updated 02/04/01

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Yeah, I know.. a rip off from Craiggers - but his show is pretty much sucking right now (should have stayed with The Daily Show), so I don't feel nearly as bad as I would normally for stealing his stuff.  I think I could do a better job with it anyway. 

So here it is, my words of wisdom to take you through your day (or couple of days as you will cut me some slack on how often I update this).  You can even ask a specific question to me (via email - not icq) if you want some specific "wisdom" from me. 
Here is some non specific wisdom: 

So I am in Baltimore right now, and instead of giving you the blow by blow of my oh-so-enchanting time here - I am going to regale you with a story of the not so distant past.

Rewind to February of 1996. Mother and I have decided that our talents are being wasted at the office we were both working at, so we quit our jobs and went to Los Angeles to enroll ourselves in Tour Guide School. Yes, it was a good time and yes I know it sounds like a "B" film but it was an actual school and we have actual gold plated pins and certificates that say that we are internationally certified to show you the inside of a bus. The main highlights of that two week endeavor were shopping on Melrose Street and getting plowed with Mom at the slot machines at the wee hours of the morning when the class took a trip to Las Vegas. After we returned home - we never heard from anyone again whether it be about a job or even if the company had folded since taking our money.

Fast forward to early December of last year. I receive a call from a tour guide place that wants me (and my mother if she was available) to meet and greet at an airport. This is pretty simple. We were essentially going to be meeting people at the airport from the bus, then helping them check in to their flight and then escorting them to the gate. We make 30 bucks an hour doing this and the minimum payment is two hours. Me and mom were looking forward to our cake job.

Well, I saw an instant drawback of the fact that we were getting up at 6:30am on a Saturday and that these people were members of a senior group. I also didn't like the added bonus of the fact that I had to wear pantyhose (we were supposed to look professional). But Mom and I were willing to overlook that as we caffeinated ourselves up on mom's Nuclear Tea and went over the group's itinerary in the car. We had to be there by 7:45am as their flight left at 10:00am and the bus was supposed to get there at 9:00am.

Mother and I get to the ticket counter and explain who we are (this is why we needed those name tags that dad gave us for Christmas) and that we have a group of 14 people coming in to fly to Atlanta (and then on to Munich). They inform us that the flight has been canceled and perhaps another flight can be arranged. Sure. No problem. Mom and I are professionals - we can handle this setback. However, the next flight to Atlanta will be at 1pm. Crap. Mom had already said she would be leaving at 11am to do some sort of tennis thing and I didn't particularly want to hang out with these old geezers for four hours anyway. Mom and I peruse the schedule and then successfully had them rerouted to Nashville, then Columbus, and then to Atlanta - just in time to catch their flight to Munich. Hurrah for creative detouring. But the catch was that the flight that they needed to take was at 9:10 and if they couldn't make that one flight - the whole rerouting thing was a bust and we would be waiting again till 1pm.

We then make arrangements with the porters to get the luggage from the bus to the check-in counter as soon as it arrives. They were really nice and asked if our flight had been canceled. Mom looks at one of the porters and says "How did you know it had been canceled.?" the porter answered, "it's always canceled. due to the fact that there aren't enough people on it." AARRGGHH!! And the people at the counter said it was due to engine trouble.

I hated this. My stomach was in knots as we realized that we needed to get 14 old people and their luggage to the ticket counter and then hustle them like cattle to the gate in the hopes that they detain the flight just enough for the last person to shuffle his walker onto the plane before the door hits him the ass. All of this within 10 minutes of the bus getting here.

Well we waited and the bus rolls in at 8:50am. Oh good - we have a fighting chance to pull this off. Mom and I get on the bus to talk to them. Mom kinda flubs this up as the first thing she says is that their flight is canceled. The look of horror on their faces is followed by yelling and screaming until mom says that we fixed it but we need to hurry. I look at the crowd and I am happy that not one of them requires the use of even orthopedic shoes. However, not one of them realizes what the word "hurry" means.

The get to the counter and all of them have their luggage and passports. Except one glitch - one woman looks at her husband and says "What about Doris? what if she doesn't get here in time?" and the answer he gave made me think of dad and giggle as he replied "We can't worry about her - we need to worry about us getting there." Yeah, screw her - we need to get you to the plane so I can get back to my bed to sleep.

We herd them all up the stairs, they hold the flight for us just as I had hoped and Mom and I watch the plane take off. We smile, breath a sigh of relief and then we make our way downstairs - happy that this ordeal is over.

But wait... as soon as we hit the bottom of the escalator, the ticket counter guy is pointing at us and I see that "Doris" has finally made her entrance. (at this point I am wondering what idiot decides to stray on the trip arrangements on a "group" trip). Doris is bawling her eyes out and is close to a nervous breakdown. Mom and I make growling noises "Grrrrr.. this is not what I need right now" and make our way to the ticket counter to see what we can do about fixing this and in the least amount of time possible.

Doris is angry that the first flight is canceled. as she has made it in time (I think Doris thinks the world bows before her and any change that she didn't ask for or was aware of puts her in a tantrum). I definitely did NOT want to spend four hours with this lady while waiting for the flight to Atlanta. However, God smiled upon Mom and I and found a flight to Cleveland that took off in 30 minutes and then would go to Atlanta where she could then impose her unnerving presence on the group of people she was traveling with. After making numerous calls consulting her son, daughter and I am sure her psychic friend - she decided not to sue the airline (gawd) and went with us to her gate. She was afraid of traveling alone and was glad there would be someone in Cleveland to help her. I was just about to have pity on her for what seemed to be her first time on a plane (and in an airport) and having to do it alone when she announces that she used to be a flight attendant. Mom and I later pondered that fact in the car of why she would be afraid of traveling alone if she has done this before - and then what she could have possible done to her body to make her so unattractive that seeing her as a flight attendant almost made us blow snot from our noses when she said that.

After what seemed like hours of her telling us of her children and her days as a flight attendant as well as when dirt was first invented - we finally got rid of her and then watched her flight take off. Mom and I walked nervously down the stairs and took a back exit out of the airport (the one that doesn't pass by the ticket counter). It wasn't until we were at the car when we breathed a sigh of relief.

It will be a long time before I do a meet-and-greet that early and that stressful at the airport again.


BTW -TheSpark.com adds a journal to it's site

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