Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Portrait of a Weekend

It’s 10pm Friday evening. Already salivating at the thought of downing an ice cold Yuengling Lager in the comfort of the Skellar in T minus one hour and counting, I saunter up to my gate in Dulles International Airport. This day had begun 12 hours earlier (minus the time difference) with my boarding of a plane back in Los Angeles that morning. Magazines, read. Big Mac, consumed. Bottle of water, chugged. Small talk with person sitting next to me on flight, awkward. I was more than ready to get to State College and let the festivities begin. “The door’s already closed.” What?!? Over the next ten minutes, I do my best beggybeggypleasepleasepleaseletmeonthatplane IhavetogetonthatplaneIwilldieifIdon’tgetonthatplane dance. And no, the scores of cleavage I was sporting during my jumping fit didn’t help.

So down to the phone thingy on the wall I go in search of a cheap hotel in the area. Who knew that I’d one day spend a very depressed night in Reston, Virginia? I hop a shuttle and tell the driver to take me to the Comfort Inn. As we travel, I see Marriott, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, another Holiday Inn. Jeez. I picked the one hotel located the farthest from the airport. On the bright side, perhaps it’s located in a cool little downtown area. Someplace I can get a tall alcoholic beverage in which to drown myself. Another Marriott, Super 8, Hyatt…..finally! Comfort Inn. I stumble inside, still on the phone with my friends in State College. “I’m so sorry. I’m a jack**s. I missed the flight.” Incomprehensible babbling and screams from the other end of the line – mixed in with a few “ALLIE!!!”s just for fun. This was getting more and more depressing. I toss my bank card on the counter and ask one final question of the young girl at the front desk, “Is there a mini bar in my room?” No. There wasn’t.

So there I was stuck in Reston, Virginia for the evening. Nothing to do. Debauchery just a short one hour flight away. I think perhaps the gate agent is the devil.

Finally, morning came. One long-ass trip back to the airport, past all the other hotels, back to the exact same gate. This time, I bum-rushed the gate as soon as my flight was called. “But you are not seated in First Class.” “Who the f**k flies First Class on an hour-long flight????”

A short time later, LAF picks me up on the other side. Waffle Shop. Book Store. Sub Shop. It’s all a blur of nostalgia. We arrive at the pitch. Old friends. New friends. Offspring. And the weekend begins.

I cannot even describe the rest. It was pure magic.



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