tirsdag, april 18, 2006

Memphis, I Hardly Knew You

I'm supposed to be in Memphis right now but I wound up spending six or seven hours in O'Hare Airport's G Concourse on Friday while two connecting flights to Memphis were cancelled and the third (and last Memphis flight of the day) was not looking good. They were even on fierce standby for the Saturday flights (since so many Memphis / Nashville flights had been cancelled due to god-knows-what--excessive sunshine or something).

So I chatted up (politely, as I do) a vaguely Arabic, accented ticketing agent named Eileen at Gate G9 while behind me everyone cussed and complained about another cancellation. A flight was leaving for Minneapolis in 30 minutes from this exact gate at which my latest Memphis attempt had been cancelled. So I said, "Can I just go home to Minnesota?" The standby list was 11-deep. I became number 12. But Eileen and I: hey, we were connected. Everyone was angry but I said to her, "I know you didn't personally cancel these flights. No worries."

She put a hand at on her heart. "You're so sweet to say that," she said.

I wore an Amsterdam shirt. She said she wanted to go there but was afraid. I asked why. She grinned slyly, turned her eyes away. She said, "They have very nice men." I said, "They're the tallest in the world, actually."

Now she touched her face and blushed a bit. She said, "I think we can get you on this flight." POOF! My name moved on the video screen standby list from Number 12 to Number 2. Awesome. I was given seat 3A. Awesome. Somedays I just have skills.

Still: NOT going to Memphis? Not awesome. Natch.

My poor suitcase didn't make it home until the middle of the night, and came back looking drunk and disorderly with one of those security cards inside to let me know they'd had a gander at my drawers. The deliveryman showed up at my apartment at 12:45, and, groggily, I trudged down to the front door with the heavy gait of a man who's had hip-replacement surgery and who has, apparently, just recovered his sight, if we're to judge by the pale swelling around his eyes and the way he blinks repeatedly like a mole in a kid's cartoon. I marked a CK on whatever piece of paper this delivery man held out. Good thing I'd fallen asleep in my clothes. I would have wandered down in anything or nothing at all. I was so tired I felt the pressure of the earth spinning through space against my head.

Up abruptly at 4:30, wide awake and with my thoughts smoldering. Dreamt again of Japan.
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