Far from home, days 1-2

A brief note about Monday's comments (the kindness of which rendered me temporarily paralyzed): I've never been told in my life that I have good hair. In fact I spent my formative years doing an uncanny Magenta impression from Rocky Horror. That comment alone was worth the agony of deciding whether to post a photo. Thank you for that.


I have made it to LA. I can almost feel my lips swelling with collagen-injected empathy as we speak.

What you don't know is that I arrived here by way of Orlando, destination of choice for middle-aged couples in matching lavender plaid Bermuda shorts. (Note: If you are wearing a t-shirt that says chick magnet, you are decidedly not.)

Here's how my extendatrip began:

Outside Delta Song gate 24, Charlie Brown's teacher came over the PA to announce wah wah wah WAH wah wah WAHWAH all seats may now board. And so I got on line. I was eager to get comfortable, score a pillow, settle in for a few brutal rounds of in-flight trivia against the other passengers (gotta love those TV screens at your seat). However when I reached the the front of the line, I was told that all seats were not boarding and I should step aside, ma'am, until we call your group number, which is nine. And so I stepped aside and waited.





No one left in the entire terminal except me.

Still waiting.

Still waiting.

I approached the front again, asking politely whether I might get on the plane. The troll-like ticket agent craned what she had of a neck from side to side, scanning the waiting area. Then in one of those you-can't-make-this-stuff-up moments, looked me right in the eyes and belted into her microphone, "NOW BOARDING GROUP NINE. GROUP NINE, YOU'RE FREE TO BOARD."

Group nine--me--stepped up to the gate. "Group nine?" she asked sweetly like she had never seen me before. Then she waved me through.

And oh, I did get off that plane as trivia champion of Delta Song flight 2008, narrowly edging out CHAD in seat 12E with a lucky 500-pointer about the team occupying Miller Stadium. (Answer: A. Milwaukee Brewers) Do not ever challenge my ability to fill valuable grey matter with useless factoids, CHAD. I will take you down.

My night was spent in the Bates Motel-like accomodations where my client had seen fit to store me for the night. The mattress felt like the stuffing had been removed and replaced with crumpled cardboard. While I was freezing all night, it seemed a better solution than pulling the coverlet over me; who knows what bodily fluids and unknown substances might have been revealed by an eager 20-20 investigative reporter armed with a black light. And I am not sure how it is possible to wake up every half hour hearing someone thumping around on the floor above, when you are STAYING ON THE UPPERMOST FLOOR, but somehow that was the case. I don't think I'll be returning any time soon.

The motel was located on scenic International Drive (that's I-Drive to you, my one Orlando-area reader). Imagine the love child of an illicit tryst between Times Square and the food court of your local mall, and you've pretty much got I-Drive. The funniest place there (and that's saying a lot) is a retail establishment called Bargain World that was built in the shape of a flying saucer. My coworker Mike and I have imagined their low-budget local ads as something like this:

Open on two men dressed like aliens. Green make-up, sparkles on face, bouncy antennas headbands, cheap silver space suits. They speak in a staccato tone, overenunciating each word in the style of the Coneheads.

ALIEN ONE: Meep meep. Meeeeeeep meep meep meep. Meep meep meep.

ALIEN TWO: That means we come from space. To bring you bargains.

ALIEN ONE: Meepmeepmeep. Meeeeeep. Meep meep.

ALIEN TWO: That means low low prices. Every day.

ALIENS IN UNISON: Bargain World. The bargains are out of this woooooooorld!

Sadly, on this trip we discovered that the flying saucer had been replaced with a pedestrian, boxy building. We can only assume that the mothership took off into the universe in search of more bargains.

Mike, by the way, is one of the best business travel companions you could ask for. While he kicks ass in a meeting, he's also the guy who eggs you into having just one more cocktail (which is never just one more), laughs too loud even when sober, and generally insures that I'm having fun instead of staring mournfully at my daughter's picture on my cell phone. He's also Irish. Enough said?

