Sunday, June 5, 2011

Los Angeles, Trip the Third (Day One: Arrival)

Well, here I am in L.A., my third trip in six months. I'm here again for BleedFest! They're hosting the world premiere of my short film A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: and be at rest is today and today's also the day that I co-present the west coast premiere of the documentary that Heather Langenkamp made with her sister-in-law Arlene Marechal called I Am Nancy.

Those who know me and how big a fan I am of Heather Langenkamp might be able to understand why I will take a moment here to say...zomg.

But, that's not what I'm here to type about, not until tomorrow anyway. My trip and my first full day in L.A., that's what I'm here to talk about (but also, zomg.)

I chose an early afternoon flight out of Sarasota. I thought, well, it'll be tiring enough that I'll want to sleep, but still early if I wanted to do something. I had a bad feeling almost as soon as I checked my bag at the counter, but I decided to not pay it much mind. It wasn't like I could do anything about it anyway, right?

So I get through security (no full body nudie x-ray this time, darn it) and get to my gate where I settle in with my iPod to wait for the next half an hour or so. Well, it turned out that the Sarasota crew saw something they didn't like and they had to inspect it so we'd be a little late getting out. No worries. Yes, please, inspect the hell out of whatever it is you're inspecting!

They call for boarding only about five or ten minutes late so I'm thinking, "Okay, great! It might be a little tight getting to my connecting flight, but it's all good." It might well have been all good if it had gone smoothly.

The captain got on the horn after we'd been sitting at the gate, fully boarded, for fifteen minutes and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we're sorry to delay the flight, we're just filling out some paperwork and we'll be out of here in a jiffy."

I look at my watch. That cuts my time to connect down to about half an hour. Okay, they have those nifty cart things if I end up having to go halfway across Atlanta as I normally do.

Fifteen more minutes pass and the pilot signs on again. "We haven't forgotten about you (which is a relief), but Sarasota uses a contract mechanic and they're filling out even more paperwork...the damage to the plane is little more than the equivalent of a scratch on your car..."

By this time, it's been about forty five minutes since we were supposed to take off. Fifteen minutes to make it to my connecting flight. In Atlanta, the biggest, most sprawlingest airport I've been to so far. (LAX may be bigger, but It doesn't seem like it.)

Finally, we're able to take off for the hour long flight to Atlanta. Thought I tried to calm myself down, there was no use getting worked up about it at that point, I was still nervous and tried to think of how I should handle it...should I just go ahead and catch the next plane because my bag won't make it or make a mad dash as soon as I possibly can and figure out about my bag later?

I decide to go for it.

We finally land and the taxiing is killing me with how slow it feels. Everyone stands up at once, as we're wont to do after a flight. People are more courteous on this flight, letting other people out first and helping them with their bags and here I am looking like I have to go to the bathroom as I wait for them to move it or lose it.

I make it off the plane and take just long enough to check the departure gate. The plane gods are smiling down on me! My connecting flight is just two gates away! So I speedwell over and make it just as the woman was closing the door to the jetway. I was in slow motion, reaching out to her, saying, "Nooooooooooooooooooo!" She took pity on me actin' a fool and let me on the flight.

I get to my seat at the back of the plane, cuz, you know, I'm flying Expedia rates ;D, and there's a dude sitting in my seat. I'm all like, "You're in my seat," and he's all like, "Someone else is in mine."

I don't bother to ask why he didn't deal with it, I go find a stewardess and she discovers that they'd double booked the seat (which happened at least twice on that same flight.) So she asks me if I'd mind sitting in the center row. At this point, I just wanted to get settled so I said, "Sure." She gestured to a row that only had one person in it and he was on the left aisle. I took the right aisle seat which gave us both lots of foot room and elbow room. It was AWESOME!

Finally land in LA. It's 5:30 Pacific, 6:10 or so by the time we deplane. I head to baggage claim in the impossible off-chance that in the further ten minutes we sat at the gate in Atlanta, that my bag had been magically transported to my connecting flight. Of course, it wasn't. But it was coming on the next flight which was due to land at 7:15. Not a big deal, it's only about an hour away!

While I'm waiting in the Delta terminal for my bag, my sister-from-another-mister Evy was flying in because she's attending E3 as press (E3 is the single most important video game event in the United States if not the world.) We'd made plans to hang out until her ride arrived. If the SRQ flight had been on time, it would've been perfect. Alas, she ended up keeping me company until my bag arrived.

7:15 rolls around. I go to the board and the flight is now listed for 7:25. Yerg, but whatever. 7:30 rolls around. The plane is listed as at the gate. Okay, cool. I'm normally a pretty patient person, but next 45 minutes or so while they unload the plane are excruciating.

Finally, my bag comes around the bend and I throw my arms up into the air in triumph! My bag has arrived! I won't have to go shopping! Woohoo!

We get Evy to her ride and me to a cab and I get to the hotel. They've put me on the top most floor that regular schlubs can get to (12!) and thus ends my adventures for one day. I know that I've been pretty lucky so far with the baggage *knocks on wood* and that I should count my blessings that the damage to the plane out of SRQ was superficial, but whew! That was quite a day!

Next post: the first full day in L.A.!

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