BLOGGED ALONG THE WAY: WILD WILD WEST EDITION #4 - Conclusion
Day 9 – Sunday, July 1, 2007: We had to get up at 4:00 am to get the rental car back and get to the airport in time to catch the flight home. When we got up to the ticket desk to check our luggage, a clot of people had formed. Most of us were using the automatic check in computers, but we still had to wait in line to hand over our baggage and tell them that no one had put anything into our luggage without our knowledge. Something about that just tickles me to death. If someone put something into our luggage without our knowledge, how are we going to know? Geez. Well, we stood there in a gradually growing line waiting for our turn. There was some kind of issue with the family before us, so it took a while. As we waited, a guy – who looked like the lead singer of Cold Play and whom I named “Man Purse” in my head, mainly because he was carrying a man purse – came up and stood next to us rather than behind us in the line. Steve and I both thought that he was going to try and get in front of us, which would suck. When the family left, Mr. Lee, Steve, and I began to walk forward when some chick came out of nowhere, not even the front of a second line that had formed, and handed her stuff to the ticket agent. Of course, as genteel southerners (koffkoff) we said nothing, but Man Purse looked up at her and in completely deadpan tones said “Hey, there’s a line. You just cut in front of eeeeeeeverybody.” The lady turned bright red and snatched her things back from the ticket agent and went back to her place in line. Man Purse motioned for us to go on, so we did our check in thing. So, thank you, Man Purse, and I apologize for the conclusion we jumped to about you!
After all of the car bombs and craziness that was going on in England, I was afraid it would take us forever to get through security. Once we made it to the security area, there was a line all of the way down the corridor. Luckily, the line went fast if you knew what to do. Basically take off everything but your pants and walk through the metal detector. I was really afraid that they would take my ice packs away from me, as I had packed my chocolate into my carry-on bag so it didn’t get smushed, but since I pulled them out of the bag and sent it through the x-ray machine and it was still frozen, they didn’t keep it! Yay! The chocolate was safe for another day! Since we were on our way home, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the struggle of the plastic bag and 3 oz toiletries, I had just packed them with the rest of my luggage and so they didn't have to decide whether my toothpaste was plastic explosive. Since we had gotten through security faster than we thought, we had a while to wait on our flight.
The weirdest thing happened after I went into one of those stores that sell snacks and magazines. I just wanted to get some kind of magazine to read on the plane, but the bride, fashion, and home and garden mags weren’t calling out to me. I was scanning a pile to see what else I could find, and I came across an Esquire that had a new, and exclusive, Stephen King novella printed in it. Of course I wanted to read it, but I felt odd buying a magazine with a mostly naked Angelina Jolie on the cover. So I went to the paperback section and figured that I could find some book – any book – to buy with it so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. I didn’t see anything I wanted, but I grabbed a book called “The House Next Door” that sounded marginally interesting and paid for my purchases. The novella lasted until we were in Atlanta on a layover, and since I was bored and too far away from any interesting shops and whatever, I decided to read the book. It is a good book and I got sucked in right away. I kept on reading until we boarded our flight to Huntsville, which was continuously being pushed back because of “maintenance crews on board” and ended up being over an hour and a half late.
OK, here is the weird thing. While we were traveling out west, I started thinking randomly about how much I used to read in junior high and high school. I was one of the few people in our class to actually check books out at the library, and I wound up reading a great deal of books that I picked out not knowing anything about the stories or authors. I was thinking about those random books and two popped into my head, one was a book about a haunted house and the other was about a woman who cross-stitched. I know, they sound fascinating, right? Well, I wasn’t thinking about them hard or anything, just wishing I knew what they were called so I could find them and read them again – because they were interesting. While sitting on the plane back to Huntsville, I was reading the book I had just bought, and realized that it was the book about the haunted house that had randomly popped into my head earlier that week! *twilight zone music*. Well, I thought it was weird, anyways…
We finally got to take off and in due time, with no fanfare, we landed in Huntsvegas. I was directed outside to sit with our carry on luggage until the rest of it could be collected from baggage claim. I waited and waited, and finally Steve and Mr. Lee came outside sans bags. The airline had lost them! Again! The stupid airline LOST Steve’s and my luggage! Now, since we were home it wasn’t a big deal except for one thing. Steve and I both packed our prescription medicines in our checked baggage! Also, my hair dryer and most of my summer clothes! AAAAARRRRRGH! What do these people have against me getting to my destination with my stuff? I’m determined to figure out how I can carry everything I need on the plane as a carry on from now on. It’s just getting ridiculous!
So we made it home, sans luggage of course, and I am glad to be back. There is always something terribly anticlimactic about coming home from a long and adventurous journey. However, there is also something wonderful about coming home, too. I enjoyed my trip, every minute of it except for the hot temperatures, and even that can be filed away under “new and unusual”. So now back to my everyday adventures.