Okay, maybe I don’t actually hate Ohio. In fact I have family there, and I spent some great times as a child playing with cousins in North Canton. But it seems like every time I go there as an adult I have the worst trips. My first trip to Ohio for work almost three years ago was so awful I vowed never to return (Why I Hate Ohio Part I, which I will be sharing next week). However, when my team requested I go back I thought, Surely it can’t happen again. Plus I’ll be with my co-worker, J, so everything will be fine. Right? Uh, wrong.
After spending nine hours of transit time (airport, plane, airport, plane) to get to Columbus, I was actually feeling pretty good. The flight attendant on my second flight gave me a bag of almonds! The flight was smooth! The day was still beautiful! Surely everything would continue to go well. I met up with J and we got on the road. We knew that it was at least a two hour drive to the town where our meetings were going to be held, and we would probably get there around 11pm.
Since it had been several hours since either of us had eaten, we stopped in a small town outside of Columbus to grab dinner. We even got to sit on the patio since it was such a nice night. We were visiting and talking and enjoying margaritas, when suddenly there was a commotion from the tables in front of us. “Oh no! Is that your blue car?” the lady asked us. Trying our best to remember exactly what color the rental car we got was, it took a second before we remembered. “Yes, that’s our car. Why, what happened?” The lady answered: “The kids in that SUV just backed into your car and then drove off!” What????? We run over to the car, and sure enough. A giant dent is in the left rear bumper. So we call the sheriff’s office, and a deputy comes out to make the report. Within a few minutes, however, a man in a truck stopped to tell the deputy that some punk kids had tried to steal bikes from him. Soon after, another deputy came to finish with us, and our first deputy left to chase the bike thieves. I never knew Ohio was such a hotbed of crime!!
When we got on the road again it was after ten, and we finally arrived at our hotel after midnight. After passing out for a too-short six hours, we we were up again to go to our meetings. Which did not go that well, but whatever. We left around 3 to drive back to Columbus. This was earlier than we had planned because we had to stop at the Budget Rental Car counter and fill out some papers due to the hit-and-run from the night before. It is a lucky thing we left early! Somehow, in the winding roads and hills of East Ohio, we got lost. The highway signs are confusing out there, and the GPS couldn’t pick up our exact location due to all of the hills. As soon as we realized we were lost we stopped and asked for directions. Turned out we were sixty miles off track. O. M. G.
We made it back to the airport 55 minutes before the flight was supposed to take off. Plenty of time, right? Not enough time to enjoy the glass of wine and small meal I had been daydreaming about, but at least I didn’t have to worry about making my flight. So I went to print out my boarding pass. And what did I find? The machines weren’t working. None of them. We all had to wait in line while the ticket agent had someone else print our stuff remotely. I realize that situation could have been way worse than it was, as there were only about ten people that he had to print for in front of me, but it was definitely stress-inducing.
By the time I got to security, I had ten minutes and was relieved to see a very short line. I thought, my luck is finally changing! I will have plenty of time to grab a sandwich before my flight! Then I saw the nudie-scope and thought, dangit! Luckily (I guess?) they were randomly choosing some people to go through the normal metal detector and some people to go to the nudie-scope, and I was one of the few who went through the normal one. Yes! My luck really is changing! For those of you who haven’t had to go through the nudie-scope yet, it takes much longer than the normal metal detector. The TSA agent x-raying the luggage was clearly not paying attention, because he was shooting the luggage through much more quickly than people could pick it up. So fast, in fact that the luggage started to bunch up on each other, and bins started to pop upward from the impact. I ran over and started grabbing my stuff, but I was too late. The bin holding my laptop popped up, and my laptop fell on the floor.
At this point I thought the day couldn’t get any worse. Then I got to my gate and saw that they are boarding early (due to the malfunctioning ticket machines), so I have no time to get food. This is the point where I text the Home Warrior: “I hate this day.”
Once I arrive in Dallas, I was able to get on the standby list for an earlier flight home. I am the last standby to get on the flight, and I think (again): Finally. The bad is over and I am almost home. Until the captain comes over the loudspeaker and tells us some lightbulb needs to be replaced, and it’s going to take twenty minutes. Is that twenty minutes real time, or twenty minutes airline-mechanic time? You be the judge. One hour later we got in the air, and we landed at home later than I would have had I stayed on my original flight. I finally walked in my door at 11:30 and crashed on the couch.
Next time they tell me to go to Ohio I am NOT going. (Sorry for writing a novel.)