Terminal boredom

August 12th, 2008 by

Thank you all for the kind words regarding the murder of my cat. Sara and I have discovered that the longer she is gone, the better cat she was. The memories of stepping in a puddle of cold urine first thing in the morning are being replaced by those of her constant snoring in the background, getting whacked out on the nip and chasing invisible butterflies, and other adorabilia. But seriously, thanks for the support – it was very cool of all of you except Nathan, who is an acquaintance of mine and a fucking dick who thinks he is much funnier and smarter than he actually is.

I got to go to a wedding for one of Sara’s friends up in Detroit, and all sorts of cool stuff happened. It is my honor to share it with you.

Before I get started, there will be lots of people reading this (including possibly the bride and groom), who may mistakenly walk away with the impression that I did not enjoy myself while I was there. This could be further from the truth, but not by much. I’ll make that less clear by saying that I do not enjoy weddings as a rule, and if given the choice, I will choose not to attend a wedding because they are generally boring and I am generally selfish. However, it is good to see all of Sara’s friends whom I have grown to have feelings for that range from barest tolerance to real friendship. And in one case, a little bit of a dude-crush.

And no, I won’t explain who falls into which category. They all know who they are and where they stand.

So what I’m saying is that I had a good time and aside from the actual travel, I would choose to do it again if I could. What follows is my account of the parts that are worth retelling, which by definition are the parts that angered me, made me bleed, or otherwise sucked. Have you ever read a blog where the writer just tells you all of the stuff that was great? “This morning we went to brunch and had a delightful quiche. Then we walked in the park while it did not rain and had an uneventful ride home. Tonight we are going to watch our favorite television program while eating a Caesar salad and we will go to bed at 10:30.”

Of course you haven’t.

It all started when I hit the road to Detroit. I took Atlanta’s lousy excuse for public transportation, and was feeling oddly happy. I had my headphones jammed in my earholes, but not plugged into anything. I find this allows me to hear things like approaching cars, but makes me slightly less approachable by bums. Try it in your town. It works.

When I got to the airport, it was a little crowded, but not overly so. I have this insane habit of arriving hours early for flights, and this day was no exception. I had some work to do, so I found my gate and started looking for an electrical outlet (my laptop has a 73 inch monitor and 91 gigaflops of jpeg, so it goes through the battery in about 30 minutes) so I could get stuff done.

This brings me to my first bitchpoint – electrical outlets in airports. Slightly more precious than gold, they are located approximately every 8000 yards and are usually being used to charge someone’s iPod or leaned against by a sleeping traveler. Oh, the airport authority sometimes puts in those “charging stations” here and there, but they fail to account for the absurd number of retarded people in airports. The first such installation I encountered was two gates away from my gate, and had four stations. One was being used as a bunk for a sleeping infant, one had a bunch of backpacks on it, one was being used for its intended purpose, and the fourth one had a couple sitting at it, passionately thrusting their tongues down one another’s throats.

Fantastic. Does anyone understand how awesome it will be when fuel prices make air travel once again too expensive for stupid people?

After walking up and down the concourse a few times, I spotted a rogue outlet at my gate and plugged into it. I got all set up to be productive, and then the announcement came that my flight had been moved to the other end of the concourse. No one seemed to be paying attention (or maybe it was the fact that it was still almost two hours until my flight departed and no one cared), so I packed up and hauled ass to the new gate, knowing that there would be a frigging outlet there. But there wasn’t, so I took my chances with the battery, got on line, and started looking for the info I needed.

Then the gate changed again. Now I had to pack up and go to another concourse. So I got on the tram and finally got to gate C-8921, where there was a nice outlet at a window in a perfect spot where no one would bother me. But no goddamn wireless connection.

“Are you kidding me”, I said aloud to the confusion of those around me. I then packed up my stuff again to go on the hunt for a random connection. Somewhere at the other end of the terminal I found an access point used by the crew lounge below, and then I heard the announcement “All standby passengers on flight 666 to Detroit, please see the agent at gate whatever”. So my brilliant plan of arriving early was effectively shit on by whatever force in the universe wants me to write blogs.

It also brought me to my second bitchpoint – Airline passengers who need to be shot.

I got to the counter and got me boarding pass. There were two planes boarding through the same gate, so a couple hundred people were funneling toward the door. It was not an orderly line, but the sort of thing you see as livestock are herded through an opening in a fence. I was right at the front of the line, but only because I was standing at the ticket counter. I also did not want to walk all the way to the end, so I waited a couple of minutes where I was and then just sort of jumped in line. This was an effort not to look like a dick and get in front of everyone. I figured I got in line at the same spot I would have if I had gone to the end, and all was fair.

