Friday, December 25, 2009

Paying for Luggage = Search for Van

Being Christmas Tide, please accept my warmest wishes that everything in your life receives a large and loving dose of fabulous. It is a special time of year that demands for us all to be a little reflective of the wants and needs of others. To someone, we are that "other" person in need of a wee bit of love and attention. Here is my wish for you: that you receive some of what you want and most of what you need.

Okay, so much for all the nice stuff and on to the real message of the season: I HATE THE AIRLINES. They are directly responsible for me (temporarily) losing the Broussard Family Dodge Caravan on Christmas Eve. Please be aware that I really HATED them before hand, but now, it is to an entirely new level.

Not just a few airlines are in this honored group, I really can't stand them all. Aside from forcing me to lose a family's means of transportation, it is that I am old enough to remember when flying was a special event. People dressed for it. It made you giddy with excitement. There was glamor involved. There was a subtle air of celebrity associated with it. It rated right up there with receiving a "long distance" call, lasting for more than one minute, that wasn't placed with the *charges being reversed or *collect.  (*The Spring 2010 Course Catalog will offer "Analog Terms for Digital Divas: A Historic Overview.) Now, traveling by air is just slightly above *cattle car, in altitude and attitude, or simply the equivalent to floating in *full steerage.

We travelers are relegated to reporting to the terminal (no pun intended, but definitely applicable) before our flight for the same amount of time equal to that of our flight. This time period is also subject to being extended into days at the whim of the airlines profit margin. Thank you, Congress, for finally limiting the amount of time we can all rot on the tarmack to a mere 3 hours boiling in recirculated, un-air conditioned oxygen supplied with beverages and snacks served during that time as well as limited restrooms being available.

Time, Time, Time. It goes right along with Money, Money, Money. To that end, these damn airlines are charging for nearly everything but ice in your drink and believe me that day is coming as rapidly as the disappearance of the Macademia nut flight snack.
Standing curbside on Wednesday morning, I forked over an additional $20.00 for the one suitcase I was checking. Do airlines think you are going to travel without luggage during the holidays? That is besides the fare I paid them MANY MONTHS ago. In my suitcase I had what one might expect: too many clothes, some heavy shoes, a few small gifts, and an actual Christmas tree. There was no way on Earth that I was about to pay to schlep seasonal gifts with me in a second suitcase. The last time I flew, I heard a fellow passenger being threatened with pistol whipping if they didn't pay $80.00 more for their second piece of luggage which was
too large to be carry-on (or perhaps it should be called "carrion"). Quite easily my Christmas gifts would need to be reduced to Starbuck's gift cards, deflated beach balls, or stolen McDonald's straws, depending on the recipient. Am I being cheap? I don't think so. This situation is one of my personal protests: I will not pay transportation fees for non-human elements. Well, not unless they can fit under the seat in front of me or in the overhead compartment.

So, what this does mean is this: I am forced to shop in Louisiana once I arrive. This year, my school schedule translated into me arriving on 12/23. That translates to my shopping being conducted on Christmas Eve. You got it. I'm there with every other person suffering from micro-encephalitis at any store with an available parking spot. True, I have my list ready to be unleashed. Usually things go well. For the most part, I overspend and *underthink. Both are permissible, given the conditions. Again, though, who is the root of this evil doing? The freakin' airlines.

Alright, it is Christmas Eve. I borrow the Chrysler-Dodge Caravan from my daughter and her hubby and take off shopping in an area where I've never driven before. No problem, I've studied Lewis and Clark, I can handle this. Less than 4 miles down the road, my phone starts making the rude gastric noises that comes from either ingesting too much raw cabbage or failure to have a charge. Pulling into the shopping center's parking lot, I traverse the lanes looking for a suitable space. Eureka...I see it and park without employing an assault rifle. Life is good, except I can't get the key out of the ignition. That glitch is decoded in less than 10 minutes and now I can move on, right? Wrong-o. Now the radio won't stop playing even with the engine off and the key out of the ignition. So, with the little "juice" I have in my phone's battery, I call to own up to my stupidity. "Open the door, Mom. It will shut off."  (Doesn't everyone have one child who has an expanded IQ? Well, count me in.)

Voila, I am in the store! ALRIGHT! Purchases are made! The credit card is approved (who needs Las Vegas?). Time for me to be heading back the way I came, except, I can't remember where I parked. I traveled down every aisle of the parking lot looking for a space that none of them stand out. Looking through the lot, most of the vehicles are white, with the exception of a maroon vagabond Monte Carlo. The Broussard van is white. Oh, fun, fun, fun. 30 minutes later, I call to ask the license plate numbers....maybe security can help me locate it ?.....well, neither owner has that committed to memory. No problem....15 minutes more, I turn my phone on one more time hoping the charge stays with me and ask for back-up.

Am I an idiot? (Whoa, I need to correct that negative self-talk this second.) What kind of stupid idiot am I? Even Rainman drove and did a fine job. I drove and lost a large vehicle in a defined amount of space. Of course, three minutes later, the delinquent van finally decided to give up the fun and games and put down the cloak of invisibility. Damn if it wasn't right where I left it: among the other white vans in a sea of white vans with white vans parked next to it.

Victory was mine. Thank you phone for hanging in there with me. Thanks, Corey, for not soiling yourself when I phoned to own up to my condition. Thank you, IQ for returning to the nest.

Next blog: Remote controlled fireworks and how to make your white van get a parking lot personality.

1 comment:

  1. Can I ever "identify!" Lost a rental mini van at Disney on New Years Day in a downpour so heavy it ran in our collars and out our socks! My 4-year old was yelling, "here, Charlie! Here, Charlie!" (Seems the van had "communicated" it's name to her.) We finally found it but not before Grandma ruined her new "perm" she got special at the Floridian Resort! Ah, Disney at Christmas -- nothing like it!