Subject: Pants Diaries: I'll be Home for Christmas
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MegaLiz)
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 16:40:05 GMT
Okay. So this isn't a True Crime story, but it is true. If it seems a
little boring, well, then, just imagine LIVING it.
This wasn't the final Christmas trip, even if it should have been. I'm
sure I should have learned things.
Of course it SEEMED like a lovely idea. Iowa at Christmas would be
perfect. We'd have a huge tree for Little Brother Argon to goggle at,
I'd play hide-and-seek with him in his big old house, and then we'd
bake gingerbread space men whenever we got tired. Iowa at Christmas
WAS just like that, but I had a long time getting there.
The Rev declined to go with me, and since we were newlyweds and hadn't
spawned yet, that wasn't a big sacrifice on his part. He'd be home for
Christmas, playing Captive on the computer and not answering the
I packed for the weather on the other end, lovingly folding lots of
sweaters and other woollies. Since this was before passengers were
repeatedly advised to wear running shoes and non-flammable clothing, I
was dressed to oppress instead, and swooped around in an oversized
black raincoat with a huge rhinestone pin. I was proud to carry
nothing more than a wallet-sized purse onto the plane. What a dope.
Since there's no such thing as a direct flight to Iowa, our flight
would involve a squeaky-close connection through Chicago. I was
confronted with bad news in Chicago, as if just being in O'Hell
Airport weren't discouraging enough.
The woman ahead of me in line was having real-live hysterics claiming
that SHE wasn't on some holiday lark--her father was DYING in
MINNESOTA, DAMMIT. Whatever her plans, daddy had picked the worst
weather day of the year to die. Whatever her story, she was as
grounded as the rest of us frivolous people. At least I had a chance
to catch my breath while she had her fit.
It seemed that we were stranded due to extreme cold. It was so cold
that there had already been livestock deaths all over the state. Cows
that had forgotten to go home were being tipped and shattered, leaving
yet more evidence of mutilating EXPERIMENTS.
The terrified airline clerk really shouldn't have been scared of me,
because I didn't find out until later that she robbed me with her
incompetence. She was afraid of all that pink fury lined up behind me,
I guess. She was the Grinch who Grounded Christmas as far as they were
concerned. It was her responsibility to let all the sob stories wash
over her and still insist that we were welcome to either sleep in the
terminal and pray for a plane, or get a hotel room courtesy of the
I found that to be a pretty easy choice and started to make my way to
the Hilton. Apparently all of O'Hare was under reconstruction, and
they had cleverly arranged things so that the direct route to anything
was unnavigable. I headed for what used to be the main entrance and
stumbled out into THE WEATHER in the dark.
Having experienced frozen nose hairs a few times before, I wasn't
immediately alarmed, but within seconds it was obvious that my
eyelashes had frozen too. My toes curled in anticipation of instant
frostbite. I dove into the nearest cab. The cab driver told me to get
out. I would have blinked in amazement if I could have blinked. He
told me that I had to take the FIRST cab and pointed far, far ahead
through his windshield. I argued and still he refused to go.
Apparently such a faux pas in Chicago would get him executed or
excommunicated or somethinglikethat.
Skating like it didn't hurt, I plunged into the first cab and
confidently barked, "Hilton, please!" The cab driver told me to get
out. He gestured with his thumb and announced that the Hilton was just
over THERE. All I could see was debris and construction equipment, so
I insisted that he drive me and offered him a twenty. He scoffed and
began to explain in broken English that he was finally FIRST CABBIE
and didn't have to take any two-minute fare.
Ardently wishing that I could remember how to mortally insult someone
in Russian, I think I told him, "Your curse is bouncy odors!" I then
staggered out of the car and began to walk in the direction he had
pointed, certain that no one would be able to identify my frozen body
if it was tipped.
I emerged at the back of the Hilton, and had to make a command
decision as to which route around it was the least likely to cause me
to lose consciousness. I chose well and shuffled and ran for the
Heaven! I was in Professional Hospitality Heaven. Dozens of
half-frozen travelers queued there, while a string quartet played and
free champagne and canapes were offered, ever so gently. Waiting in
line, I carefully sipped at the glass between my fisted hands until I
could blink again. Struggling to present my boarding pass, I was
informed that what I REALLY needed was a voucher. Scaredy Sherrie
hadn't given me one, of course. If I thought I could get a cab back to
the airport, I would have throttled her thoroughly. Instead I began to
numbly thumb my credit card lose and frisbeed it at the desk agent. I
would just have to BILL the bastards.
My room probably had a view of the construction zone, but I was more
interested in running up a big phone bill to complain about my
situation. Dad talked me out of renting a car, convincing me that if I
got lost I could DIE OUT THERE. I decided to take a bus. After all, I
only had a few days and I wasn't going to spend them in the airport
waiting for a plane that might not be permitted to leave. Besides, a
bus ride would give me a chance to see the countryside. Hell, it was
an opportunity really.
An expedition to the lobby to find a phone book netted me even more
information. I mentioned to the nice clerk that I hadn't thought to
ask room service for tampons and so on, and he helpfully pointed out
that there was underground access to the airport shops where I should
be able to find most anything I needed.
I shook my head as I walked through the tunnel thinking of all the
shivers my ignorance had cost me. A TUNNEL just made too much SENSE.