Mike is one of those Blackberry addicts, which made for some great Mike laughing too loud moments in the Orlando airport on the way to the other coast, particularly as his Blackberry began to show signs of demise.

Oh no! The spinning hourglass of doom. And what's that line? Has it flatlined for good?

20 minutes without the Blackberry. Mike starts to get the shakes.
Drastic measures are called for and compressions begin.

The situation deteriorates further. Mouth to PDA resuscitation begins.
The old lady reading Danielle Steele across from us is not amused.

Our efforts were not for naught. The patient lives!
Time for a cocktail.

As you might be able to tell, were just a little punchy. Five hours of very interrupted sleep followed by seven straight hours of client meetings in a windowless conference room will do that to you.

We should never be allowed to upgrade to first class.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

MMMMM, ice cream. I want some. Um, since I live in LA I will try not to tak offense at your LA comment. ALthough since I completly agree with you and I've never had or will have my lips injected with collagen, i guess we're good. :) If I'd been freezing, I might have pulled up the cover. You can always bathe in bleach later.

3/29/06, 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and my husband and useless trivia....remind me never to play against you.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that your camera is playing funny tricks on us because Holy-crap-Mike-couldn't-truly-be-THAT-RED (even though he is Irish and had a few drinks and all)!

3/29/06, 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll have to have a game of useless trivia at blogher. I'm the reigning MS queen.

Glad to hear the bates-motel didn't dampen your spirits er... sarcasm.

3/29/06, 2:31 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

all hail to mike and all those who laugh often and loudly. those people make me feel safe and warm. glad you're back mom-101!

(as for magenta hair--think ginger frizz yoko ono right now, and you got me pegged. i will use hot oil treatment should i chose to show myself to the world)

3/29/06, 2:38 PM  
Blogger ms blue said...

Those damn Orlando ghosts kept you up all night running on the roof. Spooky.

I thought you're supposed to catch up on sleep when you are away from your adorable baby. Well that, or drink cocktails into the wee hours of the morning. Have fun!

3/29/06, 2:51 PM  
Blogger zinalasvegas said...

Let me just say, as a veteran of MANY a horrenda-biz-trips, you are SO FORTUNATE to travel with someone who a) laughs and b) DRINKS.

My "companions" were always "dry," even after an interminable day in a windowless conference room under flattering flourescent lights.

One time I ordered a WHOLE BOTTLE of wine to my room via room service, so as not to be seen clinging to a barstool in the hotel "lounge" in front of my temperate colleagues.

HOO-ray for the Irish!

3/29/06, 3:52 PM  
Blogger city dweller said...

I just found this blog through another-I love your tagline!

3/29/06, 4:20 PM  
Blogger Table4Five said...

Great story! I agree about the hotel blanket and sheets-I've seen some "hidden camera investigations" that made my skin crawl.

Are you saying that in First Class you get TWO flavors of ice cream AND a Pirouette cookie? I am SO upgrading the next time I fly. In Coach you just get a teeny bag of pretzels that make you thirsty, and if you ask for more than one 4-oz glass of soda the "Flight Attendant" positively glares at you.

3/29/06, 4:29 PM  
Blogger Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I lived in Orlando for seven years, I'd like to apologize on behalf of the cheesiness factor that encompasses Central Florida.

3/29/06, 4:54 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Elizabeth, yes we get just enough freezer burnt ice cream and cookie to make phallic shapes with it. We did consider asking the flight attendant to put a few dabs of whipped cream in the appropriate spot at the tip of the cookie, but since she already hated us we decided against.

3/29/06, 5:16 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Dang - someone's thrown the smack down for a game of Trivial Pursuit. And I'm willing to put up big stakes. I kick some unbelievable monkey ASS at that game. And NTN. Blogher next year ... alas ...

3/29/06, 6:40 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

With the exception of the Bates Motel and Troll-Like Ticket agent, sounds like you are making the best of your trip. Your travelling companion sounds great.

Love your blog. Love it. Can totally tell you are an ad woman (but I mean that in a nice way). I am assuming you are a writer (I am married to a creative director/art director and i used to be a "suit" for 10 years).