However, the retarded lady behind me saw things much differently.

“OH Nonononono you don’t.” I heard behind me. I ignored it, hoping she was talking to herself or someone else.
Then I heard, “You can just cut in line like that, oh no”, and I turned about halfway toward her to see if she was mad at me. She was.

I said “I waited to get in line. I’m not really cutting in…”
“Well, you need to go to the back like everyone else.” she said, waving her finger at me because she wanted me to break it off and stab her in the eye with it.
“Ehh. You know…we all have assigned seating, and the plane isn’t leaving without us…if you look at it logically…so really it’s not a big deal.”
and I was done talking to her. I turned back around and then she grabbed my upper arms with both of her hands, shoved me out of line, and said “YOU. Need to go to the end of the line.”

At this point, much went through my head, but I acted on none of it. I just put both hands in the air, took two steps back and said, “Wow. Uncalled for. I’m not sure what your exact problem is, but…”

Luckily the gate agent saw it and said “Ma’am, come over here please. Sir (looking at me), go ahead and board.” I got an intensely joyful feeling knowing that this dried up old cooze was going to lose her precious place in line. The gate agent said “Ma’am, you do not ever put your hands on another passenger. Ever. If that blah blah and an air marshal had seen it, yaddah yaddah so and so assault and on and on.” It was awesome to see a stupid person being publicly shamed. Even awesomer when she got on the plane dead last.

Another thing I was thinking about as I sat on the plane was this – and I think it is an issue that will become more pronounced as time goes on – This lady was in her mid fifties and tipped the scales at about 105 pounds. I’m not a huge or particularly scary looking guy, but I had about six inches and almost a hundred pounds on her. I know that guys aren’t supposed to hit women, but at what point in time did women come to the conclusion that they can just say and do whatever they want to someone twice their size without fear of consequence? More than once I have had a sixteen year old girl in a car cut me off and/or yell obscenities at me, and I thought “You know, someone with less judgment than I could probably kill you by punching you one time.” I’ve seen it in bars, too – some super angry 5 foot tall chick standing on her tiptoes, pushing and screaming at a guy with complete impunity.

I’m not suggesting that people should start decking each other, but maybe just settle the hell down a little and consider what could happen if you pick on the wrong dude.

I met Sara in Detroit and we were less than delighted to see that our hotel room was originally designed for a submarine. Two beds were crammed into a space so small that you had to stand on the bed to move the chair away from the desk. The bathroom reminded me of being in Europe. You stand in the shower knowing that the only thing a faucet is supposed to do is make water come out of a hole, but you’re staring at mirror with lights glowing through it and what appears to be a bowl of fruit hanging inverted from the ceiling, wondering when you are going to get clean.

This bathroom was completely tiled and had a drain in one corner. The shower head was mounted to the ceiling and the shower itself was just sort of an area near the drain, from what I could tell. The toilet was mounted to the wall with some kind of high-powered air cannon that helped it flush via a button next to the sink, and the sink was the only thing that really looked like what it was.

After a night of partying and drinking with the guys, the girls all went to do whatever girls do before weddings ,and the guys went to breakfast to try and kill a hangover. Afterward, I went back to my room to do some studying and take a nap before the wedding. After an hour of studying airplane stuff, I thought to myself “I do believe I’ll go shoot out a log and then settle in for a nap. It’s gonna be awesome.”

About midway through the dedication of my underwater monument, I performed a courtesy flush for no one in particular. At some point in the past few minutes the bowl had separated from the wall, and the violence that followed was horrifying. First of all, the sound of the flush itself made me think I was going to be castrated, and then about 700 gallons of water shot out from between the toilet and the wall, drenching me and pretty much everything in the bathroom and triggering my fight or flight response.

Not knowing how exactly one would fight a toilet, I chose flight. I took about a dozen extremely small steps toward the door (due to my pants being around my ankles) and threw myself into the bedroom in a soggy frightened heap. I was sort of yelling and laughing, because I knew that if anyone had been in the room when I came pouring out of the bathroom…well, they would have officially seen the most hilarious thing they would ever see.

