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Semi-food Related: I didn't think it could get worse...

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16720 posts
Joined: Dec 12, 2005


Posted to Thread #25657 at 11:12 pm on Jan 28, 2014

[Warning!! Decide whether to continue reading NOW as this saga involves PROJECTILE VOMITING.]

Okay, for those of you still with me: You Have Been Warned!

This past weekend I flew to NC to work with my <i>"You Realize </i><b><i>That’s </b></i><i>Going to Cost More?"</i> building contractor. Since I'm already 3,723% over budget I've been flying low-fare Allegiant airlines for a 1-hour flight versus a 9-hour drive. Carrying only a backpack that fits under the "Allegiant picked it" seat and an apple, I avoid the $20 baggage charge, $20 seat selection charge, $5 priority boarding charge and $7 snack pack fee. This $104 in savings justified spending an additional $4,868 on cabinets.

Welcome to Marilyn Math.

My economical Priceline compact car was $60, but my NC neighbor "up the road" emailed that I might want to consider a 4-wheel rental since they had ice on their road. The kind man at Hertz said he could upgrade, but couldn’t satisfy my request for a "small 4-wheel" vehicle. He said the roads were clear and they hadn't had snow in 5 days, at which point we both turned and looked outside, as if awaiting a Weather Channel display to flash confirmation in the sky. I went with the compact and drove 35 miles to my neighbors “up the road” with no problems.

Well, almost.

Visualize, if you will, as Marilyn slides BACKWARD down the ice-covered lane 200 yards from my construction site. Oh wait, I was sliding BACKWARDS and SIDEWAYS while mentally cursing myself for the nonchalant manner in which I refused additional insurance coverage. My neighbors, who had been watching for my car lights, drove down and Mr. S backed my rental to the bottom of the hill. Next morning, I was BACK at Hertz getting a 4-wheel drive, Damn the size! and optional coverage. Then Sandy and I had a fabulous lunch at Laughing Seed vegetarian restaurant and tried not to fall on the icy brick sidewalks. Thanks again, Charlie!

Two days of construction meetings and decisions flew by, which brings us to…

Yesterday. I organized my backpack to fly home and tucked in the small 4" square of granite countertop to show Larry. Pay attention, viewing audience unafraid of vomit, as this will come into play shortly [Spoiler Alert: We Experience A Body Search].

To simplify matters, I've provided a timeline to accurately track the next 6 hours of my life.

6:30: As I was checking in at Hertz, the attendant paused at the computer and actually shook his head. This is never a good sign when someone is getting ready to hand you an invoice.
Him: "Says here you drove 8,210 miles."
Me: "Well I didn't drive to the Bering Strait and back in 3 days but I did switch out cars."
Him: "Ah."

6:45, TSA Security Clearance: I passed through with flying colors but my backpack was retained. Although I told them there was a block of granite inside, they still scanned the entire thing with bomb detection swabs.
6:55 When they finally decided it was safe and I could repack my bag, I noticed my reading glasses were gone. Not the el-cheapo drugstore ones, but the $275 prescription ones. I needed to go back to the rental car counter, which meant I had to leave the passenger-only security zone I had just cleared and return through it again.
7:05 Back to the Hertz counter where, in their ability to turn cars around fast, they had already moved my rental to the storage area.
7:15 They finally located my glasses on the floor of the car and I headed BACK to the security entrance.
7:25 This time my backpack set off an alarm. Since it was MY luggage, I was now part of the problem and that protocol translated to a full-body scan. This means a gloved female agent is intimately involved in the process, running her hands directly over Terra Firma Marilyn. Reminding them AGAIN about the block of granite [which apparently has the same density and attributes as a block of C2 explosive], I suddenly realized that no one had ever gotten to Second Base with me on the first date before.
7:30: [I’m feeling kind of tingly right now.]
7:45: After first getting patted down, then watching every article in my backpack get patted down, they were finally satisfied that yes, the granite had triggered the alarm. As I repacked my bag (for the third time that day) the backpack TSA agent said: "It's lucky we figured out it's the granite...we would have had to go deeper." At this statement, my eyes grew to the size of dinner platters and I turned to my new BFF female TSA agent: "Is he implying a "Body Cavity search???"