Look forward to hearing all about the LA adventure.

3/29/06, 7:40 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Oh my, you are a very busy girl. I loved the picture, but you had so many comments that the window crashed my computer! Seriously.

Anyway, you look like you have a great sense of humor- something about the wry smile, I think.

Thanks again for your brilliant post at my place last week. I was so lucky to have you as a guest. :)

3/29/06, 9:05 PM  
Blogger Builder Mama said...

I so totally hear you on the plane boarding stuff. I went to Vegas a few months ago and seriously, the plane was freaking FULL and not a soul got on the plane until they called ZONE SEVEN. It was like the Running of the Bulls. I don't think even phallic ice cream in first class could erase the horror of that experience.


3/29/06, 9:10 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

It's on baby. I have useless facts COURSING through my brain.

And they could have added some chocolate hair sprinkles for effect.

3/29/06, 9:31 PM  
Blogger doggerelblogger said...

Zeldafitz - I would go on a business trip with you ANY TIME. I once bought three large cans of beer and drank them in my hotel room in Calgary.

3/29/06, 10:05 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

Say, is that chocolate and orange sherbert with a Pepperidge Farm scroll? Oh, to be so lucky...

3/29/06, 10:24 PM  
Blogger theirstepmom said...

Could not stop laughing! Have fun!

3/29/06, 10:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm thinking you are a hoot to travel with. The last time I did some business travel, I went with a coworker who's a total perv. He kept trying to unbutton a shirt dress I had on WHILE HE WAS DRIVING. He was sort of a friend who apparently thought he knew me well enough to do this sort of thing.(This was a very long time ago.)

3/29/06, 11:56 PM  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

And just WHAT is wrong with matching lavender plaid Bermuda shorts? We have several pairs each in our house and enjoy wearing them on walks, when relaxing by the pool, AND, they can be dressed up with some pearls and a diamonte brooch for day-to-evening wear.

My husband says they are the smart-casual wonder-short of the noughties but doesn't like his having to wear the diamonte pins at night (Men! They haven't a clue!). And I couldn't be happier with their stain-resistance (kids, you know), and easy-care fabric. They're just wash and go. What's not to love? The 'sea-foam' ones are my absolute faves.

Thanks for the link! Much appreciated.

3/30/06, 1:27 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Very funny!! It's great that you can make something fun out of something that doesn't seem to be going well. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

3/30/06, 7:31 AM  
Blogger The Domesticator said...

Just found your blog through another....great post! I laughed my a$$ off!

3/30/06, 7:42 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I would have paid money to see someone perform CPR on a crackberry. Personally, we had an Irish Wake when the Hubby had to give his up (due to company cut backs).
Glad to hear your trip is going, um, well?

3/30/06, 8:21 AM  
Blogger Diane Viere said...

OMG! ROFL! Yes, there is room in my den to roll on the floor..as opposed to your airline seats--even in First class!

Great post--thanx for the laughs!


3/30/06, 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darn, guess I'd better take my "chick magnet" t-shirt off now. I was really hoping to use it to pick up ladies here at work...

I could totally picture you standing in the terminal alone with that ticket agent looking at her watch for the requisite 1 minute between calling group numbers.

I'd better study up on my trivia before July. I have a feeling that my blog friends are a pretty sharp bunch, and/or have heads filled with useless knowledge.

3/30/06, 9:26 AM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Hey, I have a former co-worker who lives in Brooklyn, is a certified Blackberry addict, and IS IRISH - born there, still has the accent, drinks everyone under the table and still shows up to work at 7am. Is Mike single?

And your boarding experience reminded me of Meet the Parents. Did you say "bomb" on the airplane? Because you can't say "bomb" on an airplane.

3/30/06, 4:26 PM  
Blogger IzzyMom said...

You were a mere hour away from me. So close and yet so far...

But Orlando does suck the big one in every way. Disney is it's only redeeming feature and even that's questionable.

3/30/06, 5:53 PM  
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3/9/07, 12:05 AM  

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