I was afraid to look into the bathroom – assuming it would look like a monkey cage in there – but apparently the pipe that broke was the incoming water, which is ostensibly clean. Much like a man’s underwear can never be considered clean, neither is any of the water that comes from a toilet. Both of our toothbrushes were wet, hair brushes, my shaving kit, her makeup, towels, and pretty much everything else that was left in there. Then I remembered the bridesmaid dress that was hanging inside the door and thought, “Hmm. If I leave now, I can be back in Atlanta in time to pack and move out before anyone realizes the wedding is screwed up.” Luckily The spray pattern missed the door and spared the dress (as far as they know).

My next big realization was that I was not clean, either. I was also soaking wet and without toilet. I decided the only thing I could do is take a shower, so I did, and then threw away most of our bathroom stuff before calling maintenance. As soon as he showed up, he beelined for the flush button like I was a big liar or something. “Whoa, there. Might not want to do that.” I said. “I gotta see what the problem is” he said. I said, “Look at the bathroom. That stuff on the ceiling is water. You don’t want to push that button, I promise.” He turned down the water pressure and did it anyway. Less violent, but just as much water.

We got a much better room out of it. And they replaced our toothbrushes.

The wedding was a wedding. It was all weddingy and they had a bagpiper and everybody was pretty and all of that stuff. Nothing really wacky happened, so that’s all I can say about that.

The trip home, however, blew goat ass. I fly standby because I am poor and my father used to work for Delta. I decided to take the 11 am flight to Atlanta on Sunday. It was full, so I waited until 1:00. Missed that one as well. And I missed the next seven because they were all full too. Sara was leaving Monday at noon, so I decided to try and make the flight at 6 am on monday. Guess who was now rocking 24 hours in the airport and two days in the same clothes? Sara’s flight left with her on it, and I had more or less resigned myself to at least another day in Detroit.

I wasn’t the only one, either. There were several other chumps like me who had been there almost as long as I had. The problem with getting out of Detroit is that while there are thirty flights a day, you can only go to Atlanta or Cincinnati. Add to that the fact that Detroit is a massive shithole and everyone wants to get the hell out, and you have a bunch of overbooked flights.

At one point, another shining example of douchedom approached the gate agent and said “What do the rest of the flights look like?”
She told him something he didn’t want to hear, and he pounded his fist on the counter, saying “Dammit, I NEED TO GET TO ATLANTA.”

Since I am flying on cheap tickets via a privilege that can easily be revoked, I am not able to do and say everything I would like to do and say, but were the circumstances different, it might have gone like this –

“Really, asshole? You need to get to Atlanta? That’s somewhat unique, because I myself have just been looking forward to an extended camping trip in a fucking airport and really have no interest in getting where this ticket says I am going. Do you really think that you are the most inconvenienced of everybody here? How about you pretend you are an adult and suck it up like the rest of us, you worthless skidmark.”

Watching people along with a bunch of other people who are watching people is a great lesson in nonverbal communication. On about my ninth flight, I was sitting in the gate, and this guy was pacing around with his stupid bluetooth thing, yelling a conversation with somebody. “WELL, MARK, WE CANT…NO. I SPECIFIED THE 5901 PRODUCT AND THEY TOOK DELIVERY OF THE 6302. WHAT I THINK SHOULD HAPPEN IS WE SHOULD CALL THE TRANSPORT COMPANY AND – WAIT, DID YOU TALK TO SUZANNE TODAY? BECAUSE SHE SAID SHE WENT OVER THE FLOW WITH THE PROJECT MANAGER AND…”

And we all exchanged glances like “what is this guy’s problem?” people were trying to sleep, but he was just yelling away. Not angry, just talking way too loud.

“OKAY. HAVE HER CALL ME AT THIS NUMBER: 530-555-9821. OKAY? THATS MY CELL. YEAH, DO THAT AND I’LL FOLLOW UP WITH THAT. NOW DO WE HAVE THE PIECES IN PLACE FOR THE MILLER ACCOUNT? WE SHOULD GET THOSE SMACKFOAM ORDER PLATES RECRANKIFIED…”

And people snickered as I instantly whipped out my phone. The guy next to me said “oh, man. You’re going to call him?” and people began to fidget at gate B19.

I sent him the following text message – “Dear sir, could you kindly lower the volume of your voice? People are trying to do other things. Sincerely, the people at B19.”

Then I turned off my phone in case he called the number back and went insane with rage. I was going to blame it on the punk kid playing his iPod too loud.

“SO SAM AND I MET ABOUT THAT YESTERDAY AND HE SAYS THAT THE LATEST ORDER OF FLIMFLAM IS…OH, HOLD ON. THAT MIGHT BE HIM NOW.”

