Archive for February, 2005

You’ve Missed Your Flight

The man at the ticket counter in Miami International Airport was not smiling.  He looked at my wife and me and said, “I’m sorry, but you have missed your flight.  It is too late to check your luggage.” 

It was difficult news to hear, especially since the big wall clock behind his head read 9:30pm, and the flight from Miami to Key West wasn’t scheduled to leave until 10pm.    I carefully explained to the man that Miami is on Eastern Standard Time.  That meant that we still had about 30 minutes to get our bags checked and to get onto the plane.  I considered this a common sense approach to the issue at hand. 

The ticket counter man was impervious to common sense.  “I’m sorry; there is nothing I can do.  You have missed your flight.” 

As an old school Star Wars fan, I recognized this as a perfect opportunity to use The Force.  I looked at him and in a level voice commanded, “You will check our bags and allow us onto the flight.  Also, you will upgrade us to first class.” 

Ticket Counter Man’s eyes glazed over, but he simply repeated his mantra, “You have missed your flight.” 

I then leaped onto the desk, grabbed Ticket Counter Man by the hair, and smashed his head into the wall clock. 

Ok, not really.  Violence is never the answer.  Instead, I sort of mumbled a bad word at him as my wife and I turned away to ponder this grim turn of events.  It had already been a long day. 

We had traveled from Boston to Miami (via Atlanta) on a different carrier, let’s call it Letad Airlines.  Our flights on Letad Airlines had been crowded, cramped, and very late.  We were already grumpy travelers when we arrived in Miami at 8:45pm to find that our luggage had not been on our plane. 

Our luggage, according to the Letad Baggage Lady, had been on a different plane, and was due to land in Miami at 9pm.  The Letad Baggage Lady assured us that we would have plenty of time to get our luggage at 9pm and make the flight to Key West, so we waited. 

This was, in retrospect, our mistake.  We should have left our bags and had Letad send them to Key West in the morning.  In our defense, trusting Letad not to send our bags to Peru was difficult to fathom at that point. 

The bags arrived promptly at 9:25pm.  We grabbed them and sprinted a quarter mile to catch the Key West flight.  It was then that we encountered Ticket Counter Man. 

After Ticket Counter Man “helped” us, we ran the quarter mile back to the Letad Baggage Lady and explained the situation.  The kind Letad Baggage Lady promised to send our bags along separately, so we left them with her and jogged back a quarter mile, to Airport Security. 

We arrived at Airport Security at 9:45pm, relieved to see that there was no one in line.  It was then that we noticed that our Key West boarding passes had been accidentally left with the Letad Baggage Lady. 

We briskly walked the quarter mile back to the Letad Baggage Lady, picked up the boarding passes, and staggered the quarter mile back to Airport Security.  It was 10:00pm. 

Airport Security told us that the flight had not left yet.  Airport Security then informed me that, according to my boarding pass, I had been “randomly” selected for a security screening.  Ticket Counter had struck again.  The flight was gone by the time Airport Security finished x-raying my shoes.  It was 10:13pm. 

We retrieved our bags, rented a car, and drove to Key West.  We arrived at 2:30am.  The temperature there yesterday was 85 degrees, compared to 13 degrees in Massachusetts.  The Key West tickets were refundable.  I think I’ll send Ticket Counter Man a postcard.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 25 Feb 2005 No Comments

Hot Flashes

I’m all set with winter.  When deciding whether or not to buy a snow blower before this winter, I thought, “Nah, I can get through one winter without one.”  Now I find myself standing in my driveway every week, shouting and shaking my shovel at the unique little flakes that are falling from the clouds. 

My neighbors are probably rooting for some passing airliner to drop a chunk of blue ice on my head. 

Here are some other things that came up the last time I spun the giant wheel of random information: 

…I’ve actually been getting myself out of bed and to the gym before work for the past couple of months.  One day last week, I finished showering after my workout and then realized that I had neglected to pack a towel in my gym bag. 

I would classify it as a “startling realization.”  I was happy to be alone in the locker room. 

As I saw it, my options were limited:  The paper towel dispenser was empty and my gym clothes themselves were soaked.  I did, however, notice that some other guy had left his perfectly dry towel hanging on the door of his locker. 

After a second to consider how gross and wrong it would be, I used his towel and then hung it carefully back on his locker door.  No harm done.  I got dry, and he got his towel back.  His ignorance is my bliss. 

The only catch is that I have since developed a nasty case of athlete’s foot.  I’m thinking of suing the guy… 

…Another thing I’ve been doing lately is playing on eBay.  Despite what the dancing people in the ads might tell you, eBay is a dangerous business.  

