It was an uneventful trip. Almost. I did not realize at the last minute my flight out left too early to finish up some work before leaving for the airport and had to reschedule it. In no way did I work until the very last minute and do an impression of a formula one driver in a Fiesta on the way to the airport.
Once arriving to said airport checking in was as smooth as a babies bottom. The checkin process did not require intervention by a pleasant but harried agent because the checkin software froze in a manner the agent “had never seen before”. Not causing me to wonder how many other ways had he seen it freeze.
My seat was not next to an older couple who, in response to the attendants standard announcement about electronic devices, disdainfully looked at my computer and exclaimed that they did not like any form of electronics. At this point no thought crossed my mind that I believed they also meant the electric light bulb.
I did not arrive at my destination to discover my luggage was back in Denver and receive the airline gift of a toothbrush and tiny tube of paste designed for a “my first toothbrush” kit. I did not enter the hotel shower intending to cleanse the plane grunge away to discover there was no soap and be thankful for the “my first soap bar” from the airline.
I absolutely did not go to bed with the fear that my instructions to hold my delivered luggage at the front desk until I called would be ignored and I would be woken up at two in the morning by a knock on my front door by an overzealous bellman.
On the return flight I did not discover the very last seat on the plane had even less leg room than all of the other seats due to some strange bulge under the second to last seat. I also did not discover that that last seat was mine.
I absolutely did not have a passenger sitting next to me who not only felt the middle seat included both armrests on either side but also could fall asleep in such a manner as to occupy more space than should be physically possible by any single person let alone a fairly thin man in his seventies.
No matter how much I refer to denial as a coping mechanism the one thing that can’t be denied is that I was able to spend some time with some very good friends of mine and that made all of the things that did not happen worth while.
California Highways are notorious for traffic but not known for the endless entertainment they can provide. Now my California peeps will read this and think I am out of my mind or “…and he hasn’t been institutionalized yet? Imagine that”.I have spent a few years recently in Southern California but I also lived in DC and Northern Virginia (NOVA) for fifteen years and I contend its traffic situation is worse. The NOVA traffic was nowhere near as predictable as Southern California and that is why it was more painful. Now if you have followed my adventures here you know that I was back in Southern California recently for the funeral services of loved ones. I won’t recount that here, please read “Family, Much Harder to Say Goodbye Than to Love” for the riveting details. What I will reveal is just how entertaining a Southern California traffic jam (SCTJ) can be. No really, I am sober and my room has no padding. If you are a passenger and a people watcher then I highly recommend the SCTJ experience. It rivals LAX in people watching*.
“Floppy Hat Girl”. She was the first person of interest we spotted in our SCTJ experience from LA to San Diego on a holiday weekend. The traffic was expected, the entertainment value was not. I was alerted to Floppy Hat Girl when my sister had pointed her out by saying “how can that girl see where she is driving?”. Turning around I spotted her pulling up along side of us. To this day I still have no idea what she looked like. If I was an eye witness to a crime she committed my only response in the interview would have been, “I think the perp” , too many cop shows, “ was a female. Her cheek bones gave me that impression. It was hard to tell . She had this blue floppy hat that obscured the rest of here features. Honestly I don’t know how she drove the get away car”. Floppy Hat Girl provided us with some good moments along the drive. I even wrote a little song dedicated to “My Floppy Hat Girl”. I am working out the chords on my guitar. I will let you know when it drops.
Next up in the cavalcade of characters was the cliche Southern Californian. In this case a shoeless female looking totally chill in the parking lot of an SC traffic Jam. How do I know she was shoeless you ask? The bare foot propped up on the driver side window was a big clue. I figured as a fashion conscious California girl her shoes or lack thereof were matching.
The driver that made me laugh the most was one that I did not see first hand but was witnessed by my cousin-in-law in our caravan. Apparently this particular driver had gotten hungry during the drive , or the park in this case, and was spotted warming tortillas on his dash board. It appeared to my cousin-in-law that once warm he was eating it plain. This led to all sorts of speculation as to whether he preps his dashboard with any cooking spray or special spices and what types of dashboards make the best warmers. Does it only work for tortillas or can bread or buns be substituted? You can take it from there I am sure.
The commute to San Diego from LA took over four hours and as experiences go I would not intentionally seek it out. But if you find your self in this position make sure you are a passenger and pay attention to those around you. It will make the experience a little more bearable. A package of tortillas and a can of Pam couldn’t hurt either.
* While flying out to LA on a weekly basis few years back, I invented a game that I played with a business colleague called “Guess What They do for a Living”. I have played it in airports all over the country. LAX is the best place to play it , although no matter where its played it never fails to entertain.