December 06, 2008

(Un)pack your troubles (come on, get flappy)

I fricking hate packing. I don't know why, but I pretty much almost always wait until the last minute to do it. Maybe I just work better under pressure. I mean, I've tried to pack beforehand (like the night before), but I always get bored or annoyed or something's on tv or I need to investigate which neighbor is driving me batty or whatever. Anyhoo the point is, I loathe packing.

I used to hate unpacking too, but I was quickly cured of that. Said cure took place in my sweltering New Orleans apartment in June of 1994. I'd just gotten back from Finland/Sweden -- the only time I've ever been out of the country, btw -- and dumped my one huge suitcase on the floor, thinking, "I'll just unpack this when I get home from work tomorrow." Yeah. However, had I remembered that I'd packed some fancy delicious European chocolates to bring home, sort of a little souvenir, then maybe I would have just bitten the bullet, unpacked everything, and blah blah blah.

But I didn't.

Because I'm stoopid.

Because you know what happens when chocolate is in a sweltering New Orleans apartment?

It sort of undergoes this chemical reaction whereby it changes from solid form to liquid.

Yep, that's right.

It fricking melts.

Which maybe wouldn't have been so bad, except melted chocolate + heat + New Orleans + my apartment = onslaught of hymenopteran creatures. (Because I just can't bring myself to type the word aunts minus the u.)

I am not really going to go into it, but...I really don't like bugs. They creep me out, okay? ESPECIALLY ones that look like a freaking huge organism, when there are soooo many of them being all social or whatever that they look like one big gigantic unworldly ungodly being. YAAAGH!

Ahem. So that's what cured me of my "Gee, I shore do hate unpacking" problem. Now when I get home or wherever the heck my bag has taken me? I unpack right away.

Anyhoo, the other week I was prepping for a jaunt back to the motherland -- that's the land where my mother lives -- or WV in case you didn't know. I took the suitcasey thing out the night before, and the next morning before the flight, I packed.

It is hard packing these days because you have to have a little baggie for your stupid liquid things, you know, ever since that shoe bomber guy and everything happened. So I always have my little Hefty bag ready to go. Its contents usually include:
  • a tiny Purell for those sanitizing moments

  • a blue pot of Blistex lip balm

  • Afrin -- for use before takeoff if you're prone to sinus and headache probs. (Thanks for the tip, Dr. W.!)

  • Saline nasal spray -- for use inflight, but truthfully, I never use it.

  • eye drops -- is it just me or is everyone experiencing dry eye? I blame computers. And overheated buildings.

  • Lipstick -- maybe a tube, maybe not.

Anyhoo, I packed, got a cab, and went to the airport. It's one of the world's busiest airports, but I have to say, it wasn't all that bad the day I was there. Now maybe that's cos it was the Monday of Thanksgiving week, and people don't usually fly until the next day or even later. But in any case, when I went through Security, there was no line. I mean no one was behind me, and maybe there was one person in front of me. Yay!

For some reason, the A-hole who waves you to walk through the scanner held his hand up at me and told me stand aside, I would need to be patted down.

I was confused. I mean, sure, I've been picked for the random frisk before, but this time I was worried that there was something about me or on my person that had caused me to be singled out.

They told me to step inside this cordoned-off area and wait for a lady to get there to frisk me. Meanwhile, I saw my carry-on bag, my purse, and my little Hefty baggy going through the X-ray thing.

The lady finally got there and told me to hold my arms out and keep looking at my bags.

It disconcerted me.

It also tickled me. I mean she wasn't using a wand, people. She was actually patting me down with her hands. It was rather unpleasant. I asked her if I had been picked because maybe there was a bobby pin in my pocket, but she said no.

When she was done, I was told I could leave and get my crap. Blah blah blah. Disconcerted, discombobulated, and distressed, I gathered my stuff and went to my concourse.

I bought some water for the trip -- Dr. W. says you lose a lot of water when you fly, so you gotta keep drinking it to stay hydrated or whatever -- and checked out the bookstore. I had my iPod but didn't feel like listening to music. I ended up buying The Bell Jar because I've never read it before, not because the patdown set me off or anything.

Then I went to Mickey D's. It smelled really bad there. Like burning meat, and not in a good way. It was noxious and there was lots of smoke, but apparently I'm stoopid so I stood in line anyway and ordered a double cheeseburger plain and a small Coke.

When I finally got my victuals, I went to my favorite place to sit down in the airport. It's like this little secret place that few people know about, and so I can't tell you exactly where it is, sorry.

I sat down and prepped to eat my delicious burger. But when I went to grab my Purell from the Hefty baggie, I noticed it wasn't there.

Panicked, I rummaged through the carry-on a few times, then took everything out --there wasn't much...some puzzle books, The Bell Jar, and my iPod -- and nope, the baggie was still missing.

Perhaps I left it at the bookstore, or it fell out or something, I thought. So I ran back there and poked around and asked the clerk if he'd seen it, but alas, no dice.

Maybe you never picked it up after the frisk! It could still be at Security!

