Tuesday, June 26, 2012

u.s. snareways

This post is dedicated to frustration.
While not all bad (every moment has a silver lining, be it ever so small), we had an infuriating experience yesterday. All. Day. Yesterday.

After a delightful trip home, and lots of fun times spent with family and friends, we had to wake up at 4:30am yesterday morning to hop on a plane back to Virginia. Or so we thought.

Pre-sunrise cheerfulness:

We arrived at the Phoenix airport in pretty good spirits.
Having said goodbye to our families, we had been able to keep it together fairly well. A few private tears, but we were focused, and had the promise (silver lining) that both of our parents would be visiting in July.
Now we were heading to the middle-ground dimension, the place I hate the most. The in-between of both places we call "home". Once you leave one place, you're extremely anxious to get to the next.
It's the traveling that I hate the most. The aiport time, the dragging-around-luggage time, the dreary time.

So, the first flight came and went. We read and slept, and landed in Charlotte, NC around 1pm.

I had to go to the bathroom upon arrival, so I meandered into the women's bathroom right by our arrival gate. Things got interesting.

There are a few things about public restrooms that I will speculate about.

1. Don't make groaning or sighing noises. Don't care about your suffering or your fatigue. Please, keep the vocal exclamations to yourself.
2. I will judge you by your shoes.
3. When there are 57 stalls, and I'm the only one in the entire restroom, do NOT come into the stall next to me. Why would you? We're not friends, we don't need to hear each other, we don't need to be close. Take the 56 extra steps to the stall at the end, and we'll both be better off. Etiquette.
4. Don't drop your skivvies all the way to the floor. Bathroom stalls are bottomless, and it baffles and upsets me to see stranger's underwear.
5. Please don't text or make phone calls while you're atop the can. It's creepy, aside from being unsanitary.
6. To the girl who came in barefoot a couple months ago: I still haven't forgotten about you. I can't even believe you exist.

So, back to the Charlotte restroom. It was nice.

When you first walk in, there's this delightful table full of Listerine shots, mints, and tampies.
If this bathroom had a couch, it would've had it all.
I also noticed the plastic bins full of money, but I didn't think much of them.

Once I settled into my stall, a woman walked in and began to talk to people. I realized immediately that she was a greeter for this women's restroom.
Let me say that again: she was a greeter for the women's restroom.
That means that this particular motherly black woman was hired for the sole purpose of greeting and directing women to have a pleasant experience while using this restroom.
Let me break down her performance for you:

"Oh baby, hello baby! Well aren't you the most beautiful little thing, you scurry on along to my penthouse suite, the one right there at the end."

"Welcome to Charlotte! Oh now hello pretty thing, you gotta go? You gotta go? Right there, baby. Right down there."

"Hold it miss, you gotta go? You gotta wait. Ooh, you dancin' aren't ya sweetie, you go right on ahead."

"You're next beautiful, you step right on up. Hold it, you gotta go? You gotta wait in line, sugar!"

"Hello baby, hey baby, hey baby, go on!"

I just listened with pure glee in my stall, then walked out to find Dusty leaning up against the wall outside the door. You could hear her clearly from where he stood, and he was cracking up. We even tried to record her talking from outside, but to no avail. I was really glad we could share that moment together.

We had a few hours to kill, so we decided to go to an actual sit-down restaurant where we could just sit and relax for a while. We decided on La Taquileria, because we hadn't had Mexican food in a while....NOT.

Pretty sure it was our tenth Mexican food meal in a row, and apparently we aren't tired of it yet. In fact, I think eating it so often at home has made me more angry that I can't have it at every meal. Now I'm stuck craving it until I can have it again.
BEANS. I just love beans.

La Taqueria was actually delicious, though.

Spicy and fresh and really surprisingly excellent. Well done, airport restaurant.

But alas, the rest of our Charlotte experience was not so pleasant.

I got the first automated US Airways call while we were still eating -- our flight was delayed.

Our first flight was scheduled to depart at 4:06pm.
Then it got delayed, because of maintenance issues...to 4:30. Then 5:00. Then 5:30.
I kept getting the dang automated phone calls, informing me of our fate.
Then they finally just canceled our flight altogether.

