Remember back in August when I had a traumatic moving experience and I wrote jokes about it to stop myself from crying about it? Feel free to refresh yourself HERE. Well, ever a magnet for disaster, I’m bootscootin on back to the blog with my latest saga. I had to take a week to process as I went right from this shitshow directly into a 5 hour drive home for Thanksgiving and if we’re being real honest I physically haven’t come up for air between cheese dips and wine in the past week. Now that I’ve finally detoxed, it’s time for y’all to gather round and hear about the time I went to a wedding with my ex-boyf and we almost got stranded at LAX.
First thing’s first, let’s address the elephant in the room for all the gossip queens. Why would I travel cross-country with an ex? The answer is really quite simple. I’m forever on a budget and I’ve lived with this man before…he is well-versed in my digestive system from hell–which only gets worse when I travel. He’s seen some shit. Literally. He ain’t gonna disown me for stinking up the hotel room when my In-N-Out comes in and goes right back out…whereas I can’t confidently say the same if I were to bunk with another acquaintance. Other than reasons directly related to my b*hole, we actually get along and like hanging out with each other in the way that everyone tells you not to do when you break up. We’re renegades. Sue us. So now that we’ve settled that, let’s point out our obvious differences. Eric is a fly by the seat of your pants guy, I’m a neurotic freak. Also a bonus for me because I knew that I could have complete control over our travel plans like my Type-A ass dreams about. He just needed to show up and take the middle seat so I didn’t have to sit next to a grody stranger. This wedding was two years in the making after a COVID postponement and we were VERY antsy to get on out to California and celebrate with our friends. These days there’s a whole lot of things that can throw a wrench in travel plans so we were just praying that we didn’t get sick, no extra vaccine/testing travel mandates were thrown into the mix and nothing got delayed or cancelled. Thankfully everything went off without a hitch on the way there and exactly according to my carefully constructed travel itinerary where I laid out all of our reservations and even the local weather forecast all in one doc. See? Neurotic. I even emailed it to everyone I know should anyone want to stalk my travels. Our parents appreciated that. I packed 6 weeks worth of snacks and alcohol for two six hour flights that we both slept through most of and honestly if anyone ever wants to fund my plane ticket, I’m a PHENOMENAL travel buddy. My fanny pack was chock full of tissues and gum too.
Immediately upon landing, Eric tried to board a shuttle for a janky rental car company that was not ours and I realized that as much as I needed a roommate who didn’t care if I ripped too many farts, he needed a flightmate who paid attention and had a bomb ass itinerary. I’m guessing he seriously reconsidered that after a full day of being stuck next to me ended in an 11PM PST (2AM EST) ROUSING passenger seat rendition of All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) where I pretended my cell phone was a microphone and hadn’t quite learned all the lyrics yet so I made noises through the ones I wasn’t confident in. Wanna test your ex’s patience? Scream-sing a breakup song into their grillpiece while they’re driving through the mountains in the dark in a rental car in a state they don’t live in. It’s a G-D miracle I wasn’t fed to the coyotes that night. Instead, I rewarded my phenomenal concert with cheese fries.
Now to the real meat of the story and I don’t mean a double double, no onions. It’s all fun and games until you get to the end of the trip and realize you’d rather saw your arms off with a butter knife than spend an entire day traveling back home. Especially when you’ve gotten a taste of that sweet, sweet, California weather. It was 80 and sunny on the drive to the airport Sunday morning. Having already taken Monday off from work as a recovery day, I suggested (mostly joking) what if we just…didn’t leave today. Mr. ‘I’ll just board a bus to anywhere without looking’ replied, “Ok. Sure.” After confirming that he wasn’t being sarcastic, I remembered that the app told us upon check-in that our flight was overbooked (shocking, I know.) We gave the airline a quick call and as most things with airlines go, if you’re unwilling to make travel changes, they incentivize you with a voucher, but if you’re a couple of NY idiots who just want another day of warm weather…you get nothing and you’ll like it. The airline rep happily changed our tickets for no additional fee (TYSM Covid) to the same flight the following day. To reiterate, United got what they wanted by bumping people from their overcrowded flight but didn’t have to pay a dime for it. This piece of the puzzle isn’t super integral to the story but it’s important to note that we were riding that vacay high and opted for a bonus day. And ooh baby was that bonus day sweet.
