After complaining so bitterly about being delayed, I have a helluva nerve leaving you all in suspense for so long. All I can say is the Florida thing and the recent hellish heat wave robbed me of what little energy I had left. It was all I could do to keep up with work and whimper occasionally.
The plane left Tampa nearly three hours late. Once we neared Denver, the plane experienced an identity crisis: am I a plane? Am I a roller coaster? One of those horrifying rides you have to sign a waiver before getting on? The pilot blamed the boisterous bouncing on “microbursts”. I had never heard of them before, but as I considered my mortality, I thought they sounded like a new skin care product or maybe a laundry detergent (“Now with the power of microbursts!” “Cleans your skin with fruit extract microbursts!”).
The Denver airport was deserted, as I suspected. Took a cab to the Marriott, where the receptionist took one look at me and gave me a voucher for a free drink. Before she ran my credit card.
If I hadn’t just spent so much time in the staggering luxury of the Florida resort, this would have seemed like a pretty nice room to spend six hours in. Called Room Service and ordered a bottle of wine before the food. First things first. Tried to flip on TV for a much-needed re-run of something mindless. Didn’t work. Called my friend at the front desk.
Room Service brought the wrong wine. Eventually he returned with the right one and the TV repairman. By the time all this was straightened out and the bottle of wine empty, I had five hours to sleep before taking the shuttle back to the airport.
Looking out the window of the shuttle, I saw no signs of a mile high (or even half a mile high) city, just dead brown fields and dark grey sky. The Denver airport’s roof appeared to be made of a collection of weird white tents. The security line looked like those photos of people waiting for food in Communist Russia, right down to the hopeless expressions.
When I finally got through the metal detectors, it was more than half an hour later. The security guy gave me a hard time for putting my tiny Ziploc bag of toiletries on top of my iBook in the bin. I asked why, and he said it made it harder to scan. I pointed out that my completely opaque jacket was on top of my shoes, and that didn’t seem to be an issue.
This may have led to the ensuing bag search. He victoriously brandished my nearly empty tube of Tom’s of Maine all natural toothpaste and started explaining how many people make the mistake of not including their toothpaste in the Ziploc bag. I zipped up my bag and walked away in mid-speech, saying, “Throw it out. Just throw it out.” You’d have to be pretty creative and/or determined to blow up a plane with a teaspoon of baking soda toothpaste, but that’s just my opinion.
I never thought I’d be so happy to see Oakland.