This is when things got hazy.
We went to the help desk, and waited in line behind all of the other angry Lynchburg-bound people.
Both of my parents had had less-than-stellar experiences in their Lynchburg travels, so I became very stressed out about our future.
People were going quickly past us, being put straight on the 6:45 or 7:45 flights.
Come to find out, they were the important flyers. The gold and platinum and silver and unicorn-colored passengers that get to go right to a comfy spot on the next available flight. Upon finding this out, Dusty muttered to me "this is ridiculous."
The worker-man next to the woman who was helping us retorted, "Ridiculous? Ridiculous? These people fly with us all the time. They're the platinum members, the gold members [the unicorn members]. That's what you do, you serve them first. They have the right."
That's when a lot of heathen words came to my mind, and I just looked down and started counting the tiny dots on the floor tiles.
Once we got out of line, we started heading to the 6:45 flight gate, where we were now on standby.
I started panicking that we needed to get a rental car, because I was not going to be stuck in this airport all night, and I just wanted to get home, home, home. But, US Airways doesn't comp people who get screwed over by their airline. No food vouchers, no rental car, no hotel, no anything. Nothing.
Dusty and I had a stressed-out exchange, and I plopped down and burst into tears.
We had held it together so well after leaving Arizona, and now it was just all piling on top of me. I was UPSET.
Very emotional.
Dusty went into action. He's really good at that. He called the rental car place, finding out that it would be $140. Which was way too much for us to spend on a 3+ hour drive, when we could possibly be flying out within an hour or two.
So we waited.
Dusty bought us Einstein Bagels, then some sodas and peanut M & Ms. His crying wife was much obliged.

The 6:45 flight was a no-go.
They had overstuffed the flight, and were struggling with being over the weight limit.
So they were asking people to give up their seats, for a $200 gift card.
We of course couldn't give up our seats for the money, because we were only standby. Not platinum or gold or unicorn, just poop-colored standby.

The 7:45 flight was now full. So by this time, a large group of people were stuck without flights.
The last flight would be at 10:45. I internally sobbed, but managed to keep it together.
We once again revisited the rental car idea, but by that time, we would have arrived at home around 10:30, when the flight would be getting us there at 11:30. So one hour wasn't worth it.
Besides, Dusty argued -- if we wanted to, we could go right now and give up our seats for two $200 gift cards, and then get a rental car and drive home. That would at least make it somewhat worth it.

Upon talking to an airport worker, they informed us that they wouldn't be offering those gift cards until they knew they needed people to give up their seats. And they wouldn't know that information until 9:30, at the earliest.
We plopped down somewhere, sleeping and reading, reading and sleeping.
I woke up to 3 messages.
Our flight has been delayed to 11:20.
Our flight has been delayed to 11:30.
Our flight has been delayed to 11:50.


We lost it a little bit.
We decided to get some food before it got too late and everything started to close. We started wandering around the airport, bringing all of our stuff with us. We started to giggle, and then we hopped into our imaginary car to take us on our date.
The airport was relatively empty at this point. It was around 9:30.
Dusty "drove" us to our destination: Chili's.
He "opened the car door for me", we got out, and giggled into our table. We were really tired and weird.

We enjoyed our food, and even sought out some gelato for dessert.

I had cried off most of my makeup earlier, and slept-off the rest of it.
What started out as a pretty cheerful day had become exhausting and a little weird.
But, we somehow began to make the best of it. I was really enjoying my book, Dusty got a lot of homework done, and we were able to enjoy some one-on-one time with our favorite person in the world: each other.

So, when our flight was further delayed until 12:30am, we somehow managed to just laugh it off.

Oh, and P.S.? We get nothing. Nothing. 
The people who gave up their seats at 6:45pm, to fly on the eventual 12:30am flight, got $200.
But us, who were delayed and canceled and thrown around because of maintenance, overbooking, platinum fools and weather, get nothing but a monumental waste of time and money.

We arrived in Lynchburg at 1:30am, and collapsed into bed around 2am.
I didn't make it into work this morning until almost 11am.

Oh, and they found it necessary to shut off our water today -- so we couldn't even shower this morning.
And I also discovered that our kitten has fleas again.
The end.

Recap of our misery:
US Airways is the worst airline in the world, 12 hours spent in Charlotte, delirium and exhaustion, our cat has fleas again, our water has been shut off for the day....
Oh, and upon arriving to work today, I realized you could see my undies straight through my dress.
Oh, the trials of the Lord.

The moral of this entire post is that a motherly black woman cheering you on will always make you feel better, even in a public restroom.

Take that as you will.

In love,


  1. There are tears streaming down my face right now. One day you will re-read this and feel the same way.

    PS Thanks for using the word tampies.

  2. Oh my gosh Caitlin! I was feeling really bad for you, and then found out about your cat, then your water, AND also your undies (!!!)...I don't think I would have held it together either!
    So glad this is now behind you and hopefully someday you can look back on it with a little chuckle. :)