Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To BlogHer...well, not really...

I told no one about this while I was there because I was still licking my wounds, but here, in the "anonymity" of the internet, I'm ready to share. Believe me, those of you who were feeling sorry for yourselves for not attending BlogHer, you can take a small consolation in knowing that you did NOT want to be in my shoes that day.

Thursday, July 17. A day I'd looked forward to for months. A day that was to be the beginning of my "wild, non-mommy extravaganza".

It all started well. The cab picked me up on time. There was no traffic to the airport. I even had a coupon. The driver dropped me off at the VirginAmerica terminal, I tipped him and he was gone. I rolled my bags inside and looked for the check-in counters.

They were dark.
Not an employee in the entire terminal.
It was eerie.

A maintenance employee informed me that I was dropped at VirginATLANTIC terminal, not VirginAMERICA. VirginAMERICA was four terminals down and a terminally late shuttle ride away.

When I finally boarded the plane, I was rushed, harried, and in a sweat. I stopped to take my seat in Row 5 but on it lay some Seventh Day Adventist literature and a large, take out cup of Diet Coke wedged into the netting of the seat pocket. I asked the woman sitting in the middle if the items were hers.

"No," she said.
"Do you know whose they are?" I pushed.
"No," she turned back to her texting.

I picked up the soda and the reading material and put them in the aisle seat and pocket across from me. In my state, all I wanted to do was sit down and settle in. I wanted it to be someone else's problem.

Minutes later it was. While getting into her seat, a woman knocked into the Diet Coke, spilling the contents onto her and the floor by her feet. She called the flight attendant who quickly came to her aide.

I turned to the women next to me and grimaced, "I feel bad," I said.

I wanted to confess to someone, to appease my guilt. I wanted to explain to her that since she, WHO WAS ALREADY SITTING THERE, didn't know whose stuff it was, I assumed that the airline staff had neglected to pick up the trash. (I usually fly American and for them this would not have been unusual). In hindsight, I should have called an attendant to take the stuff away. (WTF good is hindsight anyway if it always comes after the fact?!)

Irritated at my interruption, the woman put down her cell phone and said, "Excuuuse me?" with such venom and attitude that I thought I must have cut in on some amazingly, hot SMS sex.

"Forget it," I said waving her back to her virtual orgasm. (The bitch actually scared me!)

So there I sat with a possessed Linda Blair on one side and a poor, unfortunate, coke-sodden soul on the other when a man said,

"You're in my seat."
I turned around to find a tall, blond hovering over me.
"No, I'm not," showing him my boarding pass. "I'm in 5F."
"5F is the window, you're in 5C"

He pointed to the diagram above my head. As I was processing that I was indeed in the wrong seat he started yelling, "Where's my Diet Coke? Where's my stuff? WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY STUFF?"

"It's over there," I answered back, my eyes downcast as I pointed to the wet and sticky woman across the aisle.

I squeezed past Satan with my carry-on, slinked into my window seat, closed my eyes, and tried to block out the world.

I felt like a high school outcast. As if everyone was talking ABOUT me but no one was talking TO me. I ran through the scenario in my head. I used my best take-aways from therapy (and yoga) to consider how to make things right. I didn't care about the hot-tempered man, or the demonic sex fiend, just about the poor woman who now thought badly of me for not confessing to the crime.

I needed to apologize. I had no idea how she would react, I knew it would be embarrassing, but I believed, at the very least, I would earn some good karma with the offer of some genuine mea culpa.

After landing, the tall man searched for his carry-on in the overhead bin.

"Did you move my luggage, too?" he yelled despite the fact I was within sniffing distance of his body odor.

I quietly but definitively replied, "I did not TOUCH your luggage."

The coke-drenched woman pointed the man to his suitcase in the opposite bin.

I sought her out around the baggage carousel, introduced myself and apologized for my bad behavior. I told her I would have confessed but after the man screamed at me, all I wanted to do was crawl under a rock and hide. She was very nice about the whole scenario and it was a good thing because she is a BLOGHER EDITOR.

Can I pick 'em or can I pick 'em?

We shared a cab to the hotel and all became right with the world.

Chalk one up for mid-life wisdom, years of therapy, and a fear of bad karma.


Mrs. G. said...

Are you by any chance Catholic? I smell institutional guilt.

merlotmom said...

Jewish...jewish guilt. Same diff.

Jennifer said...

OMG--what an ordeal!! I'm glad it turned out well in the end--but I was cringing while reading your story! People can be so mean...and the darkened terminal--that would have freaked me out!!

Manic Mommy said...

Ooof. I totally would have taken all that as a bad omen. Your karma was definitely restored by seeking her out to confess. Better if you paid (or at least offered to pay) for the cab.

BTW, I think one of my first comments to you asked if you were Catholic. Peas in a pod...

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

Oh NO! I'm so sorry the start of your trip was so tough. It turned out awesome though, right? Am I right??

I was great meeting you at BlogHer!

the mama bird diaries said...

Wow. That's a rough start. I would have cried and gone home. :)

JCK said...

I had no idea...this story made me stomach clench. Glad it had a happy share a cab to the hotel ending!

ByJane said...

Oh wow, now the iPhone in the toilet adds another karmic thrill. Wonder what the universe was trying to tell you....? Next year we'll go together.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Yep, you can pick 'em!

lizriz said...


And thus, the adventures of Merlot Mom and an Everyday Goddess began...


I'd take you over crazy angry guy any day.

merlotmom said...

Liz - Thanks for being so gracious. Besides, you KNEW I had to write about it eventually. Once I got over the total shame, it was a pretty damn funny scenario.

Magpie said...

Damn - I didn't know where that one was going, but I think it ended up okay.

Plane travel brings out the best and the worst.

RedBullMom said...

Ok, so sorry about your string of unfortunate events that morn'. However can I just say.... I am so glad that kind of crap doesn't only happen to me!? For a time, my colleagues called me "Black Cloud" for it rained bad luck wherever I went.

Glad you persevered and made it a very memorable trip. :)

A Mom Two Boys said...

Geesh, how could you NOT have shared this story with me? I would have helped you track that asshat down and pour a diet coke on his head. And some of the toilet water from your IPhone.

Sorry your trip kinda sucked. Next year we'll travel together, okay?
:0) Then you're BOUND to have a great time.

phd in yogurtry said...

All's well that ends well? Not really. Sorry you were surrounded by such rudeness. It's awful to be humiliated in such a confined, crowded space. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, noone to turn off their devices so you can explain. Horrid.

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