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Standby Safari

March 17, 2007, 6:43 pm

Guess what? My flight to Baltimore was cancelled! I spent the night in Atlanta! I paid for a hotel room in Baltimore when I actually needed a hotel room in Atlanta! Yay!

So I went to stand in another line for another two hours where everyone was ripping their hair out and weeping. Fortunately, I have had a great deal of psychotherapy, and I said to myself: “This feeling you have, Radical, of wanting to gut the nearest Delta employee is merely unfinished childhood business. It is all those feelings you were never permitted to express when your mother was always late to pick you up and then did not understand that it was only her own narcissism, and her inability to see you as the person that you were, that unconsciously — and yet, deliberately — prevented your on-time departure. It is those deep feelings of loss and abandonment that were conjured up by the belief that your mother never really wanted to be a mother, and might really leave you at the departure gate — er, the skating rink. And that terror welling up from your adult brain transforms itself into anger, so committed are you to protecting yourself from these labile, infantilizing feelings of existential aloneness.”

Hence: by the time I got to the Delta representative, I was the only person in line, including the nun, who had not already been in a shouting match with someone in navy blue with red piping.

Hence again: the representative, so happy was she to be greeted by an exhausted, vulnerable “He-e-e-e-llo-o-o,” with a calculated tear brimming at the edge of the eye, instead of a low growl, that she listed me as “military” on the manifest which gave me access to priority seating status. And — unlike everyone else in that line but our boys and girls in mottled, digitized gray –today I actually have a seat with a number on a plane that will really take off at 10:35 tonight, if I don’t get standby earlier.

So, worst case scenario I wait in the airport for another ten hours or so. And if you think I should feel guilty for impersonating a soldier, I don’t. I consider this only partial compensation for the use of my tax dollars for this horrid, illegal war.

Hint: when stuck in airport, do not use the courtesy phones to get a room at the airport motel. It doesn’t work. Use the web, even late at night. Even though the Orbitz website malfunctioned, and I had to duke it out with them this morning because they logged in (and charged for) the reservation *four* times, I think I have gotten that sorted out too. And I started the day with six hours sleep and a shower. And a nice gay boy in the lobby drove me to the airport and made me laugh and invited me to a huge party on Sutton Place in New York.

But the other outcome of this hideous end to a great research trip — other than that I have completed and sent all extant recommendations — is that I have a great new line. The next time a student or a colleague gets on my nerves I am going to look deeply into his/her eyes and say, gently but forcefully, “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to speak to your supervisor.”

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End note: Oso Raro, of course you don’t steal pictures. Neither do I (imagine the sound of trilling laughter.)

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