Newsgroups: alt.foot.fat-free,alt.slack

Subject: Pants Diaries: I'll be Home for Christmas

From: nospamum@radix.net (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

phone.

 

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

airline.

 

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

lobby.

 

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

those terms.

 

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

place.

 

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

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