Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On the road again: Austin, day 1

For quite a while, today's travels looked to be as perfect as they could be.

Rain was pattering the skylights and darkening the world when I awoke, so I grabbed an extra fifteen minutes of sleep--quite a luxury for me. I still made the airport in plenty of time without rushing. Awaiting me were upgrades on both legs.

Work in the Admiral's Club went well.

Work on the plane went well, thanks to the available bandwidth.

In DFW, I grabbed a Red Mango parfait to accompany my earlier salad as lunch.

My arrival gate was only two gates from my departure area.

As I was waiting to board the plane to Austin--a plane that had arrived early--and finishing my Red Mango, I said to myself that one could not ask for better business travel.


As I was throwing away the cup, the announcement came over the loudspeakers: Our plane had "maintenance issues" that they could not quickly repair. We all had to hustle to a new gate, one two terminals away, to board a new plane.

You don't appreciate how many people are on a plane until you share an escalator and an airport tram with them.

I boarded, went to my seat--a window, but in first class, so I couldn't complain.

The person in the aisle seat appeared. She was tall, 5'11" or so, and she was large, at least 350 pounds, probably more. She was wearing a t-shirt stretched so tight you could bounce coins off it and low-rise jeans.

Not my problem, of course. I just read my book--a new Lee Child, another treat--and worked.

After the short flight and as we were preparing to leave, she stood but had to stay stooped because the aisle was crowded. This act exposed about four inches of butt crack. When she started to move forward, I turned toward the aisle and leaned forward to follow her. She straightened a bit, which exposed another few inches of butt crack, and then stumbled and fell backward slightly...

...wedging my nose momentarily into that vast expanse of butt crack.

She tittered, apologized, and left.

I stopped in the nearest airport bathroom and scrubbed my nose with soap.

When I made it to the rental car window, they were out of cars. They proposed to give me a minivan, but I am traveling alone and did not want a van. After some discussion, they found me an alternative, a car they described only as smaller.

Mind you, I'm in Texas, where bigger is better, so of course this is the rental car I ended up driving.

A Fiat! Really?


This POS reeks of new car smell but at the same time stinks of impending decay. Driving it is like dating a zombie spackled with air-brush make-up. The car itself looks like the bastard child of a 1967 Oldsmobile and a first-gen Mini Cooper, but uglier.

Kyle and I proudly drove it to the County Line by the Lake, where the day was healed by the power of barbecue and then perfected by Amy's ice cream.

I am grateful that neither exists in Raleigh, because I couldn't afford the weight gain.


Michelle said...

Look at it this way, more fodder for your standup show. Could be worse, she could have emitted gas during her tumble.

Ticia said...

By sitting next to her you were just asking for it. As you know, there are signals. Reading and working quietly next to a person tells them that you want to get to know them up close and personally. (to anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about... see Mark's stand up- he's brilliant and SO funny!)

Mark said...

Thanks for both the kind words--and the rest. Clearly, I was indeed asking for it!

David said...

I don't see the problem with the car. Plenty of room for a pair of hamsters... No, not in the engine compartment. But that does look (just) big enough for a ferret to run the exercise wheel. (Fiat says it's a four-passenger car, but I think one could get a passel of clowns in it... small ones... very small ones.)


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