Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Layover Adventure

Can you believe the major holidays are creeping their way back in? Another year is coming to a close. Soon I'll be joining the millions of other travelers going to visit their families. I'm usually driving on the road for Thanksgiving, this year included. My Mom always makes a "goodie basket" for me to take back with leftover meals that she's made during my visit. I (weakly) protest that she doesn't have to do that but I know she gets enjoyment out of it. I think it's her way of helping me since I'm taking care of my own finances and what not. So I'll be packing up the bucket and some Tupperware to take with me on the road. If I don't, I'll be shopping for another bucket at Shopper's World...*LOL*.

Christmas time I usually fly since I never know what the weather will be like around that time. The only time I didn't fly was in 2001 shortly after the 9-11 Attack in New York. I think I was still getting over that so I drove that year. Going to Detroit was fine weatherwise and I made my five hour trip as usual. Going back was a different story altogether. It had snowed and iced up really bad. I was originally planning on leaving during the evening but decided instead to leave during the day. The roads were still pretty slick and along the way I saw at least a dozen cars on the side of the road. Traffic was also backed up for several miles during the trip and by the time I reached Indiana, I ran out of washer fluid for my windshield. My windows continued to get grimy but I couldn't clean it. So for the remainder of my trip, I had to drive with limited visibility. That trip wound up taking almost eight hours. I was so cranky afterwards and I vowed that I would never drive again during Christmas. Even the "goodie basket" that my Mom made that year (we're not able to do that when I fly for obvious reasons...*LOL*) wouldn't be enough for me to risk life and limb.

My Christmas travels in 2003 by far was the most memorable. I was flying on Northwest and I believe this was my first time seeing Detroit's new NW terminal, which was first opened for business in February 2002. It was definitely a treat to see the new terminal, which has 97 gates. The history of creating this new terminal is explained in detail here. It was also funny seeing birds actually flying inside the terminal and even having nests.

But that's not what made it memorable. I soon learned that my return flight to Chicago was overbooked. The person at the gate was offering $300 vouchers for those who were willing to give up their flight and stay another night. I thought about it briefly before deciding to take advantage of it. It was my first time ever being in that situation. So basically I got my voucher and the airport put me (and a few lucky other people) up in a Holiday Inn overnight and gave us vouchers for dinner. We also would be able to take advantage of a continental breakfast.

After I checked in, I decided to head straight for the hotel's diner/bar. I learned really quick that the voucher was literally only good for food as I had to scrounge up some dollars for my liquor. But it was cool.

So the night went uneventful, my only calls being to my family and Sally to let them know I'm in town for the night and would be flying out first thing next morning.

So fast forward to the next morning. I wake up around 6:30AM to basically get ready to head back to Chicago. I head down to the breakfast area around 7AM to take advantage of the continental breakfast. I recognized a few of the other lucky people sitting at other tables. I make a claim for my own table. One of the servers immediately came over and served me some juice. Moments later, a second server, an older Asian lady came over. She asked me for my voucher, which I handed to her. Then she said something that immediately had me rolling my eyes. She stated that the voucher only covers breakfast, not the tip. I gave her this look like was she serious. Then she asked me if I understood that. All I could say was 'ok' as I shook my head. I'm assuming they've gotten stiffed before in tips but I didn't appreciate the way she approached me. Plus I was the only black person in the room so it made me wonder if she was singling me out because of that. I mean, just because some people stiff you don't mean all people would. I shook my head as I got up and served myself breakfast. I had a good fill of the breakfast and was about to take a third trip but realized it was close to the time the hotel shuttle was going to head to the airport. I contemplated not leaving a tip but then remembered the other server that served me the juice, so I left my buck, the buck I was planning to leave anyway...*LOL*.

So I'm on the shuttle and we get dropped off at Northwest terminal. I walk over to the security check point. When I finally get to the detector machines, I wind up getting yelled at by this surly black woman. I specified her race because the very thing she yelled at me for, she let the white couple in front of me get away with. She yelled something about me not needing to put my coat on the laptop basket or some other bullshit like that. I was so peeved I just told her 'whatever' as I proceeded to put the rest of my carry-ons into the conveyor belt. I swear, sometimes black people trip me out! It's like why treat me differently because I'm black and go all out of your way not to do the same to my white counterparts. Thinking about it now almost makes me think of that scene in my favorite movie Crash where Larenz Tate and Ludacris talk about that very subject. Then I remembered they wound up being carjackers and well...they still had a point...*LOL*.

So I finally get through security and I'm thinking damn, first this one lady fights me for a tip and now this other lady practically attacks at me during security check over some minor shit. I'm like, it's not my fault you folks don't like your jobs. Don't take it out on me.

Fortunately the flight was uneventful. Thank goodness. And did I mention I got $300 to use towards another trip, which I did use for my trip to L.A. in August 2004. What I went through to get it was so worth it...*LOL*.

So Hemingway that was my airport adventure one year. I'm actually not going to have an airport adventure this year. I decided to take Amtrak to Detroit this year. I look forward to the new adventure. I last took an Amtrak almost ten years ago when I was living in the D.C. area and visiting Detroit. That was an eventful trip since I was just starting out living on my own and dealing with the crazy consulting company I had a job with at the time. I may have to share some of those tales someday.


Blogger Stone said...

It is always how own that does shit like that. People need to shake of thinking like slaves.

10:44 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger *Madosi said...

hmmm, long ass post but interesting story/situation ...

10:32 AM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Bougie Black Boy said...

Gotta love family visits during the holiday.... Enjoy every minute of it.

3:19 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Essequibo said...

I'm so happy when I just have to travel the eastern corridor and I can drive myself...public travel is generally a nightmare for me, plane, train or otherwise...people are a trip.

Welcome the day when I can fly out on a private jet somewhere and not have to deal with the bull.

That Amtrak should be eventful for you again though *grinz*

6:45 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger M-Dubb said...

You mom's in Detroit? Why'd I not know that?

8:30 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Tim said...

Oh trust me you're going to have an AMTRAK story! LOL

10:45 PM, November 17, 2005  
Blogger Clay said...

im already over the holidays - im keepin it local and mailing out presents!

3:27 PM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger HOLIDAY N said...

I have no idea why we treat each other like that...and it isn't any different for a woman of color either(very little color but still)and if you think because I have money I'd get treated a lil

I have never taken Amtrak,I'd love to try it once though..I'll wait for your story first.

11:47 PM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger lady in satin said...

Hey E!!!

I didn't know you lived in the DC area before! What part exactly? I live in Laurel, MD. Anyway...I know how that weather is in Michigan, seeing as how I grew up there! I so don't miss it. I'm having to deal with something similar but not as bad, here in the DC area. When I lived in North Carolina, winters were a treat. All we got was cold weather most of the time, maybe a bit of snow here and there, but nothing too drastic. I miss that! I hate snow and you can thank Michigan for that. I can remember being in elementary school and having to walk to school in 2 feet of snow. My school was right across the street from the apartments we lived in. But still...that aint the type of weather to be walking in!!

Its good to be back on your blog! I missed reading it! I hope all is well with you.

*smooches* :-*

11:47 PM, November 18, 2005  
Blogger X said...

It's always our own people! Safe traveling!

4:56 PM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger Rose said...

This holiday I plan to sit back and people, my people they always treat each other the worse.

10:52 PM, November 20, 2005  

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