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Before | After

Well... here I am

Finally in Chicago, where they tell me it's 1:30 a.m. but to me it's a mere 11:30 p.m. Still, I'm pretty tired. It was stressful trying to get everything done before Shuttle Express picked me up in the afternoon. I'm really worried about the new plants in the garden; I soaked them as much as i could but five days without water... my neighbor said she'd take care of them, and then told me she was going to Vegas when it was too late to find someone. Gee, thanks. It's supposed to stay dry there while I'm gone.

I'm used to frying alive here in the heat and humidity, but it was a lovely evening when I finally got to the bus station area -- I'd taken a massive wrong turn and ended up in the international terminal. You know why I hate O'Hare airport? Because O'Hare hates me. This fucking place always does something to me. Everything was closed and I was so, so hungry. Once I checked in I went down to the lobby and bought a very expensive power bar. I think the thing I hate so much about this utter sham of security theatre in this country (among the many things I despise) is that it forces you to buy food and beverages at the airport or related places, which are grotesquely overpriced and bad. I'm willing to pay more for a Starbucks, but they've taken that away from the D terminal at Sea-Tac, the rat bastards.

Anyway. I got my reservation months ago, and I always book early because I'm obsessive about having an aisle seat. I'm nearly six feet, I have a bad back injury, and my ankle ligaments are a mess. An aisle seat is imperative for me. I was watching these people come in, and it looked like they were going to sit in my row, a youngish guy and what I thought must be his son. He put the suitcase in wheels back, instead of wheels front as they had just been asking people to make sure to do, and then when he felt that didn't fit to his satisfaction, he turned it sideways. That's always a sign of a moron traveler; we had a full flight and they'd been asking people to volunteer to gate check their bags. So he confabs with an older woman, and they eventually take their seats and then older woman asks me, with some kind of accent but in excellent English, if I would take her seat so she could sit with her family. I asked her where she was sitting and it was the middle seat across the aisle.

I said as nicely as I could, "I'd really rather not give up my aisle seat." And she looks down on me and says in this fakey motherly sweet voice, "OK, have a nice trip with my sons." I didn't know whether to laugh or say "bite me." The two men seemed to be in great consternation about this. What a bitch I must be! How can they fly for four hours seated next to such a selfish and rude cow! She continued to talk on the phone for the entire boarding period, and at one point, she corralled a flight attendant to explain how it was that she could have been separated from her precioso sons. The attendant was like "..." I thought to myself, maybe when you made your reservations you should have looked at your damn seat assignments. Or made them earlier.

Anyway. Just as we were leaving the gate, the attendant came to me and I was filled with dread that she was going to pressure me to give up my seat. But she asked if I'd be OK with taking the aisle seat in one of the exit rows. I was like Hell yeah! I never get to sit in the exit rows, and I love it. Leg room.The last time I got to was when my friend who's like an MVP gold member flyer made my reservation with his miles so I could got to chemo with my sister. And I was so freaking sick the whole way I couldn't even really enjoy it, although I think it saved my life.

And after moving, they kept asking me if I wanted free wine or something for being willing to switch seats. I kept thinking, "Obviously you don't know what a selfish cow I really am because I wasn't willing to switch before." I've swapped seats before with people plenty of times, but it's always been a straight swap; I felt bad for the lady but I feel worse for myself, knowing how much pain flying causes me physically. So yeah, now you know the truth about me, I'm a vicious misanthrope who separates old ladies from her beautiful boys. Feh.

Then I was all miss high maintenance checking in to the hotel. They gave me the only single room they still had, on the 9th freaking floor, right by the elevators and I was so unhappy. I was hoping to be able to get to the con activities with more ease using the stairs (it's on the second floor), but the room isn't bad, so I guess I'll keep it. Or swap, I'll see tomorrow. But after making the poor sweet night desk guy miserable, I went down for the aforementioned Odwalla bar, and we had a nice conversation about the convention, and rooming in hotels (he has trouble sleeping in them, too), and that sort of thing.

So I guess the moral of this day has been that even though on the surface I'm a heartless, cold, selfish witch, I can be nice if I'm properly appeased? I don't know. Time for bed, and then seeing my fellow congoers, and tomorrow night OMG I'm going to meet [profile] devilpiglet OMG. I am so excited.

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Aug. 11th, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
I think you're not allow to call yourself a cow any more. :)

I kind of like heartless, cold, selfish witch, though.

{{{{travel survival hugs}}}} Here, have a smiling Raylan to make it better.
Aug. 11th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, ditto. You are way too hard on yourself.

I like" vicious misanthrope," myself. I might put it on a business card.

