I spent the last two months writing in long hand in journals. I’m just now getting around to typing quite a bit of it up. Here is a short snippet from a story about my sister and I trying to get to Korea. Our flight was all messed up the day we were originally scheduled to fly out. We got to the airport only to have them tell us we would need to re-book and try and fly out the next day. This excerpt is about that experience.
“Your flight is delayed an hour and you’ll probably miss your connecting flight on Korean Airlines,” the Alaska Air representative told my sister and I. It was October. My sister and I were at Portland International Airport getting ready to board a flight to San Francisco and then on to Seoul, South Korea.
I felt like shit. I was fighting a cold. I hadn’t slept very well and I was cranky as all get out. The Alaska terminal was crowded. It always was. My sister is sick too. She has strep but is on antibiotics and is cool and collected. The Alaska rep, a middle age woman in the standard Alaska blue uniform: blazer, skirt and red scarf is calm too.
“So what are our options?” My sister asks.
“On paper your connections look good but even if there is a small delay you’ll miss you flight. I don’t want to put you on a flight and have you get stuck at San Francisco International Airport.
Katie knows what she’s doing. Or at least that’s what I’ve always thought. I feel like a basket case. I want to go to Korea today. I’ve wanted to go since February – eight months earlier. Before the boyfriend/non-boyfriend and I broke up. Going on the trip without him makes me sad. I feel like I’ve been sad forever.
“Ok,” I say.
“There’s not another flight until tomorrow and the only seats available are in first class. So even if you made it today I don’t know when you could get out of the airport.”
“Hmm….,” Katie says.
“Your best bet is to call your travel agent and develop a strong plan B,” she tells us.
I feel inferior next to my sister. She was always cuter when she was a toddler and child and prettier when we were teenagers. I look to her for ways to stay calm. My body is overheating in the crowded terminal and there’s a headache developing in my right front lobe. I want to self-will my way to Korea. I’ll do anything it takes to get to a connecting airport. Rent a car, sleep in an airport on the floor overnight, whatever just as long as I can get to Korea.
Katie is going to Korea on business for the first part and pleasure for the second half. We go back to the empty chairs we were originally sitting in and pull out our phones. Katie calls American Express. I call Priceline. Priceline directs me to call Alaska Air. I call Alaska and they tell me to call Korean Airlines. I want to cry.
Katie is re-booked for a flight the next day.
“I’m gonna call David and have him come get us,” she whispers. David is her husband.
“Ok,” I whisper back and listen to the hold music.
We pick up our bags; wheel them out of the concourse and down to baggage claim where David can pick us up along with our niece Khloe. A Korean Air rep comes on the line and tells me I need to call Priceline again. By the time David arrives I’m still on hold with Priceline. I’ve been on the phone for almost an hour and my phone is about to die. David picks us up and I crawl in the back seat of their SUV next to my nineteen month old niece Khloe who is strapped into her car seat. She’s holding on to the plastic baby doll that she carries around with. She says “baby” while she carries it. She’s not old enough to string words together so she says simple things like: baby, sit, car, truck, and eat.
Being in the SUV with them is a reminder of how alone I am. I don’t have a husband or even a boyfriend. I’m on a relationship hiatus. I probably won’t have kids at this rate. Once I pass on to the next level I’ll probably leave everything to Katie and Khloe. It’s a morbid thought but it’s reality. They drop me off at home and I’m still on hold with Priceline. I get out of my street clothes, plug my cell phone into the charger, get into pajamas and crawl into bed. I’m still stressed out but relieved that the Priceline lady is finally getting somewhere and rebooking me on a flight for tomorrow.
Moral of the story: Never use Priceline to book international travel. I ended up spending 3 hours on the phone. It was sooooo frustrating.