Monday morning it was back to reality. After far too many jokes of “should we just never leave?” (in retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have put that thought out into the universe, multiple times) we begrudgingly returned the rental car and got ready for this suckfest of a flight. Both of us had only traveled with carry-on’s, something I wholeheartedly do not recommend for a formal event. My bridesmaids dress alone filled the suitcase and since I’m an obnoxious overpacker, I jammed much more in. The amount of times I sat on my suitcase to zip it in this very short weekend was enough to teach me a lesson about overpacking, but alas it is a lesson I will never learn. We hauled our overstuffed suitcases through LAX, where security noted we were *super early* uhh, thanks for the shade for being organized fliers, hooch. Having not eaten breakfast yet and being 3 hours early for our flight, we went in search of some of the fine cuisine you hear about at airports. We settled in at the Rolling Stone Cafe. Drooling in anticipation of a breakfast burrito and coffee, I placed my order and the waitress immediately crushed my dreams by telling me breakfast ended at 11. It’s an airport, not a McDonald’s…since when are there stringent breakfast rules at a place that lets you get boozed up anytime of the day before boarding a plane. She then doubled down on worst person I’ve ever met and told us they had no chicken tenders either. That was going to be my next order (yes, I’m five.) Finally I settled on a burger and fries—she asked how I wanted said burger cooked and when I said Medium Rare, she fired back, “we can only cook it medium.” Then why even ask? Hangry Ju’s patience was already wearing thin. Eric ordered a chicken caesar salad to which she replied, “we don’t have any chicken at all.” LEAD WITH THAT, HOMEGIRL. “Welcome to Rolling Stone Cafe: Breakfast is over and there’s a chicken shortage so the only thing you can order on this menu is our burger, hockey puck style.” How hard was that?! I’m not saying I should have her job but I’m not NOT saying it either. Obviously the meal was trash. I asked for bacon on my burger and got none but was sure charged for it. Eric paid for a salad missing its main ingredient. McD’s would’ve been a zillion times better and 1/4 of the price. Hot start. (There were certainly no sunset fries there.)
From there we moved on to inject some caffeine in ya girl and found that the only coffee shop had one employee taking the orders and making the drinks. I was hard up for some Christmas in a cup (peppermint mocha cold brew) so I waited the 20 mins to get my fix. Naturally after I placed my order, reinforcements were sent for this poor soul. Finally, we board the plane only to find out we’re in the very last row. I guess when you switch your flight you get the seats no one else wanted, directly in the potty. Noted for the next time we wish to YOLO it up. We get settled in and ready to fly the friendly skies when there is an IMMEDIATE announcement over the loudspeaker that this plane’s left engine was leaking fluids on its travels to LA and they’re going to check things out. If you live on Planet Earth you must understand that if there’s a reference to any plane issue on the left, Phoebe’s left phalange bit is going to immediately take over your brain.
