Thursday, December 22, 2005

getting there is half the fun!

so i'm in atlanta with my parents at this very moment. nothing like hanging out with the old folks at home. getting here was something of a blur. i think i slid in sideways.

after staying up all night long doing things like making bank deposits and cleaning house, i called harlem car service to take me to la guardia. absolutely everyone else i called was overbooked, thanks to the strike, including everyone's old reliable -- supershuttle. the harlem car service was on time and remarkably efficient. a tall dark slender african man was at my door before 8am, calling me "ma-ma" and taking my bags to his trunk with so much snap and energy, it forced me to attention. i actually stayed awake for most of the ride. in spite of the snags we hit with the cops and the traffic and the barricades, he got me there within 30 minutes. remarkable.

la guardia was a mob scene. the lines were endless. they snaked back around onto each other so thoroughly that you didn't really know which line you were in until it was too late. oh, the humanity. the screaming babies and bratty children and the fat people and the blue-haired old ladies being carted around. and the whiny teenagers. everyone, so badly dressed, clutching their small dogs and sitting on their luggage, eating greasy things.

i somehow mentally braced myself for all this. one thing is for certain: if i get to be a pop star with money, the first thing i'm getting is my own plane.

my plane ticket was a buddy pass, a christmas gift from my sister-in-law, whose mother worked for an airline. this meant that i would be flying stand by -- a crap shoot on any day but this was special. all the direct flights to atlanta were oversold. i took a cue from a progressive looking brother who flat-out lied his way through the first class line baggage check to get to the gate. i could tell that he was going to atlanta. in my "which-line-am-i-in" confusion, i walked up to him and asked him if he was first class. he said yes without hesitation. undaunted, i went back in line and waited for another opening. when i finally got past security and reached the gate, he was standing there like a one-man welcoming party. and of course, he talked to me like he'd known me my whole life.

"you made it," he blurted, smiling. surprise, surprise -- he wasn't first class. he told the baggage check person that his wife just stepped through security and he was trying to catch up with her, so they wouldn't be separated. "my future wife," he explained jovially. "we just haven't met yet." after i listened to him explain how he stretches the truth to get what he wants, he told me that i should reroute my ticket into greensboro, sc or greenville, nc. plenty of seats to atlanta from there. he knew. he had already checked and was on his way to south carolina. ten minutes later, i'm in a plane i had to walk outside to get to, headed for the runway, ready for take-off to north carolina -- only to be derailed for an hour while they taxied us to the sidelines and de-iced the wings. i spent the better part of an hour strapped to my chair on a crampy little plane stuck next to a pimply sleepy shaggy-haired goateed hippy-looking co-ed who couldn't remember any of what happened to him the night before after going to see "spam-a-lot" with a bunch of friends on broadway. and yes, he looked a hot mess.

i made my connection, made it to atlanta, made it to the baggage claim. lo and behold, they lose my vanity case. the one with all my beauty products in it. my perricone stuff. my z. bigetti moisturizer. my nars mud mask. my brand new oversized bottle of freakin' kiehl's creme de corp body lotion. i checked that case as an afterthought. lesson learned. frankly, i'd rather lose my clothes. they'd be a lot cheaper to replace.

my mother and my brother come to get me. on the way home, she pulls over to the side of the road and buys a huge bag of pecans from someone that's also selling chopped firewood from the back of his pickup truck. even though i know that i won't be truly comfortable until i exfoliate and moisturize, this makes me very happy.

i get my vanity case the next day. merry christmas to me.

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