Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still In a New York State of Mind

We couldn’t get off that plane fast enough. And since the airline personnel reciprocated our desire to put as much distance between us and them as possible, the shell shocked passengers of the-flight-that-we-thought-would-never-end basically grabbed the closest available piece of luggage and vamoosed the hell outta there. Never mind whether it was actually your luggage…we were beyond caring. Evidently, we were on the honor system…foolish airline personnel!

As we raced through the Fort Lauderdale Airport…me trailing significantly behind Tonia, basically due to my top-heavy, unbalanced luggage, I realize that Tonia is talking to me…albeit over her shoulder:

Tonia: “…Are you listening to me? 1993 called and they want their shoes back.”

Kathryn: “What? What’re you talking about? Are you talkin’ to ME?” (Said with a seriously-heavy New Yawk accent, reeking of attitude, as I try unsuccessfully to plant my hand on my hip and trot behind her at the same time.) “This is all news to me…these are the same shoes I wore this entire trip and NOW you’ve got a problem with them?”

T: “This is not new. Mark my words: those shoes are not leaving Florida. Who wears shoes like that?”

K: “Oh my God…are you kidding me? Do you not know me? What do I care what shoes I have on for a nine-hour-flight-from-hell? If you don’t like the way they look, then don’t look down there…look here…at my sunshine, vacation-deprived face.”

T: (Rolls eyes) “Uh huh. Talk to the hand. Those shoes are history.”

K: “Geez! This is a different side to you! We’ve been in Florida for, what?...like, ten minutes?...and already you’re a fashion tyrant. This is MY vacation, too…and I’ll wear bad shoes if I want to.”

T: “No, you won’t. C’mon…we have to go outside to catch the shuttle for the car rental.”

As the first set of automatic doors open, we’re in this little vestibule with a second set of automatic glass doors in front of us. A computer-generated female voice says “Welcome…isn’t this a beautiful day?” Tonia does not even slow at this, but I am enchanted…who is this greeter and how does she know what kind of day it is? I slow my pace and begin to respond to this unseen entity with “Yes. Yes, it IS a beautiful day, unknown-computer-generated-female voice!....But how did you---” and Tonia pulls me out the second door and into a BLAST of Florida humidity.

My hair immediately turned to Brillo. (This means it seriously frizzed up, for anyone who doesn’t know what “Brillo” is.) Standing there, I watched a pigeon walk casually across the street…unaware of the approaching traffic or the toxic gusts of exhaust fumes…its head bobbing back and forth like some kind of robotic toy. In my travel-delirium, I found this to be hilariously funny.

This made me think of Connor and I realized I needed to let him know we’d landed safely as I’m sure he was deeply troubled by my absence and was beside himself with worry as to my whereabouts.

I actually think he was napping….or watching teevee…or maybe both. He sounded distracted and somewhat annoyed by my intrusive phone call, but he perked up at my detailed description of the Robotic Florida Pigeon. He thanked me for the “mental snapshot” and said he had to go.

…And I carried him for NINE LONG MONTHS.

After what seemed like forever, the rental-car-tram arrived. (“Tram” is just a fancy name for “bus”, by the way.) The tram operator slammed my luggage into the holding compartment and I winced at images of my laptop’s memory taking a permanent trip over to the dark side.

Once aboard, we were packed sardine-like in a standing-room-only subway-style space…complete with straps and poles for either supporting a vertical position, or pole dancing…depending on your preference. We then lurched, sped up, lurched and sped up yet again, as the driver did everything in his power to catapult as many passengers as possible onto the floor of the vehicle. Evidently, this was the only purpose of this ride…as I learned after about 10 minutes of lurching/speeding up that the rental area was a mere stone’s throw from the terminal…was in fact, across the street from said terminal….and didn’t we all feel pretty foolish about now?

Ten minutes later, we’d lurched to a stop…and I could swear we were right back where we started.

jh said...

That is all too funny. Admit it, Tonia's right about your shoes. I know I haven't seen them, but if they look anything like what I travel in I'm sure she's right.

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