Thursday, November 01, 2007

Heading south

I got off to a shaky start for the Southern Circuit when two
multiple car collisions stopped traffic for an hour and a
half kept me from gettting to my flight on time. And since
I had a screening scheduled for 7:30pm in High Point, N.C.,
I worried about whether I'd make it.

Once I finally broke loose from the trafiic and raced to Logan, I
scrambled out of the car and quickly stuffed a few remaining items--
including a dozen books -- into my bags. I always take a bag full of
research books with me when I travel, since I fully intend to use
downtime to advance my newest script. The books are heavy and
I rarely get to use them, but even one day of writing helps advance
the next project. And I guess it's always good to know that
they're there.

With stuff still flying out of my bags, the regular gate shuttle was nowhere
to be seen. So I commandeered an airport maintenance van driver to get
me to the gate. Maybe I could still make the flight and be assured
of getting to the screening. But I missed the flight and booked
a seat on the next Boston shuttle to Washington D.C.--with a 6pm
arrival in High Point. But I still had one or two obstacles to
overcome. The first was that, in my haste, I had thown too much
stuff into too many bags. The airline clerk wanted to charge me an
extra $80--so I repacked on the spot, stuffing the contents of
one bag into another. I shoved my checked bags onto the scales
and closed my eyes. They were still too heavy so and re-shuffled again,
putting more than I wanted to lug around into my carry-on
bags. Now I was legit.

Then on to the gate. I got snagged at the x-ray machine
for "liquids" that mistakenly ended up in my carry-on bag
as a result of the re-shuffling. Normally, I'd just chuck them
--but I realized that I had two tubes of this Bert's Bees
avocado hair stuff that keeps my hair from flying out everywhere
and getting totally weird. I pay $12 a tube for it--and I suddenly
decided I was unwilling to throw it away. Just out of principal.
I don't know why I had two tubes but I guess I just threw
them into my bag when they arrived by mail.

So, I decided to do the "plastic bag" routine, which
I'd never done before--which meant I had to leave
the gate area, go all the way back out to a news stand
and buy a 35 cent plastic bag to put all the stuff into.

Except that the bag could only contain bottles of
3.5 ounces or less. And the avacado tubes were
4 oz. So, I rummaged at the newstand and found a set
of three empty 3.5 oz. plastic bottles that were designed for
suckers like me.

So I bought them with exactly 20 minutes to get to the
airplane. And I went into the men's room to squeeze
all the avocado goop out of their tubes and into the new
plastic bottles.

You can see where this is going.

The messiest toddler--after helping herself to a quart of apple
sauce would look like Martha Stewart compared to the way I ended up. The
goop was too thick to go neatly into the bottles--and when
I got the nozzle into the plastic bottle, the stuff formed a seal and
wouldn't go in at all--so I moved the tube a touch off center
and the stuff flopped out and oozed everywhere.

I had to completely wash up three times--and managed to
capture about 1/4 of the avocado stuff and should have
given up but I was determined at this point. It took 17 minutes
to perform this operation, as stupefiedmen in business suits
wondered what in hell I was doing.

So, I sprinted back tot he x-ray machine and they searched
everything, including me, from top to bottom. And they
found another tube of the avocado stuff and chucked it,
and then said I was only allowed to have one plastic baggie
of stuff--and I had two--so they chucked that.

Then they did two rounds of bomb tests on my computer
and on the remaining avocado stuff, since it was obvious that it has
been recently forced into the bottle, which, by the way, will
never squeeze it back out. I will have to suck it out of
the bottle, like syphoning gas out of a tank--and spit it
into my hands and rub it on my head after I wash my
hair--and I only have enough for about four showers.

So, I was now late for the next plane, which meant
I wouldn't make the new connection, so I ran to the
gate, telling them to hold it open....

and guess what?

The pilot had gotten stuck in same traffic jams I did--and
he was late--so I made it.

NEXT: Arriving in High Point.