So I hauled myself all the way back to Security -- damn these huge airports, they're sure not like Yeager Airport in Charleston, where going back to Security is like less than 50 feet in some cases -- and asked this lady if anyone had found my baggie. She shrugged and went over to this group of scary-looking women who were all standing around laffing and chit-chatting and basically not doing their jobs. I mean I probably shouldn't cast stones or whatever because I do the occasional goofing off myself, but then again, my job isn't to ensure the safety of all the fricking passengers and flight crews and stuff, you know?

So she went over and timidly asked them (not in any great detail) about the baggie and they basically looked at her like, "If we were in high school, you would so be shoved into a locker," and said no.


I ran back to my hidey-spot but didn't much feel like eating the burger, so I went to this store and bought more Afrin, eye drops, and Purell. A big fat Purell, cos they didn't have any little ones.

The whole shebang cost me like 35 or 40 bucks.

On the upside, the flight was on time, early even, and the rest of the trip was uneventful.

I am fibbing.

The flight was on time, but the rest of the trip...well...let's see...

When mom and I got home from dinner that first night--a delicious repast at Long John Slithers--we noticed that the light over the garage was burned out. Bummer.

Except it wasn't burned out, there was no electricity. That's right. A power outage. Yay! A power outage in the winter is a lot of fun. Especially when it's raining like a mofo. Which it was.

When I got out of the car, I forgot my purse was unzipped and my glasses case went flying.

I found it easily enough (thank you cellphone flashlight) and went into the house.

But when I went to put on said glasses...they weren't in the case.

Which meant they were still outside.

In the downpour.

This is the sort of thing that happens to me. I mean, I wasn't wearing my specs because I didn't want them to get wet, and now...

I went back outside in the rain with a bigger flashlight and looked in the car, around the car, under the car. I was a little scared. I mean these are my GLASSES!

Finally, I saw them, nestled right in front of the right rear wheel. Which would have meant Crunch City had mom decided to pull up a bit more or put the car in the garage the next day or whatever.

I rescued the glasses and mom and I spent the evening in the cold dark house singing spirituals (Swing Low, Sweet Charrrriooooot) and playing dopey things like "The Geography Game" - you know, where I might say "Denmark" and then she has to say something like "Kentucky" and then I can say "Ypsilanti" and so on. We also went through the alphabet doing names and things. This must be what people did for fun before the advent of electricity or whatever.

Power was restored the following morning. Yay!

You know, I seem to have gotten away from the whole point of the post, which was to narrate my Thanksgiving tale. Well, here's the short version.

1. Frisking at airport
2. Loss of personal hygiene and health items
3. Loss of electricity
4. My bro's entire family got sick (w/the barfing flu) so we didn't see them at all,
5. Nor did we go up to his in-laws' place in Ohio for Thanksgiving.
6. Mom's basement was the equivalent of a swimming pool that refuses to be drained,
7. And much shop vac'ing was involved. But at least I got to meet the guy who comes over and does that sort of thing for her. (Plus I just found out that he thought I was cute, so that was nice to hear.)
8. My return flight back to the big city was cancelled, so I was stuck in WV for one more day.

On the new return flight wasn't full, which meant I could move away from my tuna-smelling seatmate and have a whole row to myself. I even sat near the window, which I don't usually like to do. (The aisle seat is important in terms of restroom usage and deplaning.)

I got a good cab driver on the way back to my place (translation: no radio, no weird smells, and no chitchat), and I unpacked right away. I even had the second pepperoni roll I'd purchased in Charleston for dinner.

All in interesting trip.

Btw, I head back to Charleston later this month for a decent amount of time. I don't really know what to expect or what might transpire, so I remain hopeful.

Sort of.



Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

When I was growing up in Chicago I learned to pronounce aunt like aunt without the u, but here on the tundra my kids somehow learned to say aunt like haunt without the h. And I don't know how I like dem apples but what are you gonna do?

11:14 PM  
Blogger H. said...

You know what, I usually say "aunt" like "haunt" but since I've become one, find myself saying "aunt" like "pant" without the p. Or like the reverse of what you said. Weird ain't it?

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Hoyt, Not Pimping His Blog Today said...

I ended up buying The Bell Jar because I've never read it before, not because the patdown set me off or anything.


7:25 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

What Hoyt said re yon Bell Jar crack. Also, although I don’t think we have Long John Slithers (or Baker’s Hair) repasting on the tundra we do have Pizza Gut and Burger Bling, so I thought this was a good excuse to bring that up.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous rebecca said...

I was going to say something about the hell of air travel, but after the Bell Jar comment, I'm laughing so hard that I forgot what I was going to say.


-- someone else who would probably wind up shoved into a locker if she were still in High School.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Hi Flapjam, it's been bugging me for like a year or for however long ago it was you posted this, but I just now tripped to the fact that the parenthetical part of your headline there is referencing The Partridge Family, while the first part is referencing the old WWI ditty, Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag. Well played, Flapjam, well played!

4:38 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Wow, who, I totally don't deserve the credit because I think this was an accident. I was more likely thinking of the Get Happy song Judy Garland sang, the one about forget your troubles. (But also the partridge folks.)

Hey. Why am I outing myself like this? I should just let you and everyone else think I'm just that much of a genius. Y'know, maybe I knew it all subconsciously! Yeah, that's the ticket! :D

Thanks for the cool info though. I listened to that WWI song on wikipedia. Interesting lyrics.

5:19 PM  

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