We laughed about it but then we realized, when it’s on a fictional TV show and it’s going to finally bring Ross and Rachel together, it’s funny. When you’re about to fly across the G-D country with an engine that’s “leaking”, it’s very unfunny. WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY ANNOUNCE THAT?! To give everyone a panic attack before they’ve even hit the runway? This very much seems like a “you guys could’ve discussed this discreetly before making a public announcement scenario.” Or I don’t know, MAYBE checked things out before putting 200 people on a plane? Just a thought. They continued to make announcements every few minutes, even shutting the plane off at one point to “see if that might help.” I’m no plane expert but I don’t think rebooting it like it’s a 1990’s PC is going to zip up the leaky ole engine. As we’re waiting for the final verdict, I suddenly am about to burst with urine and have to do that very obnoxious thing where you use the plane bathroom before it is approps to do so. I had peed before we boarded but with all this nervous energy and that peppermint mocha coursing through my veins, I had to relieve myself. That bathroom had SEEN some shit. I mean, seriously, it looked like an airplane bathroom after a 12 hour flight to Bora Bora. Toilet paper all over the floor, tissues gone, sink soaking wet for whatever reason. Place was WRECKED. And I don’t know if it was just my breaking point but when the most important part of the plane (I’m spitballing here but the engine seems pretty important) isn’t even functioning correctly and you see the state of the bathroom before anyone has even been in it on this flight, it really puts a sour taste in your mouth to continue on this journey. The pilot agreed. Not because he saw the bathroom looked like a thruway truck stop, but because he was done pretending that it would be chill as hell to fly a broken plane 3,000 miles. He told everyone to get the hell off. He said it nicer, but after finally getting in the mindset to do this stupid trip, we were in no mood to be displaced. Other passengers were applauding the flight attendants and pilot for “making the right decision” and “keeping us alive” as if they were ever going to take off with a bum engine and kill everyone right before Thanksgiving. Let’s relax on calling them heroes. As all the thankful passengers are busy slobbering all over the airline staff, us rational folks are wondering what the hell we’re supposed to do now to get home in time for turkey. I mean they all but gave us a rousing rendition of “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” but they never told us if they’d get another plane or service this one, or find us connecting flights. NOTHIN. We sat with our thumbs up our butt by the gate waiting for further instruction. I finally asked the gatekeeper what we should do and he told me to hang tight because they don’t know anything. After about 20 mins he got on the hot mic and said ALLLL YOU SUCKA MC’S AIN’T GOT NOTHIN ON ME. JK, he told us to go to customer service. It turns out we were the only two idiots to not know how to do that on our own. As we rolled on up to customer service we were DEAD LAST in line.
It’s right about here that we both get the *sinking* feeling that perhaps we were being punished for taking a bonus day. We had flown too close to the sun and we were paying for it in a 2 hour customer service line. I’d seen enough Hallmark holiday movies with traveling home for Christmas snafus and let me tell you, ain’t nobody trying to buddy up and find a rental car together and I didn’t see one single Christmas tree farm employee who said he could give us a ride toward New Jersey if we helped him deliver some trees. So THANKS FOR THAT FALSE ADVERTISING, HALLMARK YOU BUNCH OF HOLIDAY TRAVEL FRAUDS. As we shuffled forward inch by inch, employees walked up and down the line SHOVING the virtual assistant on their app down our throats. You know a customer service experience is about to suck BALLZ when they’d rather you AIM chat with someone in Sri Lanka than stand in front of a human being and interact in real life. When one attempt with the virtual assistant ended in “there are no flights until 3pm tomorrow” we decided to try our luck with the 3-D assistant, hoping our pleading faces might help get us into another airport by tomorrow morning. Woo, buddy were we dead wrong. Let me preface this bitchfest by saying that I’ve worked in customer service for many a year. It sucks. Most customers treat you like shit because it’s easier for them to take their frustrations out on a complete stranger than pay for therapy and get to the real root of their problems. I tend to feel as though I’m a compassionate customer having been on the other end of irrational rage and attitude. HOW-EV-ER, I do not tolerate dumb. That’s a whole different ball game and this airport was full of dummies. We get to the front of the line finally and the woman says “What can I do for you?” We very kindly reply, “is there any way that you can get us home as soon as possible.” And she says no. She says there are no flights. None. Zero. You mean to tell me that in this massive international airport, there is not one flight available? We didn’t tell her where we could fly to. We could’ve said we need a flight to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But she just said no. Really that should’ve tipped us off immediately that she was a lazy MF’er who was probably on the last leg of her shift and would prefer to just tell us to F off than actually help us. But we had no other options according to this twat, so we asked if we could at least get a hotel voucher. Our flight was “delayed” until 5am the following morning and I feel like covering the hotel was the least that these turds could do. She had me read our confirmation number (readily available on my handy dandy itinerary) and told us she texted us hotel and food vouchers. We waited a few minutes, they didn’t show up. We looked at her for more guidance. She stared back at us. Was there any activity in that attic of hers? Hard to say, but no. Considering we went through this exact word for word scenario SIX MORE TIMES. I read that reservation number SIX FUCKING TIMES and she said ok I sent the voucher. And we stood there getting texts and emails from EVERYBODY ELSE and no voucher. At one point she accused us of opening it. WHY THE HELL WOULD WE STILL BE STANDING HERE TELLING YOU WE DIDN’T GET IT IF WE OPENED IT?! I’m getting my 7th email of the day about the latest sale at Bath and Body Works but I’m not getting your shitty voucher OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A YOU PROBLEM. At this point I was enraged. But ever afraid of confrontation and causing a scene, I still kept a low profile with my sass. Rather than using her pea-sized brain to find another way to get us the vouchers, like say, I don’t know, old fashioned PAPER, she told us that the United Virtual Assistant could send them to us and kicked us out of line. I spun around and muttered backward “well you’ve been very helpful” in my bitchiest tone and immediately tripped over my luggage that didn’t spin with me and almost ate shit. Strong exit. That’ll teach her.