No...apparently it would have meant further scanning of my backpack. Feel free to thank me, Asheville Airport TSA agents, for initiating Impromptu Dry-run Scenario #1375-AX: "Terrorist Attack by Cultured Granite."

8:00 Boarding the flight to Orlando, I sat in my Allegiant-assigned 14E middle seat. Seat 14D turned out be a semi-comatose middle-aged man whacked out on Zanax. His wife sat behind us with their child and said that dealing with comatose “Mr. 14D on Zanax” was better than dealing with “Mr. 14D in the Throes of Flight Anxiety.”
8:22 Head bobbing with dull-glazed eyes, Mr. 14D munched his way through an entire bag of crunchy Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack. Ten minutes later, engulfed in a miasma of artificial pizza odors, I mentally hired a Haitian Vodou priestess to sacrifice a live chicken and forever curse the person who invented Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack and its toxic cloud of aromas saturating our airspace.

[I didn't think it could get worse, but I’ll bet you did.]

8:45: Just about the time I was listening to a beautiful piece of music (Rachel Portman, "Human Stain" soundtrack) Mr. 14D started to throw up the aforementioned snack, momentarily passed out and yet continued to throw up. I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that his wife, the flight attendants and I were all working on him at one point. Then he jerked awake and started flailing around, which meant the reconfigured, formerly solid Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack began flailing around with him. At this point, the flight attendant asked if I wanted to move, but there was no getting out of my seat and past this man drenched in Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack. His wife and I undressed him as much as possible and seventeen hours later, the 1-hour flight was over.
9:40 I immediately went to the airport bathroom and washed up, but still felt cloaked in a cloud of Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack and vomit stench.
9:50 I walked to the parking garage where....

[I didn't think it could get worse, but I’ll be you did.]

…it turns out my car battery was dead. I called AAA and was told a tow truck would be there within the hour and to keep my phone on and available.
10:30 As I stood there and recalled every single movie and TV show that involved parking garage murders, I realized I still smelled vomit. I looked down and notice a blob of Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack on the hem of my shirt. Since I was totally alone on Level 2: Parking Garage A, I opened my "twice searched and swabbed for explosives" backpack and pulled out another top. Yanking the soiled one over my head, my cellphone went off and there I stood, one arm still in top, the rest of my oh, so recently patted-down body exposed.

I pulled the shirt back down, grabbed my phone, and answered it. Of course, it was the tow truck...and of course, he was right across the lane from where I had just performed an impromptu strip-tease.

We both decided to ignore the obvious and work on my car.

10:50: The battery was dead and the portable charger wasn't sufficient to start the car. We couldn't move it because the gears were locked so he needed to pop the little escape latch to release the gears. Mr. AAA turned to me and asked if I had a small knife, to which I replied: "I just went through security x-ray TWICE and scored the bonus full-body pat down. NO! I DON'T have a knife on me." Mr. AAA finally got the car going and said “DRIVE AND DO NOT STOP UNTIL YOU ARE HOME! So I did. And I didn’t.

11:00 - 11:15 PM. During this time-frame, I got lost on three different pitch-dark roads surrounding the Sanford Orlando airport, panicking all the while that my battery would die again and I would be alone on a dark road with murderers. In my defense, I believe the Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack fumes had finally addled my brain.

12:15: Home at last, where I dumped my backpack on the floor, brushed my teeth and went to bed, thus ending six miserable hours of my life.

Postscript: When I awoke this morning, the first thing I smelled was Combo’s Pizzeria Pretzel Snack vomit. I went into the bathroom and saw--to my horror--a small blob of the stuff on my neck, explaining the constant aroma I was dealing with the night before. I climbed into the shower and sterilized my entire body, leaving behind only tender memories of my time spent with Ms. TSA agent.

I've also upgraded my curse Wish List: Hire a Mayan priest to perform a human sacrifice. Specifically, the inventor of Combo Pizzeria Pretzel Snacks.

Jesus saves. Buddha recycles.

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