The Jet Lag Chronicles

Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday we flew back from Spring Training. I can’t express to you how tough it was to semi-willingly walk onto a plane, away from 80-degree weather and toward 40-degree weather. It’s the ultimate test of self-control. Which seems completely opposite of what we saw at the Phoenix airport. Let me explain with a timeline which is at least semi-related to this point.

7:00am MST: Depart for the airport. With Allan Wertheimer‘s humungous camera cases taking up the entire trunk, everyone except me (the driver) has to hold their bags on their lap. They barely fit into an SUV, but they somehow fit into a compact rental car. Loss of bloodflow to the legs starts immediately for Allan, Mike Nutter and his wife Beth.

8:00am MST: We get to the rental car return. There’s a row of traffic spikes at the entrance to the place. The sign overhead says “Do not back over,” but I’m skeptical. Aren’t we taught all the time to avoid running over things that look like shark teeth? I hold my breath and drive over it. No tires pop. Bonus. Everyone gets out of the car walking like infant giraffes as they try to get blood flowing back into their legs.

8:30am MST: After taking a shuttle and dropping off luggage, we get to the security line. The main line to the X-ray machine is moderately long, but as we get to the front they open another x-ray machine. Double bonus.

8:45am MST: We get through security, which apparently means everyone can just do whatever they want. As we wait in the terminal, one guy is walking around with about 12 racquetball racquets in his bag. I wish I had a picture of this because he had a dozen in a bag, then was carrying another individual racket in his free hand. This makes me wonder two things: 1. Who does this guy think he is, wrestling promoter Jim Cornette? (Nutter responds with a golden “Where’s the Rock and Roll Express?” line) 2. Why do we spell racquet the way we do?

8:50am MST: We notice another guy trying to get a ticket for our 9:30am flight on Priceline. You know, the flight that leaves in 40 minutes. Unable to do so, he tries calling Priceline. No dice. His wife is sitting right next to him trying not to have steam blow out of her ears. If I had to sum it up, it looked like Cousin Daryl just fell down, accidentally throwing a plate of spaghetti sauce all over her wedding dress the day before the wedding. Furious, embarrassed, without any other options… This is almost rock bottom. She just checked bags, got through security and is now stuck in Phoenix, Arizona, for an extra day. The only way this could’ve been worse is if she was in the Detroit airport.

8:55am MST: They announce our plane is ready to board. People stampede toward the gate as if they’re fighting for seats. the only problem is, the seats are assigned. What’s the hurry?

9:00am MST: We board our flight. I’m in front of Allan and we’re supposed to sit next to each other. There’s a kid in the aisle seat, so instead of making everyone behind us wait, I jump into the window seat and Allan gets the middle. I offer to give Allan the window seat which is rightfully his. He declines.

9:01am MST: Allan regrets not taking me up on my offer. Aisle-seat kid is peppering Allan with questions about where we’re from, what we do, what kind of phone he has, if it’s the new version or the old one, how the new one is better… Apparently Allan Wertheimer is the real-life version of the Most Interesting Man in the World. Unable to verbally make fun of him about this, I think about sending him a “Sorry ’bout it” text, but I refrain. We both know what’s going on here. Allan can’t wait until electronics are allowed to be turned on so he can put on his earphones and start watching movies.

10:30am MST: Snack time. The flight attendant gives me two bags of peanuts. Double bonus.

11:00am MST: After playing a game of Tecmo Super Bowl on my laptop, Questions McGee says/asks, “That’s cool, do you have an emulator on your computer?” I nod and try to hide behind Allan. In reality, I prefer kids like this over kids who would rather text than have a conversation with someone.

4:45pm EST: Plane lands. I start booing when the flight attendant welcomes us to Detroit. I boo louder when she tells us it’s 40 degrees outside. Lady in front of us gives a half-turn and starts snickering. Find out later she’s Questions McGee’s mom. The value of her laugh plummets. Kidding.

6:00pm EST: We walk toward our gate, through the tunnel from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You know, the one with the lights and the boat and the weird music that nearly ruined the movie.

6:30pm EST: I start doing some work on my laptop. The lady at the ticket counter announces the flight is overbooked (which doesn’t make any sense… do they expect the plane to grow extra seats?). If you give up your seat, you get a seat on the later flight into Fort Wayne, a $400 voucher and free dinner. The only downside to this is that I wouldn’t have a ride back to my car when I get to Fort Wayne. This is tempting. I could take a post-season vacation for free. But I don’t sign up. Yet.

7:15pm EST: They still need one more person to give up their seat. I think it’s a sign. I call Karen Scheiber because she lives close to the Fort Wayne airport to ask if she could give me a ride. Apparently I didn’t explain the situation very well, because she thinks I’m offering her $20 to drive to the DETROIT airport to pick me up. I’m a little offended that she thinks I’d even ask that. What am I, a jerk? No. So, after properly explaining that I’m not asking her to drive hundreds of miles just so I can have a free airplane ride, the plan is in place. I go up and put my name on the volunteer list.

7:40pm EST: After hearing three middle-aged guys tell about 10 Vegas stories (which were funny), seeing this guy with a backpack on (in the Detroit airport, for goodness sake) and a pack of about 50 people sprinting to make their connecting flight, it’s time to get on the plane. Two people miss the flight, so they don’t need me to give up my seat. Darn. I get on the plane slightly disappointed. I start asking Allan hypothetical questions about what he would’ve done if certain people would’ve taken my place: a rotund person (taking over the armrest), a smelly person (the ultimate airplane torture) or some hot babe (the best-case scenario).

7:55pm EST: Flight leaves for Fort Wayne. The guy in the seat across the aisle starts talking about who-knows-what to the guy next to him.

8:25pm EST: We’re about to land. Guy across the aisle hasn’t stopped talking the entire flight. I’m trying to sleep over here.

8:30pm EST: I am, once again, amazed at the number of people who immediately go into Kenny Tarmac mode and call someone with the immediate line of, “We just landed!” I’m sure they’re calling the people picking them up, but the conversation is the same on every flight.

9:00pm EST: We get our luggage (Allan needs a forklift for his) and leave the airport.

9:30pm EST: Arrive at Parkview Field. Bill Lehn is still in his office. What a nut job.

9:35pm EST: Pick up my car from the garage. It’s finally fixed from the minor fender-bender I had about two weeks ago. That saga is over, thank goodness.

And so ends the TinCaps No-Mercy Spring Training Tour 2010. A trip that included some laughs, some hard work, and 4-5 Beth Nutter fake birthday celebrations at Arizona restaurants (just to make the waiters sing embarrassing songs). Now, on to Opening Day!

I think that’s all for now. Take care!

DW

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