Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Mile-High Club, part two. (Or, The Long Way Home)  

So as I said in yesterday’s post, I just got back from dropping my son off at his other house. He lives in Hawaii for most of the year, but he flies out to be with us for every school break, and since he’s 6, my wife and I (or just me sometimes) go with him. We’ve been doing this visit schedule pretty much since his mom left Seattle, and for the most part it’s fine.

(My exact definition of “fine” in this context is an entirely different post, of course, and it's not found in the book shown here.)

Anyway, due to some issues we weren’t able to buy the tickets when we usually do. So, by the time we were making the phone calls to see what was available, we were S.O.L. for our usual times and airlines. We were getting close to the wire by that point, so we had to grab what we could and just hope for the best. We picked a less-than-optimal package and the wife wasn’t able to come…

…So, naturally this was the worst trip we’ve taken in a while.

It’s about 5 ½ to 6 hours from Seattle to Honolulu on average, so we usually get a direct flight and we’re done with it. This time, no such luck… heading there we had to get a connection in Oakland that added about three hours to the total, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. Of course, it was the return trip that was the bitch.

On the island, we couldn’t get a room at our usual hotel, the parking attendant at the new place was a microcephalic anus, and I paid $42 for a dinner my son ate about three bites of (he scarfed peanut butter crackers back at the room afterwards) but I’ll just say that things went as well as could be expected.

So, after dropping him off, I headed to the airport and returned the rental car, checked in at the gate, and was sitting in a seat near an electrical socket (to recharge my DS) by around 11:45ish AM. My flight didn’t leave until 3PM, with an arrival time in Vegas of 11:30PM taking into account the three-hour time difference.

It was a long time to wait, but I caught up on my Death Note, finished reading City of the Dead, carved a huge chunk out of Dead Sea, and laid the litigative smack down in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. (Which isn’t nearly as good as the last three Phoenix Wright games, by the way.)

By the time I arrived in Vegas, I was pretty tired and ready to crash, but it was not to be since my flight from Vegas to Salt Lake City wasn’t until 6:30 the next morning. With nothing to do, I dropped $2 in some slot machines hoping for a big win. Didn’t win, and only killed about 70 seconds doing it. At that point, I knew it was going to be a long, painful night.

Interestingly, for a city that allegedly never sleeps and has nightlife going around the clock, the Vegas airport was utterly dead. The only shop that was open was a newsstand sporting magazines, chips and some soft drinks, and every establishment advertising hot food or other amenities was locked up tight, lights off.

The place was shockingly deserted too -- nobody could be seen except for the janitorial staff shampooing the rugs and the casino attendants who seem to have it pretty good; they’re only there to handle payouts, and since there was nobody gambling (in addition to how infrequently slots pay anyway) they were hanging out on a bench doing their hair and reading some paperbacks while they chatted.

With no place to lay out and sleep except the floor, I tried to catch a few winks in one of the seats but that was an awkward no-go, so I just sat and stared out the window at the desert’s flat landscape lit up by the strip. Sitting there eating dried banana chips and drinking pink lemonade all alone, missing my wife, dead tired and wasting time until I could get on the plane, it sort of occurred to me that times like this were what being a good dad are made of. I was suffering for my son’s sake, and I was glad to be doing it.

Ok, maybe ‘suffering’ is too dramatic a word, but at the very least... highly inconvenienced.

The night went on minute by minute, the only other thing to say about the Vegas airport being that their automatic soap dispensers are hyper-sensitive. Instead of the usual frantic handwaving that’s necessary to get these half-blind electronic bathroom sensors to work, all I had to do was get my hand vaguely in the neighborhood and the spigot happily ejaculated a blurping money shot onto my hand as I tried to water down my toothbrush and scrape the banana chip-fueled funk off of my teeth. After being soiled by this multi-orgasmic device enough times to have made a one-man bukkake film, I gave it up and went back to my seat.

(I could put a picture here, but I won’t. You can thank me later.)

Slowly the place came to life, the Starbucks getting staffed as more and more travelers trickled in. $14 for a dry ciabatta sandwich and a tall cup of hot milk so diluted that I doubt any coffee is actually in there? At that point, sure!

I left Vegas behind soon after, and arrived in Salt Lake City. It was snowing, it was small with no place to sit, and the residents catching outbound flights were doughy, unattractive, super-anglo messes reeking of uber-vanilla. That’s all I have to say about Salt lake City, though the no-cheese, extra-pineapple pizza and Red Bull I had while waiting for my connection tasted like manna from heaven after the lonely night spent in Vegas. Small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.

A few hours later I touched down in Seattle… but recalling that I got to the Hawaii airport at 11AM on the 28th and my flight was arriving in the sweet, sweet Emerald City at 1:15PM, on the 29th, the total travel time was a wee bit longer than the usual 5 ½-6 hours.

It’s not something I’d like to repeat any time soon and I was tired as hell when I got in, but we had a great visit with my son and if I had to do it all again to make sure he’d be able to come next time, I’d agree without hesitation.

I’d definitely bring a few more books and something besides banana chips next time, though.

What next?

You can also bookmark this post using your favorite bookmarking service:

Related Posts by Categories

2 comments: to “ The Mile-High Club, part two. (Or, The Long Way Home)