Those of you readers from the Northwest know that we've had a bit of a winter "situation" on our hands this past two weeks. Seattle and Portland have had multiple snow storms blow through, dumping white stuff on everything from shore to mountaintop. It's unprecedented, really, because though Salem (my hometown) typically gets a light dusting every year, it's nowhere near this kind of wintry deluge and it's never so early in the year.
I was worried that between storms, I wouldn't be able to get from Long Beach to Portland this year for Christmas. I spent two days obsessively checking the weather and my flight status, hoping for a clue as to where I'd be spending the holidays; at home in Keizer, or pitching a snit fit in California. Luckily, as of 5 p.m. on the day of my flight (Tuesday), it was only looking to be 10 minutes late. I hightailed it to the airport (thanks for the ride, Ash) and checked in. (A note about John Wayne Airport: I love you. I love you. From check in to front gate took a grand total of 10 minutes. Brilliant).
As soon as I sat down at the gate, though, I noticed that my flight had been pushed back from 7:45 to 8:45. It's as if God knew the entire time, 'Yeah, Laurel will get home just fine. But not before I get my celestial kicks with the whole 'weather' thing." And sure enough, the next time I checked, my flight had been pushed back to 9:30 p.m.
While I was waiting, a few alarms began to sound (a comforting soundtrack for sitting in an airport, I assure you) and a voice came over the loudspeaker, urgently announcing a "code 5 security breach." Well, lovely. Alarmed airport security began circling like vultures and I wondered, why are they alarmed? I couldn't imagine, but I suspect they all collectively realized that their uniform pants don't fit very well. "Say, Constance, I think my pants make my ass look big."
"Shauna, I think MY pants make MY ass look big!"
"SOUND THE ALARM. NOW. OUR PANTS MAKE OUR ASSES LOOK LIKE GLACIAL MASSES."
And so on.
Finally at 9:30 p.m. we were able to board the plane, but we were informed that our normally 2-hour flight would take a wee bit longer because, oh yes, we had to take off from Orange County and land at LAX to pick up our captain. Oh of course. Our fearless pilot couldn't possibly have taken ground transportation to get from point A to point OC. No, no. Nothing but the friendly skies would do! So we landed in LA about 20 minutes later. Turns out Cher Horowitz' dad is right: Everything in LA really is twenty minutes away.
Finally at 1:15 a.m. I landed in Portland. I immediately called my dad, who was supposed to pick me up. Turns out, he was stuck in Wilsonville (about 30 miles out from Salem and 10 miles from the airport), and it had taken him 3 hours to get there. He said it might be a couple hours more before he arrived, if he arrived at all. And from the Heavens, a celestial laugh boomed forth, "MWAH-HAHA-HAH!"
Yep, loud and clear Big Guy. Thanks for the reminder.
I decided to take a cab to meet my dad where he was waiting. I don't know about you guys, but do you find that ALL cabbies look eminently sketchy no matter where you are? Mine had bloodshot eyes and not a single chain on his tires despite the fact that he mumbled "Sure," when I questioned whether his tires were safe.
We careened down the 5 while I prayed the entire time, LORD, I SWEAR IF YOU TAKE MY LIFE IN THIS WAY, I MIGHT JUST SIT OUTSIDE HEAVEN'S GATES AND SULK FOR AWHILE.
But I made it. And we started the long drive home and by 4 am. 11 hours after the whole travel ordeal began, I was doggedly, gratefully, FINALLY home.
Merry Christmas, everyone.