We hit the bar to booze off our anger, charge our dying phones and fire up this virtual assistant bullshit again. I don’t know what these third world country employees are getting paid but they better get a year end bonus with the way United is hawking their chatroom services. A/S/L and also CAN YOU GET US OUT OF LAX BEFORE WE BLOW OUR BRAINS OUT?! We picked the one bar in a dead zone where the wifi didn’t reach (natch) but it didn’t really matter because the virtual assistant remained to be as trash as everyone else we dealt with at United. The She-bot informed us that vouchers can only be acquired at customer service. I thought I was about to witness Eric spike his beer off the bar in real time when he received that message. If he did I would’ve gotten on the bar and done an Irish jig around it with my middle fingers in the air. That’s how done I was with this airport. At least whatever holding cell they put us in would be equivalent to a hotel voucher, right? We went back to customer service. At this point the only people trickling in were richies doing pre-check on their way to Hawaii. I spit in the face of their hang loose about to be in paradise demeanors. I just wanted to see the world burn at this point. HOPE IT RAINS THE WHOLE TIME YOU’RE THERE. MAHALO! The United rep who dealt with a MUCH grumpier duo this time around was more helpful in the sense that he didn’t tell us to buzz off. In fact, he had to call his own customer service line just to get us printed vouchers. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE STATE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE IF A CUSTOMER SERVICE REP IS ON HOLD JUST TO GIVE YOU THE AIRLINE EQUIVALENT OF KOHL’S CASH. I sat on the floor and made snarky comments, a skill I’ve honed in my thirty years on this earth.
Another half hour later we walk away with real life paper vouchers. Forty dollars for 2 dinners and a hotel stay with no idea where the shuttle is to get us to said hotel. We meander out and don’t see any signage so we ask where to find the shuttle. We’re met with a buttload of ‘tude. I think my favorite thing about this whole debacle is that every employee that’s supposed to be there to help acts like we’re inconveniencing them. Ma’am I’ve been in this airport for 8 hours wearing a mask that now feels like a damp gym sock on my face and I just want to know how to get to this 1 star hotel for 4 hours of sleep. MY SINCEREST APOLOGIES FOR DARING TO ASK YOU A QUESTION. Once we’re standing at the shuttle stop and we see our shuttle CRUISE on by, we realize that you have to FLAG your shuttle down like it’s a taxi. The hits just keep on comin. At the same time, we’ve got a local news crew interviewing everyone around us about how it was the last day for airline employees to get vaccinated and was there a noticeable difference in level of service. HOW MUCH TIME YA GOT, LADY. Point that hot mic on over this way and you’ll get an earful from the Jersey boy next to me who has a photo of Trump hanging in his apartment. Now we’re cookin with gas. Just kidding. We left her alone and lost our chance at becoming local news viral because God forbid we miss that damn shuttle again.
