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Key West Vacation—Day 5

~Thursday~ Today's entry is going to be mostly downbeat and whiny, as it was the last day of vacation and a not-at-all pleasant trip back to Raleigh over two flights. Feel free to stop here and come back tomorrow.

The first thing I did when I got up this morning, which was at about 7:15, was to make sandwiches with the pumpernickel bread we bought last night and with the remaining turkey, ham, and Cheddar and Muenster cheeses. I ate one of them for breakfast while I was making them.

Since we had to check out by 11:00, I showered and packed to be ready to go at 11:00, and then I went down to the poolside restaurant, where I had coffee and ate my half of the chocolate chip cookie Joe bought us at that dinner place last night. I saved the half of the oatmeal and raisin one for later in the day, since it was easier to store without worrying about any chocolate in it melting.



Our flight from Key West didn't leave until 5:50, so after checking out at 11:00, we got a locker in the gym area, where I kept my laptop bag to have access to my Mac, a couple of cans of soda that we had left, and a little bit of bourbon, which I started working on just before noon. Hey, it's 5:00 somewhere. And it's not like I had to drive to the airport.

Late in the afternoon, we had lunch of the sandwiches, and in an amusing turn of events, the bottle of salad dressing we had bought to use as a condiment on our sandwiches and had left in the refrigerator by our rooms when we checked out, was on a tray near the restaurant area, and I nabbed it back and used some.



Our taxi driver didn't say a word to us the whole way, so we had a wad of cash totaling $18 to hand to him when we arrived at the airport—the fare is $8.00 per person and we allowed a $1 tip for each of our bags. We had given the taxi driver we'd had on the way in on Sunday $2 for each bag, since he at least acknowledged our existence.

After this driver put our bags on the sidewalk, he said, "That's $17." Okay, it's supposed to be $16, which means he was trying to stiff us. Joe handed him the wad of $18, and lucky for him—the taxi driver—he didn't say anything. Because I certainly would have called him both on his (non) customer service attitude, and for charging us an extra buck—either for no reason, or if there was one, without explaining it.



In the Delta check-in area, the kiosk I was using to print my boarding pass hung up in the middle of the transaction, and one of the agents at the counter—they had no customers there at all—said, "Come on over here and I'll help you."

As he was pulling up my reservation, the lady agent beside him said, "Yeah, sometimes those things just stop responding—in the middle of a session—for no apparent reason, and no matter how many times you touch it nothing happens."

To which I retorted, "Yeah, I've had that same experience with some men," and they both started laughing as what I'd said slowly registered.



Our two-hour flight from Key West to Atlanta was fraught with kids who evidently had parents who hadn't modeled the behavior of inside voice and consideration for those around them. Daddy, and his daughter Alex who was a little terror running in the terminal before going through security, of course ended up in the seat right in front of us.

They played "Old Maid" and about the fourth time I heard the daughter ask daddy if he had a "Singing Sally," I wanted to say, "No, but he does have an Annoying Alex."

The other daughter of this evidently raised-in-the-wild family, sat across the aisle and on the other side of the mother, where another instance of a failure to consider the world outside the microcosm of self was manifesting itself as I described with this Facebook status update:

Question for parents: Why would you let a child just loudly say over and over and over, 'La la la la la?'

And by over and over, I mean, like for five minutes straight. I just don't understand.

Meanwhile, in the three seats in our row, on the other side of the aisle, the most disgusting act of heterosexuality flaunting was going on. A Caucasian man, with an Asian girlfriend/wife/partner/Internet pick-up, at most half his age, twisted and turned in their seats in every conceivable contortion to maximize indiscreet god-knows-what, all with a little girl with them in the seat by the window.

They, and by they I mean the adults, tried to turn sideways in the seats so that they could lie down. This meant that when they tried in the direction facing us, the guy leaned back on the girlfriend, who evidently was crushing the child behind her.

The man was a complete idiot. At one point later in the flight after all that gyrating in the seats, he got up and walked toward the middle of the plane, and standing in the aisle he sort of reached his hand out toward the window over the people sitting in the exit row. He did this on both sides, while looking back and grinning at the girlfriend who was still in her seat.

I don't know if he was joking that he was going to open the doors mid-flight, or what, but it got to the point where I started to get a little alarmed. I was really surprised one of the flight attendants didn't come and make him sit down.

