Aside from the fact that I’m already missing the last week of class and won’t really be properly prepared for my Russian final, I received an email the day before I left that PubServ will be holding the workshop that I need to attend before I can begin freelance copyediting the day before I get back from California. I checked with the travel agency, and I’ll have to pay $120 extra to get an earlier ticket. I’m wondering if I can just show up at the airport and have them put me on standby for the next available flight, but I’m not sure if they do that. I’ll call the airline soon to find out—I don’t anticipate that I really need to have a decision ready until tomorrow morning, because most places don’t conduct business on Sunday.

I woke up an hour and a half later than I planned on the day I was to fly out. I jumped up, grabbed my stuff, and got in the car to go. My brother rode with me to the airport and took my car back home for me. But even though we left much later than planned, we still managed to approach the airport in time for takeoff. But before turning on to the tollway, I thought to ask my brother whether or not he had any change. No change. Any cash? No cash. I’ve become quite accustomed to taking advantage of our increasingly cashless society, relying on my plastic to take care of my expenses. I didn’t bother to bring any cash with me at all, and I don’t even know any PINs for my plastic, because I don’t like paying ATM fees. My brother knows his PINs, but didn’t have any money available as we approached the airport. We tried our best to find an ATM for him, but when we realized there was no money to be had, we tried to find a bank so I could do a cash advance on my credit card. The time of my flight’s departure—8:13AM—came and went, and I called the airline and was put on standby for the next flight, at 9:44AM. In order to have reserved the seat, I would’ve had to pay an extra $800 or so, nearly four times the original cost of my ticket. Standby is fine for me. We finally found a payday loan place that does cash advance on credit cards (for an outrageous fee), and I got some money so we could finally pay the tolls. Before getting on the toll roads, we wanted to use the bathroom at one of the gas stations. First gas station’s bathroom was out of order. Second gas station didn’t have any public restrooms. Third gas station’s bathrooms were “destroyed.” I didn’t bother to ask if there had been some incredible natural disaster like a rogue meteorite, we decided to “hold it” until we made it to the airport. By this time, the morning rush hour was in full force. We pulled into O’Hare right at 9:45, as my plane was presumably trafficking to the runway. They put me on standby for the 11:21AM and I began to relax. I found a bathroom and relieved myself before finding my gate. Things were going to be okay.

On the plane, I found out that I didn’t have a window seat. No big deal. I annoyed the guy who was sitting by the window by constantly looking past him as he tried to read. I’ll consider next time asking politely if he would mind trading seats.

I fell asleep briefly on the flight, dropping my $17 Cross Pen on the floor. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find it, because we were so crowded I could hardly reach under my seat. This was also bothersome because the ticket said “in-seat power source”, so I thought I might be able to plug the laptop (which has infinitely short battery life) in. I’m still not entirely sure, but it seemed like our plug-ins were the same type that we have in cars. No help to businessmen like myself. Just before landing, when the person sitting in front of me put their seat in the upright position, I managed to catch sight of my pen under the seat and reach down and grab it. Cool. . . everything’s going to be okay.

I arrived at LAX and got on the shuttle bus to the Marriott in Woodland hills, where I met the Regional Delegate, Ralph, and we made our way to the room after checking in. At the front desk, they asked me for a card to secure payment for the room, and I handed them my $500-limit card (the biggest one I have). I had planned on using it for the room expense. They typically don’t charge until the end of the stay, so I knew that even though my room was going to cost a little more than $500, I could pay part with my debit card. But they handed my card back and said it wasn’t approved. Apparently they put the full cost, including $50/day incidentals, on “hold”. This would amount to more than $1000. My regional delegate was gracious enough to use his card. Whew.

I got into the room and plopped down on the bed. Ahhh…

Then I reached into my pocket, to get my pen so I could write down what my expenses thus far had been. I have to keep track so I can be properly reimbursed later on. But wait, where’s my pen? I think it’s on the Super Shuttle bus.

3 thoughts on “Obstacles”

  1. “infinitely short” ? wtf? anyways, that was without a doubt the weirdest fuckin day of my life. but once i left the airport, i drove around for a long time till i found a gas station, and they had a bathroom! i must have pissed for like two minutes straight. but im glad everything worked out. let me know if i need to come get you.

  2. Sounds like a fun ride.

    Get to bed early. Go to the 7am poolside meeting.

    Study your Russian even if you have to miss out on fun; you’ll be back in 2008. Is there someone from Russia there? (Did I tell you I wrote a philosophy paper there in 2000 during my “spare time”)

    Let me know if you have time for a meal or something when you fly back into Chicago, or if crashing for the night at my place would be helpful.

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