By the time we finally got to the hotel we would have already been back home in New Jersey had we not boarded a leaky faucet of an airplane with no left phalange. Jus sayin. We learn that the hotel restaurant accepts our food vouchers and that ONE dinner at this establishment costs $28. Well bend me RIGHT over. I had to go down to the lobby and order our food with the vouchers because we couldn’t use them over the phone for ordering room service. An extra thirty dollars later on top of the $40 vouchers and we had to-go containers with food that tasted like it should’ve been at an Applebees $13.99 per meal price point.
After wolfing our food at the hotel room desk like the animals that we are, we decided it was time to call it quits for the night since we’d be getting just a few hours of sleep before our ass of dawn flight. I had the unfortunate realization as I laid my outfit (the same plane outfit I’d be putting on for the third day in a row) out for my 3AM shower that I was FRESH out of clean undies. I always overpack undies but I also like to switch from day time to night time ‘roos if I’ve had a long day. And this trip was full of long days. Since crusty used undies was not even a little bit of an option, I had bikini bottoms that were never worn as the pool was colder than the ocean and I had the *CLASSIC* Spanx that most girls own yet none admit to ever wearing. (See disturbing visual below.)
On the one hand, you could actually eat right and work out and be skinny, on the other, much more attractive hand, you could eat whatever you want, never exercise and then when you need to look skinny, slurp all those rolls into a pair of 10 ft long spanky pants that tuck right underneath your nipples. OPTION B ALL DAY ERREDAY, FOLKS. Since I could not POSSIBLY fathom having a TSA scan of granny panties that reach my neckline, I went for the bikini bottoms and I DO recommend. No swass, maximum comfort, flexibility, AND moisture wicking. I might start wearing bathing suits instead of underwear always.
After 0.0 hours of sleep because I couldn’t stop feeling like bugs were crawling on me and literally googled this hotel’s reviews in the middle of the night looking for bed bug commentary—there were none but I was fully prepared for that to be the next trauma. We arrived at the airport at a ripe 3:30 AM and security wasn’t even open yet. But people were sure lined up! Ah the joys of traveling, where the worst of humanity comes out to play. We got in line and as they opened and we got up to the front, some sneaky little 18 year old ho-ho laying in wait cut in front of us. She then proceeded to pull out her phone and take a selfie and check herself out. Who are you trying to look good for at 4 in the morning, bish? Get the hell out of here. We made it a point to cut her back when we got up to go through the metal detectors. Because we’re a couple of Tom Petty’s and we had ENOUGH. She’s lucky I didn’t strangle her with my control top panties right then and there. Whoever she was trying to look snatched for better feel #bLeSsEd she made it home for the holidays without incident.
We boarded the plane and it was 80% empty. As we walked through both first class and business class with almost no one on board, I started to get excited thinking that perhaps on a technicality (everyone else being more savvy than us and getting the hell out of dodge the day before) I might be able to have my only first class flying experience. Lord knows I’ll never be able to afford it. In my salivating haste I forgot the part where the first class snobs would NEVER allow common trash to infiltrate their section just because there are empty seats and also every airline employee on this earth stinks. We walked back past empty rows to the very last row of the plane where we belonged. And wouldn’t you know, a nice old chap comes cruising on back and joins our pod, rounding out the ONLY full row in the entire plane. The United treatment right up until the very end.
Luckily, once the safety talk started–and we were reassured this was not the same plane with the drippy engine–one flight attendant took pity on us and said we could move up but made SURE to give us a short range of rows we were allowed to touch. WE GET IT, KIND SIR, POOR PEOPLE SECTION ONLY. I laid across three seats and tucked in for a nap with the seatbelt metal digging into my muffin top and my feet hanging off the edge. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that is JUST like first class. The plane rocked diagonally on the landing, I almost puked directly in Eric’s face and also crapped my bathing suit bottoms (probably would’ve absorbed that shit right up) and the saga was over. We laughed, we almost ralphed, and we got to sneak a peek at the Matthews’ home from Boy Meets World for about thirty seconds before I screamed that someone was coming out of said house and ran around the corner and hid.
Oh, and we also got to see our besties get married. Shout out Kat & Mat, a close second in greatest things I’ve ever seen in California. #WorthIt.