And, then, about 15 minutes before we landed, warm air started being pumped into the cabin in the place of the air-conditioning that had been blowing the rest of the way. It got ridiculously hot in there. I was never so glad to land and get off a plane as I was when we finally did.

To no one's surprise, once inside the Atlanta airport, "Alex" tore away from her parents running around the terminal, while the parents said, "Come back here, Alex," but neither enforced what they said nor outlined consequences for failure to obey, as she darted over into the entrance of a men's room.



Our Atlanta to Raleigh-Durham flight started off poorly with at 15-minute delay due to the incoming plane arriving late. It was a 757, so a big-ass plane, which took quite a while to empty and clean once it did arrive. In the meantime, they'd announced a couple of times that the flight was completely full, and they'd even gone so far as asking for some volunteers to take a $400 voucher and to fly out tomorrow morning.

Our original boarding time was at 8:20 for the 8:50 flight. Then it was announced that we'd start boarding at 9, and then as 9:00 approached, the projected boarding time was moved to 9:20. Once boarding did finally start, it took a while, since it was such a big plane. And of course, they kept repeating what a full flight it was and for everyone to make sure they stored any large bags in the overhead bin and put the smaller ones under their seat.

Joe and I were in row 33 and in "Zone 4" for loading, the last zone to be called, and at which point they decided that they just weren't going to take a chance with any more luggage and they made all of us check our carry-ons.

Yeah, let's go ahead and punish a random group of people who were unlucky enough to be in a particular zone instead of anticipating this problem from the very beginning and picking bags intermittently, perhaps by how big they were—to punish people with huge bags that probably should have been checked anyway. Hmmm. Some specific criteria to provide consequences for failure to obey, or criteria that truly punishes randomly. What a concept.

We finally got through all that drama and when I arrived suitcase-less at my seat, a lady was already in it. Turns out she was supposed to be in D, not C, and she moved over. I moved into the B seat, and when Joe got there, he took the C seat.

No sooner had everyone boarded, the pilot came on, "Ladies and gentleman. This plane was towed over here after it was refueled after landing, and it seems that there is too much fuel in it for us to take off. We're having to wait for a few fuel trucks to come over and drain some of the fuel out of the plane. We've been asking for them for 45 minutes, and we've been told they're coming, but they haven't arrived yet. Once they do arrive, it'll take about 15 minutes to get the fuel out, and then we can queue up for take-off."



I was really bummed out at this point and just went into a downward spiral (good thing we were still on the ground) about another vacation ended by being ruined with the flight home. Flying is really such a hassle any more, as it seems to be the rule, rather than the exception, that there is some kind of issue or delay.

I remembered my trip to Chicago over Memorial Day weekend, when I was supposed to leave at 9:00 in the morning, arriving at 11:00, and have the whole day there. That flight was canceled though, and I couldn't get out of Raleigh until almost 7:00 that night, virtually wasting a whole day of vacation here and losing a day of fun there. And on the way back from that trip, there was a 30-minute delay for a maintenance issue that had to be tended to.

We finally took off at around 10:00 I think it was, and other than the very tall guy sitting to my left, whose spread legs kept pushing against the divider between my seat and his, and who kept his e-reader on even after the, "Everything with an on or off switched needs to be turned off at this time," announcement, the flight was uneventful.

Oh yeah we did have to wait a minute or two when we got to the gate in Raleigh "for the ground crew to get in place for us." Yeah, god forbid they'd've used that whole hour we were late to "get in place" for us.

Needless to say it was extra annoying waiting for our bags since we shouldn't have had to check them to begin with.

I was going to go ahead and catch the bus to long-term parking to get the car while Joe waited for our bags, and then just pick him up at the arrival area, but in the little-to-no notice that I'd had that I'd have to check my bag, I hadn't thought to get my car keys out of it before surrendering it. Fuckers.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Sep. 20th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
park and fly tip
There is a park and ride lot at the regional transit center, not far from the airport. You can park there for free and ride a Triangle Transit bus over to RDU (100 or 105). It's a very short bus ride and way cheaper than dealing with remote parking at RDU. Of course you have to watch when you buy your tickets and make sure there's transit service, or you can take a cab over there if the schedules don't quite synch.

Ann

dailyafirmation
Sep. 21st, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
Re: park and fly tip
Thanks for this, Ann! I'll definitely check this out next trip!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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