He looked at his phone, read what I think was my message, looked at 82 people staring back at him from gate B19, and very sheepishly walked down the concourse to finish his conversation. I’m telling you, public shaming is the way to a better society. I know it hurts people’s little precious fragile feelings, and that’s practically against the law in the Pussozoic era in which we presently live, but it is devastatingly effective.

31 Responses to “Terminal boredom”

  1. on 12 Aug 2008 at 1:03 pm Randi

    You’re the funniest, smartest person I know. That said, thank you for “shoot out a log”. It helped relieve the torment I’ve been suffering since losing you to Sara.

  2. on 12 Aug 2008 at 1:14 pm Blackie

    O M G best idea ever.
    Thank you a thousand times over from everyone ever assaulted by loud assed self important cell phone talkers. (if I may speak for that group…)

    I will be plagiarizing this idea at my first opportunity.

    BTW, thanks for for sharing the old posts about Queasy. I read them to my “skirt” and she laughed so hard she couldn’t breath. I also needed the funny after I bawled my damned eyes out.
    Sorry for your loss mate.

  3. on 12 Aug 2008 at 2:24 pm Sara - not the skirt

    Love your blog and sense of humor!

    thanks for the laughs!

  4. on 12 Aug 2008 at 2:53 pm Countessa

    2 things:

    You totally kick ass with your text msg to the loud douchebag. When going to Detroit, try Northwest if at all possible. Your options are then Memphis or Denver (I think).

  5. on 12 Aug 2008 at 3:42 pm HRT

    I was all kinds of going to give you props for that wicked awesome txt’ing move, but if I do that now I’ll just look like a copycat, and if there’s one thing I’m not it’s a jealous man-whore. Actually I am.

  6. on 12 Aug 2008 at 8:18 pm Ross

    You should have posted the guys real number so your minions could annoy the guy periodicaly. I have been reading since the famed “album covers” era. I read your stuff every six months or so (so about every other time you post), and never bothered to post anything, though I have enjoyed your musings for quite a while and have been anonymously stealing some of your phrases such as “flick the bean”, “owlshit cassorole”, “lick my my taint until it shines like a new penny” and several others. Too bad your cat died, I enjoyed your stories about it. I travel a lot and transit the Atlanta hub frequently (I am usually one of the snoring piles of unwashed flesh blocking the outlets). Thanks for the laughs over the years.

    Patrick

  7. on 12 Aug 2008 at 11:29 pm mark

    I could really get behind a strong campaign of public shaming. You are absolutely right in that public shaming is the way to a better society in the “Pussozoic era.” Fantastic post.

  8. on 13 Aug 2008 at 12:24 am Tunegoon

    Dusty Strikes Again. I laughed, I cried, I wondered what happened to the deep-sea submarine in the bathroom.

  9. on 13 Aug 2008 at 12:56 am Steve P.

    Classic Dusty. A good Queasy joke, an act of physical hilariousness, and 2 public smackdowns.

    No one on the internet is as enjoyable to read.

  10. on 13 Aug 2008 at 2:41 am TLee007

    It’s truly nice to see that you’re life is as shitty as everyone else’s man. Oh, wait, that’s not what I meant.

    What I meant to say was that that was one of the funniest blog posts that I’ve read in a LONG ass time, and I read a LOT!!

    Thanks man, you made my night!!

    Trent πŸ™‚

  11. on 13 Aug 2008 at 7:09 am Deanna

    HILARIOUS!

  12. on 13 Aug 2008 at 9:34 am David

    Good stuff as usual, but the pervert in me has to ask – why ‘two beds?’

  13. on 13 Aug 2008 at 10:43 am bart

    “I got to the counter and got me boarding pass.”

    Yarr, matey. I think ye be turning into a pirate. I only point it out because I care…

  14. on 13 Aug 2008 at 11:01 am robert

    love the BT guy smackdown. where did common courtesy go?

  15. on 13 Aug 2008 at 11:50 am Asmith80

    hahaha omg texting that guy is hilarious and the exact right way to handle that situation… I always try to find an empty gate to make my phone calls in or if that’s not an option then you make use of text messaging, cause there are always people sleeping around me. Thank you for the soaked hotel bathroom image painted in my mind, it is a great one.

  16. on 13 Aug 2008 at 7:33 pm BM #2

    Well I’m happy that I didn’t fall in the category of “f*cking annoying”!!!

    I can’t wait for St. Croix!

