Friday, September 28, 2007

Greetings from the Land of the CocaCola 600!

Because of the black hole that is New York City, I am spending the night doing what James Taylor could do in his mind... Yep, that's right, I went to Carolina and got stuck for the night.

Apparently the plane that was supposed to shuttle passengers from here to the Circle City didn't make it out of New York City. By the time I arrived here from the Sunshine State, the departure board said that the flight was to leave an hour later. I grabbed some dinner, only to find that the gate displayed a time of 1:30 am! I called my wife on my cell phone, and as I was telling her the updated time, I was told by someone else that the flight was canceled altogether.

I was then redirected by an airline employee at the gate to their Special Services Desk. They were busy printing out boarding passes for a flight leaving at 7:55 am and serving them with a little blue slip that said, "Sorry, not our fault. But here's a toll free number where you can call someone who cares... Well... not really... but they will help you get a room at a discounted rate.

So I text messaged my bosses to tell them the news, and in the process accidentally speed dialed my mother and my brother, so I had to explain that whole gaffe. Then I got on the phone with the hotel discount. They said I could have a room for $59, which came complete with free ground transportation. Because I had only a debit card, which would have been hit with an additional $100 hold just in case I did something stupid like eat my way through the mini-bar or watch some pay-per-porn, I turned down that offer.

I set up camp in the concourse with my laptop and enjoyed one of the rocking chairs (Yes they have them here and at the northeast Sunshine State aiport. They're not just for Cracker Barrels anymore, I guess.) the amazing speed of a mostly quiescent free WiFi network. About an hour later, an announcement came over the intercom telling us to pick up our baggage on the carousel. I went back to the special services desk and asked them whether I'd be able to get back to the concourse. They told me "no" because the TSA goons are off duty. I have to pull myself back from blowing a gasket.

So I head down to the baggage claim to get my bag, and there's all these bags which won't be picked, because their owners have already left for lodging provided by the someone-who-pretends-to-care 800 line. So I've released some negative energy by firing of a stern, but not profane, e-mail to the offending carrier through their Investor Relations webpage. I feel a little better now, but it's going to be one long night. At least the airport's free WiFi still works in this area, otherwise I'd have to spend the wee hours staring at the #24 car displaced proudly next to the ticket area.
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