My competitive nature tends to overtake fiscal sanity when I’m bidding on an item.  The other bidders need to realize that I am the Alpha Bidder, and that when I bid on something it will be mine (oh yes). 

Also, when I bid on something, I want to receive it RIGHT NOW, not when the auction ends in four days, 20 hours and 13 minutes.  eBay is not the answer for people who demand instant gratification. 

The thrill of eBay victory is often lost on my wife, Maegen.  When I enthusiastically report my latest victory, she will usually reply with something like, “You just bid HOW MUCH?  On some broken piece of junk that you will NEVER USE?” 

My reply of “Yes, but you don’t understand, I won!” is usually not appreciated… 

…The other day, Maegen and I were watching TV and the dog came over and snuggled in between us.  It was nice; we were both patting the dog and feeling pretty good about dog ownership in general. 

It was at that point that the air around us was filled with a cloud of processed Alpo gas.  The dog was so excited about it that she got up and ran around the room.  End of special moment… 

…When Maegen and I were in New York City recently, we took time to go see The Gates in Central Park.  For those who are not aware of The Gates:  Two artists paid for 7,500 orange gates to be temporarily erected over the walking paths of Central Park.  There was a piece of orange cloth hanging down from each gate over the heads of the pedestrians. 

It’s all very artsy.  The website for the artists (http://christojeanneclaude.net), describes the work as “magical” and that to see the work is to “have your reality rocked.” 

When I saw the work, it reminded me of a joke that my friend Mike used to tell. 

Q:  What is big and orange? 

A:  A big orange. 

Like that joke, the exhibit was totally underwhelming; just a bunch of gates and some cloth blowing in the breeze.  Maybe I’m not clued into the artists’ vision, but to me, the gates were just a punch line.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 25 Feb 2005 No Comments

Do My Dad a Favor

“Always go to the dentist,” my father would always tell me, “I don’t care if you don’t have insurance and I have to pay for you, I always want you to go to the dentist. Teeth are handy to have when you get older, and I paid too much for your braces to watch your teeth rot out of your head.”

With that being said, I have an admission to make. Until my recent appointment, I hadn’t been to the dentist for about 8 years, and I had dental insurance the whole time. I’m sorry Dad; you may now call me Yuck Mouth.

The strange thing is that I don’t even mind going to the dentist. I didn’t avoid making appointments because of any deep fear of sitting in the Big Chair. I can handle dental pain.

Once, when I was in middle school, a wire broke free from my braces and began to dig into my gums. I didn’t bother to tell my parents about it, and eventually the wire went through the side of my gum and came back out the other side. I never said a word, and just waited for my regular appointment.

When the orthodontist saw the wire, he almost spit out his dentures. “You sure have a high tolerance for pain,” he sputtered, “why didn’t you call me about this?”

I just shrugged at him. “I don’t know. I guess it was just easier to wait for the appointment.

It was like that after I graduated from college; I found it easier to put the whole thing off than to find a dentist who accepted my insurance and to make an appointment. I can be weird like that. Every other person somehow manages to find the time to make dentist appointments, and I procrastinated about it for 8 years. And, in the spirit of honesty, I wasn’t the one who scheduled my recent appointment. My wife called for me.

There are only two things that I will say in my defense. The first is that I brush my teeth at least twice every single day. The second is that I once tried to go to the dentist, about 6 years ago. I had a friend who worked in a dentist’s office in Boston and I made an appointment with her dentist. When I showed up for my appointment, however, my friend frowned at my insurance card.

“We don’t take this insurance,” she said, “and this appointment will cost you a fortune if you don’t have insurance.”

My insurance had been deemed unworthy, so I left. Most normal people would have immediately found a dentist who DID take their insurance, but not me. I let my teeth pick up 6 more years worth of plaque. I’m not always the smartest guy.

So, after 8 years of procrastination, I found myself in the Big Chair last week with a very nice hygienist scraping the crud from my teeth. I’m sure that my 8 years worth of plaque wasn’t the highlight of her day, but her chair-side manner was very pleasant.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I had been at least a little concerned that she might yell at me, or give me some huge guilt trip. When I was younger, some of my dentists used more guilt than a southern preacher (“Floss or suffer eternal damnation!”).

There was none of that. My hygienist was very positive. She chatted with me about her family and generally put me at ease.

At times, her scraping was a little uncomfortable, and I did rinse quite a bit of O Positive out of my mouth, but overall it wasn’t bad at all. No Steve Martin, no “Little Shop of Horrors”.

The best part of the entire appointment was when she checked out my x-rays and gave me some unexpected good news: No new cavities. I just need to floss more to help out my gums. Phew.

So, I survived it, and you can, too. Do my Dad a favor and call your dentist.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 18 Feb 2005 No Comments

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