    Barely Tolerable Bridesmaid #2

  17. on 13 Aug 2008 at 7:39 pm Alasdair

    Sorry Dusty, but you’re in real danger of enforcing the stereotype of the pushy American who can’t queue properly. I would’ve done the same thing as the old woman who pushed your arse out of line! Unless I recognised you, whereby I would have considered it a privilige to line up behind your, um, behind…

  18. on 14 Aug 2008 at 5:51 am Judith

    Let me get this right – you think it’s okay to shove your way into a line of people who have been patiently waiting to get on board because your bigger than everyone else in the line?

    I’m sorry the flight attendant didn’t see you acting the bully but then that’s how it was in grade school too – it was never the bully that got caught – only the kid who got tired of being pushed around.

    I only wish she had kicked you in the balls instead of grabbing your arm.

  19. on 14 Aug 2008 at 6:43 am dusty

    Niiiiice. I thought I explained it well enough that I was not cutting in line, but rather funneling in with everyone else but I understand that reading comprehension is not everyone’s strong point (Judith).

    Yes, I shoved my way in line, kicked a baby out of his stroller, pissed on the lady behind me, and screamed “OUT OF MY WAY, YOU WORTHLESS (insert racial slur here)’S!! I CAN DO WHAT I WANT BECAUSE I’M BIGGER THAN YOU AND DUSTY LIKE SMAAAASH!!” Then I grabbed the baby by the ankles and used it as a club to get everyone out of line in front of me (surprisingly effective, as most people don’t want to take a baby to the face), raped my way into first class, snuggled under my stars and bars blankey, and dreamt sweet dreams of who I would oppress next.

    That’s exactly how it happened. And the GATE AGENT did see the entire thing, as she was 3 feet away. Read all of the words in the story if you want to play.

  20. on 14 Aug 2008 at 7:13 am Samantha

    Congratulations. You finally came up with a clever title.

  21. on 14 Aug 2008 at 7:29 am HRT

    Duuude, your reply to Judith’s comment was classic! I can’t see straight I was laughing so hard! But seriously, if someone’s going to try and call you out, it might help if they impose just a little reading comprehension.

  22. on 14 Aug 2008 at 8:46 am Jen

    omg, I’m laughing so hard…especially at your reply.

  23. on 14 Aug 2008 at 10:28 am Sheppe

    Dusty, I almost had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard about your fight or flight response. Reading your new blog entries is often the highlight of my day. πŸ™‚

  24. on 14 Aug 2008 at 1:40 pm ChicagoJo

    I’ve long held the opinion that if my 5’2″ self ever hits a guy, I deserve what comes at me.

  25. on 14 Aug 2008 at 3:53 pm warcrygirl

    β€œDear sir, could you kindly lower the volume of your voice? People are trying to do other things. Sincerely, the people at B19.”

    There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how awesome you are. Also: You were attacked by a toilet? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  26. on 15 Aug 2008 at 3:05 pm Ryan

    The imagery of the submarine bathroom is priceless. I will forever have a mental image of you fleeing the drenched room with soaked pants around your ankles after “the cannon” broke loose.
    Thanks, Man!

  27. on 15 Aug 2008 at 4:54 pm Rachel

    I literally LAUGHED OUT LOUD and had to take a break at your description of fleeing from the broken toilet. Priceless. And might I say, reminiscent of David Sedaris. Brilliant.

  28. on 15 Aug 2008 at 6:32 pm BM #1

    Dear Dusty-

    Sorry to say that by marrying Sara you marry us all. But it I agree, it was a fantastic time and can’t wait for your wedding!

    Barely Tolerable Bridemaid #1

  29. on 16 Aug 2008 at 11:17 am davejase

    Oh man, Dusty… I actually got the shakes. Airport life ain’t exactly Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Dude, you killed it with that text: I can’t WAIT for Monday- flying out of KBDL for, of course, KATL. If I see that self absorbed sac o’ poopy, or anyone remotely APPROXIMATING him… I’ll send your warmest regards. Minus the actual link to your blog of course. Thanks for another great freakin post kid

  30. on 16 Aug 2008 at 11:23 am davejase

    Holy Hell, I just read your response to our dear friend Judith. Woe be it the blog responder that is ill informed! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH LMFAO… I think she’s a few inches shorter than her original oompa loompa stature! There’s a woman that needs a whiskey…

  31. on 16 Aug 2008 at 10:43 pm fourthstooge

    thanx again Dusty for a wonderful look into your multifaceted life…

    rock on.