I know now why the flight to Wendover
inexpensive. It's the kind of experience one would only wish to
inflict on someone who really deserved it. Not to say that there
weren't people who enjoyed it – I'd say there were about 149 people
who had a grand time on my flight of 150.
I knew there'd be some discomfort when, as we were delayed on take off and some of the more rowdy Wendover-destined partyers wanted a pre-takeoff round of cocktails. They'd escaped their children, see? And their grandchildren and their great grandchildren and so on. For the most part these were a wild set of adventurous geriatrics.
Which brings us to the first problem, getting down the ramp. I regularly do contract work at nursing homes and don't see that much mobility equipment. Between the walkers, wheelchairs, and oxygen carts stacked at the plane's entrance I felt like I was at an AARP yard sale.
150 old people PLUS free champagne and cheap cocktails PLUS a turbulent flight equals trouble, for there are only 3 restrooms on a 737 and the lines met front to back as the whole plane suffered the ill effects of weak bladders. Sitting on the aisle I had more old butts rubbing against me than the ashtray at the bingo hall.
As if things couldn't get worse, the flight attendants shed their formal training and became happy-go-lucky tour guides on the express cruise to paradise. We had raffles for ones and fives, where everyone was supposed to write their name on their bills and shove them into garbage bags Judy and Isaac paraded down the crowded aisles. “And the Winner is . . . seat 24C.” Big applause.
Those who know me know how much I love loud, screeching people.
The guy on the aisle across from me had one of those voices you can hear clearly at a Rob Zombie concert . . . just that right pitch to penetrate your ears, bypass the drums, and resonate against your occipital bone (right at the top of the spine). My headache throbbed with every word he said . . . and he never stopped talking. J J was funny, also. I know he was funny because he laughed at everything he said. He timed himself out like a sitcom with a laughtrack, going every 15 seconds. What a pleasure.We learned about Grace's 90th birthday and Joan and John's 51st wedding anniversary. We toasted them with champagne and applauded wildly. Whoo Hoo.
So, we finally get to Wendover and walk down the boarding steps. If you don't know what a treat it is to watch the entire cast of the Golden Girls amble down rickety steps, please take this flight and bring video equipment. Getting through the airport terminal was almost like walking though a double-wide trailer.
Wait, it was exactly like that. It doubles as a museum, because Wendover is both a casino town and a celebration of the location where the only true Weapons of Mass Destruction were ever loaded onto planes for delivery to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They sure are proud of their role in history. I've been to Hiroshima and there's also a museum there, but the tone is somewhat different, a bit less celebratory.
The journey was almost over and all I needed was my luggage. Not to delay you from gambling in the casino, they promise to deliver your bag right to your room within two hours. I stretched out my hand and cried, “but it's just over there on the only flight into Wendover today.” Nope, they'll deliver it.
But they didn't.
And I had to call. And complain. Which didn't make someone very happy for when my bag arrived in my room, the handle was torn right off and a zipper was ripped clean through, with clothing spilling from the side, and several zipper tabs were just missing. This wasn't a cheap bag from Walmart, mind you, it was a bomber-brown leather bag which had successfully journeyed through hundreds of airports before meeting its match in the desert on the Utah/Idaho border.
More about the trip tomorrow.
rick - exhausted.