves into slumber, we watched movies on Partner’s laptop. One of them was “Finding Dory”, the sequel to “Finding Nemo”. Have you seen that thing? It’s actually very traumatic for a kiddie movie. Poor little Ellen DeGeneres went through some serious psychological drama in her fishy childhood. It’s like those old-school Disney movies, where parents are always dying and Pinocchio is tormented by fever dreams. Walt Disney was just a bit warped. And don’t even get me started on “Old Yeller”.
Despite our best-laid plans, I still didn’t drift off until after 11pm.
At 3:57am my phone pinged. I refused to look at it, because I still had three minutes of sleep left, damn it. At 4am, the wake-up call from the front desk arrived. Partner handled it professionally and thanked them. (I would have thrown the damn instrument against the wall, because I was in a mood.) I picked up my phone and checked out the ping. It was a text from Delta Airlines, with the glorious news that our 8:15am flight was now delayed and wouldn’t be leaving until after noon.
Hold up. What about our connecting flight in New York?
Delta texted again. “You will not be able to make your connection in New York. So sorry. You will need to make new booking arrangements.”
I will need to make them? You screwed this up.
Third Delta text. “We screwed up. Click here to speak with a booking agent who will do her very best to pretend that this is not the crapfest that it is.”
First text from Expedia, the app I had used to set up this whole adventure. “Word on the street is that you’re screwed. Please don’t hold this against us when you fill out our customer-satisfaction survey, should you ever make it back home. Have a nice flight!”
I looked over at Partner, who had that bleary-eyed expression one has when one has stayed up too late in a foreign country, watching Dory get traumatized when they should have been sleeping. He noticed my own expression and his eyes narrowed. “What?”
“We’ve got a problem.”
Click here to read the next bit of madness in this series…
Categories: My Life