Back at the hotel, I checked out, and Anna drove me to the airport early for my 12:45 flight, as I wanted her to be able to get on with her day, since she was staying in Utah an extra day. I could just as easily wait at the airport as at the coffee shop or hotel.
On the way, we each confessed that neither one of us was as passionate as we once were about that article on social media that we were going to co-author, and agreed that we'd definitely like to collaborate intellectually in the future if and when the opportunity presents itself.
At the Salt Lake City airport, I had an uneventful check-in and jaunt through security. Once I got to the gate, I noticed that the flight board said that my flight's final destination was Raleigh-Durham. Since I had a three-hour layover in Dallas, I asked if this plane was going to sit there all that time, and he said, "No, we leave shortly after our stop in DFW to go on to RDU." And to that end, he put me on standby for that flight, in addition to being confirmed for the 7:25 flight.
I made a note of my plight—which wasn't a bad position to be in—I might be home three hours earlier than anticipated riding in coach (assuming that first class would already be full if I did get on that flight), with the worst case scenario being staying with my original first class flight. Life is good.
I had about an hour at the gate, and I used an outlet with a red plate and stenciled, black letters on it that said, "Emergency Power." Since it didn't say "Only," I went ahead and used it—to no untoward consequences.
I boarded confidently this time when First Class boarding was announced and took my seat in 6B as if I fly in the warmed nuts section of the aircraft every time I travel now. My seatmate in 6A was talking to her sisters, who were behind the wall behind our seats that divided us from steerage.
A lady boarded who had a huge bag over her shoulder, and as she scrounged around for overhead bin space, usurping extra space in the first class bins even though she was sitting in the first row of coach, she 'bout knocked my block off a couple of times making "wide turns" with that potentially lethal saddlebag unknowingly yielding near misses behind her.
Once in-flight service began, it was again with the ramekin [with props to Leslie] and the hot nuts. I already don't remember what I had to eat, but I remember drinking Jack and Diet Coke the entire two hours or so.
At one point, my seatmate got up to use the restroom, and I followed a minute behind her. As I got up to lavatory, she was coming out immediately after going in and alerted that flight attendants that there was "something wrong" in there. She excused herself past me to go to the lavatory in the rear of the plane, and I waited just a minute or so while one of the flight attendants finished filling up a stainless steel water pitcher and then, presumably, dumped its contents into the toilet.
She came out shaking her head, intimating it was to no avail, and I said, "Oh, is it a female problem in there?" to which she laughed and said, "No, definitely a male problem." I'm not sure if either one of us knew what any of that meant, but we both laughed like we did.
When I got to the back of the plane, my seatmate was coming out of that lavatory, and indicating that it was safe, I went in after her. Back at our seats, after not saying a word the entire first hour of the flight, we became fast friends in the remaining hour. Funny how that happens.
Her name was Elba, and she'd been in SLC for the 2010 Nu Skin Convention. She noted the very motivational keynote speaker, Kevin Carrol, an author, speaker and agent for social change. She had a huge, silver purse:
that was filled with a lot of silver stuff. Since I just Googled it to find that picture, I now know that it's a Nu Skin product. At the time, I thought it was a prize or reward for reaching a certain sales level or something, like a scaled-down version of a Mary Kay Pink Cadillac. Bless my mess.
Showing off my newly-acquired skill of two days ago, I yanked open my armrest to pull out my tray table with the utmost skill and sophistication only to watch in horror as it completely disconnected from its hinges and landed on the floor in the aisle. Have another Jack and Diet.
We had a lot of good conversation the rest of the way. Elba's a single mom, raising two boys, one of whose name is Morgan Morgan Morgan. We talked about a lot of things that matter, including the final months of her mom's life, and I ended up giving her my blog address, so I'll take this opportunity to say, "Hey, Elba! Hope you got home safely and you adored your boys welcoming you home."
At the DFW airport, I waited on standby for that 5:10 flight to Raleigh, but it turned out to be oversold, so even though I was #2 on the standby list, I didn't have a chance in hell of getting on. They ended up offering vouchers to two or three people who were already confirmed on the flight that they couldn't accommodate, one option being a $200 voucher and being moved to the flight I was confirmed on at 7:25 or a $300 voucher to spend the night in Dallas and catch an early morning flight out tomorrow.
I did wait until the bitter end though, in case a confirmed passenger had a heart attack or something and had to give up their seat, and when they finally announced that all seats were confirmed occupied, I made my way over to concourse A for my originally scheduled 7:25 flight.
While I was waiting, I called my cousin, Lisa, in Atlanta to profusely thank her for the bread that she sent to me for my birthday, which had arrived on Thursday before I'd left on Friday. It was a beautifully-presented package of a loaf of Cranberry Orange bread and a Mocha Chocolate Chip bread from breadwinnerbreads.com:
This is an extra-thoughtful gift as I am an absolute bread fanatic, and particularly love it as a vehicle for butter.
Unfortunately, we had a terrible cell phone connection, so we cut our call short with the promise to be back in touch soon. Well, here ya go! Thanks, again, cuz! I love you! :-)
I was once again in 6B on the Dallas to Raleigh flight, during which I sat next to a business man with whom I did not exchange a word. At times he was watching some inane movie on DVD on his laptop. Not that I was looking or anything.
I luxuriated in the quiet time by drinking more bourbons and Diet Cokes, generously supplied by the super, first class (and I mean that in every way) flight attendant, who brought me a can of Diet Coke with as much of it poured into a glass that would fit with one pocket rocket already in it, and then handed me the rest of the can with another pocket rocket "on standby so you won't have to wait for me to get back," she said.
This was to be repeated a couple of times, causing me to post this Facebook status update:
and to the point that I ended up with two pocket rockets in my, well, pocket when it was all said and done.
I listened to one of the most compelling episodes of This American Life that I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot of them. The episode was called Life After Death and it consisted of three stories of people who had accidentally killed someone and about how they've dealt with that for the rest of their lives. While the whole episode was powerful, Act I was absolutely entrancing to me:
Act One. Guilty As Not Charged.
You can listen to the entire episode, or fast forward to about the 9-minute mark to hear Act I.
I landed at RDU at about 10:50 PM, immediately found my car thanks to Casey's note that it was parked near the pole marked "A3" in Lot #3, and I was down at Flex by 11:30 for the end of scareyoke with Joe.
I ordered a Diet Coke, which comes in one of those big plastic, red Solo cups at Flex, and in the bathroom, I dumped my two Jack pocket rockets right into it.
A great end to a great weekend.