Have a great con!
Aug. 11th, 2011 07:21 am (UTC)
The woman trying to make you change your seat is the cow - no, that's an insult to cows, who are lovely creatures! Still - free wine!
Sometimes you just have to insist or people walk all over you. I never unpack on holiday until I've had a good look at the room, because sometimes, they take one look at us and put us in the crappiest room, just because we don't dress in expensive clothes.
Aug. 11th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
People who judge on the outer appearance really end up shorting themselves, too -- my sister worked for Nordstrom for years, and one year she was the top salesperson in the region precisely because she approached people who were dressed in their grubbies -- she said they were almost always the most serious shoppers, ready to drop a lot of $$.
Aug. 11th, 2011 11:30 am (UTC)
You are a good traveler. You book early and make the proper preparations.

She just whined at you to get what she didn't prepare for.
Aug. 11th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
I could almost have assumed it was some kind of language difficulty except that her English was perfect -- but I guess assumptions that you're entitled to whatever you want cross every cultural boundary.
Aug. 11th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Well have a marvelous time and all of us who didn't attend will be waiting to hear all about it...
Aug. 11th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC)
People with families think they are entitled to everyone else's accommodation on flights, and I for one say fuck them on principle. A couple of years ago, I was traveling to Boston for Christmas and had connections (and my DOG). I was asked to change seats with people EVERY SINGLE LEG of my flight because people wanted to sit with their families. I said yes then, but I will never do it again, because those people are inconsiderate thoughtless assholes who expect everyone else to go through inconvenience for their precious families. Fuck 'em. Rar. :D
Aug. 11th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Gah. I just... I hate the fact that if you say no, you're a dick. A couple years ago, I asked a guy seated in the row with Sandy and Rache if he'd like my aisle seat for his window so I could sit with them, and he declined. I thought he was a doof for turning down a better seat, but I didn't try to make him feel like it, and just said OK -- I knew I wasn't entitled to his seat. People are so... grrr.
Aug. 11th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
Success -- you're there!
That was a nice solution by the stewardess, though you were completely in the right. Ugh, four hours next to those people would have been such a bore. Sounds like the mom was relying on guilt to secure her a seat that was unavailable when they booked. Hah.
Aug. 11th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah the people next to me in the exit row were VERY intrigued by my Torchwood avis that I was watching. I kept wondering if they were fannishly oriented or not. I don't think I could have watched them sitting next to a little kid.
Aug. 11th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
All right, for a reality check becuase it sounds like you narrowly avoided spending most of your flight seated next to people who had lost their common sense?

I always book an aisle seat - not because of serious physical issues like you - in my case it's just so I can use the restroom as often as necessary, and I only switch for another aisle seat (if I wanted a window seat, that would be what I would book). This is non-debatable, even if a lovey-dovey couple begs for my seat: why should I switch from an aisle seat to a middle seat? It's crazy! It just doesn't compute... the only reason to want a middle seat is precisely so one can seat next to family or friends.

No one else wants middle seats: why should you be expected to give up your seat for an even more uncomfortable seat? If people want to sit together, it's up to them to arrange it by booking seats right next to each other.

By the way, I love my family, but I can totally survive without them right next to me on a flight and I suspect the sons were silently thanking you and God for allowing them to be a few meters away from this over-possessive parent. Even if they were later out-maneuvered by a too helpful crew member.

Also, regarding the over-priced power bar? I have been taking international flights most of my life (nearing fifty, here) and I can tell you for a fact that this is 75% of the reason for the supposed airport security measures, certainly the ones about the water. Security has actually decreased since what I saw as a kid: this is a conversation too long to get into here, but this is my extensive experience of this matter speaking and all the professionals agree with me. Unfortunately, elected officials don't know the first thing about air travel and common sense and bumble around wasting money, messing things up and setting up irresponsible and unworkable schemes, but isn't that always the case?

Just in case it may help in future, I always put in my carry-on a mid-sized to small disposable water bottle and 2-4 power bars depending on the length of the flight (5 to 12 hours depending on where I am going). I drink the water before the security check so the bottle is empty when my carry-on goes through the X-rays and after passing security, I fill the bottle at the nearest water fountain, usually next to the restroom which it is always a good idea to visit before getting onto the airplane itself. This way I can try to sleep instead of being woken up by the in-flight meal which is often unappetizing and not worth the sodium and fat content, in a context when I am seated very uncomfortably and cannot stand up at will.

Hope you enjoy the con!
Aug. 12th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
Good for you! I always have a hard time saying no in those situations, but I wish I was better at it. There's no earthly reason why you should go along with being caused a major inconvenience just to spare someone else from a fairly trivial one.

Hope you have a great weekend!
Aug. 12th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're here safely, and glad you didn't have to sit in a middle seat. I'd NEVER ask someone to end up in a middle seat. I might ask them to switch with me if I had an aisle or window to offer, but middle? Jeebus, I have more sense than that.

Have a wonderful con. Wish I could be there to give you a hug.
Aug. 12th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
I take it that you won't be around this weekend? I will really, really miss you. :-(
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