It almost made as much sense as a hotel in the MIDDLE of an airport
cleverly designated a HUB in a town with regularly horrible weather.
I found almost everything I needed and bought a revoltingly festive
red bag with a jingling kitty cat on it to carry it all. The shops
didn't sell contact lens supplies or good books, but I'd improvise.
Leaving early the next morning to find the bus connection, I managed
to locate the dingy little room where we were supposed to wait. There
were no seats, and the floor was covered in slushy water. The bus was
late. Everyone there was pissed off at God, but refused to say so in
When the bus to Iowa arrived, I found that I was the only airport
passenger. I was informed that the bus had no heat, so we'd all be
getting off in Rockford. I slipped into a cold seat away from
everyone, read an awful book, and relived my astounding run of bad
luck until the bus stopped.
All the passengers slouched off the bus and started to quiz the
Rockford bus agent in her tiny office. I went outside in spite of the
balmy zero degree temperature, to wait for the room to clear a little,
and began to think that I was a terribly antisocial Christmas
traveler. I mean, this was the midwest! People here are nicer, surely.
These are the sort of people one really SHOULD say hello to. I looked
up at a slightly scary looking, but surely NICE midwestern young man
who was lurking nearby and said, "Hello."
"Hello!" he rejoined. He was quite suddenly animated, as if someone
had hit his go button with gusto. He was BEAUTIFUL when he smiled. He
had the sort of face that would launch a million magazines. His
enthusiasm worried me, though. I probably had made a mistake. I
scratched my eyebrow to tactfully display my new wedding ring as we
talked. He was going to be on my new bus, I learned.
that, he followed me. He followed me into the "office," where I
got more bad news of delays. He followed me into the next door diner
afterward, so I offered to buy him coffee. For the coffee, I was
treated to his life story. That happens much too often. Then he pulled
out a tattered paperback, and asked me if I'd ever read it. He said
he'd read it many, many times. The book was, "Somewhere in Time," one
of those screenplays converted into a novel, I'm pretty sure.
It just so happens that I had not read it, but I had winced through
the movie starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour at the command
of a romantic fantasy prone cousin. I wince as I type. The cast pretty
much conveys the image, but I'll recount it just because. It is the
touching ripoff of some good Jack Finney stories wherein a young man
goes back in time and eventually dies in the present leaving an eerily
content looking corpse to live in the past with a woman that he
becomes obsessed with on sight when he sees her picture in the
present. Got it?
The point is it is a TOTAL chick story and just the sort of thing a
guy like that could flash at any beautician school wannabe and make
her BEG to rip his clothes off. I don't THINK it was a maneuver,
though. He LOVED that damned book, he just didn't have sense enough to
figure out WHY.
After coffee and sharing time, he suggested that we visit the Rockford
Clock Museum. Feeling completely unreal, I agreed. We crossed the
street, and sure enough, there was an actual clock museum in the
Ramada. I can't properly convey how it felt to watch a guy who wanted
to be a time traveling hero fondly revisit his favorite time machine
fantasy zone. A rare form of speechlessness overtook me. The clocks
were pretty and all that, but we were the only people there and I was
pretty thoroughly convinced by then that either he was insane or I
was. Of course, there was also entirely TOO MUCH TICKING in that
It was another age before the new bus arrived, but it did arrive. Mr.
Time sat across the aisle from me and continued his complaints about
loneliness and the difficulties of time travel, but I found my
attention was divided. At the middle of the bus was a guy who could
best be described as Red Foxx on vacation. He was KILLING me, raving
to another nice young passenger, "Boy you want some GOOD pussy? Let me
tell YOU about some good pussy! You do like I tell you and you will
hear NOTHIN' but MEOW..." I offended Mr. Time by laughing out loud
several times at Mr. Foxx and I'm sure I can't do him justice.
At one point Foxx turned to me and said, "Now YOU look like some kind
of classy lady. Tell the man I'm givin' him the straight shit!" I
nodded. The other guy warned Foxx that he was upsetting "the
boyfriend." He harumphed, "What? I wasn't talkin' about HER pussy!
But, you know, pussy in general, who wouldn't want to talk about
THAT?" As I giggled even more, it became clear to Mr. Time that I
might look like one, but I weren't no lady. He wouldn't be meeting ME
Somewhere in Time, oh no. The only other thing HE said was Merry
Christmas as he got off the bus.
The bus was mostly empty as we neared our destination. Because I never
learn anything for long, I greeted the old man who'd settled in across
from me. This time it paid off. His life story was more interesting,
since he was An Independent Retarded Man. He scooted next to me and
began to point out all the sights for the last hour of the trip. He
showed me where they used to get their chickens and the stories he
could remember about all the farms. He was delightful, and was so
pleased that I was interested in hearing all this that he asked for my
name at least as often as he vowed to buy me a cup of coffee at the
station. Which he did, because we got there.
When my dad strolled in, the Independent Retarded Man said, "Good luck
and Merrrrrry Christmas....you!" After that I DID have good luck and a
merry Christmas, and as a special extra bonus, my luggage arrived in
time to go home again.
"There's dogs in the ROAD!" -- Sparky
"Hit them." - Spunky
* alt.foot.fat-free: where you can collect yummy cheese!