Friday, June 22, 2012

October Last

Ever since I can remember and even before that, according to videos of a naked baby eating sand, I have lived the 11 months and 25 days of the rest of the year just for that one October week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Oh, for the wistful days of waking up at 5am to make the zombified walk to the van.  The anticipatory goosebumps that weren't only the result of the early morning chill.  That ordinary pillow which suddenly seemed like a cloud sent straight from the heavens, propped up against the cold window.  Knowing that, when I finally reawoken, we'd be quite a ways into the 12 hour journey and it'd be time to stop for pancakes and corned beef hash.

Apart from our final destination, the beach, the dunes, the kites, the ice cream, the jumping in the surf with all your clothes on, the whining about hurrying up with dumb grown up relaxing stuff so we could get back to the pool again, that car ride was always such a huge part of the trip.  You couldn't have one without the other.  Nothing to bring you closer as a family than 12 hours in a tiny room you can't leave until it's come to a complete stop.

Now, a venture back to the Banks takes hours of scouring Orbitz only to click on a good deal and have a message pop up telling you that it no longer exists and that, for some reason in this fast paced highly technologically advanced world, taking down consumable items that are no longer consumable is just too complicated an algorithm.  It takes coordinating driving 2 hours to the airport and paying 80 bucks just to park your car.  It takes finding out your seats aren't together even though you specifically chose seats together back when you bought your tickets 5 months ago and the entire seating chart was up for grabs.

It now takes paying a ridiculous sum to check bags that will be meticulously tagged and yet somehow become lost between ONE change of flights.  It takes arriving too late to get a seat next to an outlet so you have to decide if the boredom outweighs using up batteries on any number of ennui-reducing gizmos.  It takes  experimentation with special ear plugs so your face doesn't cave in on itself during descent.  It takes getting the window seat in a 3-seater section and watching as each fellow traveler makes his or her way down the center aisle, thinking to yourself, "Keep walking, keep walking. . ."

If it hasn't been made quite clear as of yet. . .I'm not a big fan of flying.  It's just so torpid and boring.  I'm not a control freak in the least, but there is something to be said when you have no option but to stay seated because standing during a 30,000ft free fall is exactly 1,000% the difference between life and death when compared to sitting with your tray table in its upright position.  But I won't go on about that.  You could just watch Jerry Seinfeld.

I also have this irrational fear of using the airplane bathrooms.  It has nothing to do with worrying about being in there if the plane goes out of control.  I'm also not even close to claustrophobic.  I just really hate knowing that everyone else knows what I'm doing in there.  Especially if I take even just a moment longer than is normal for a regular pee.  Or, everyone's fear, that the odoriferous gift left behind by the guy before you will somehow be attributed to you.  There should be some universally recognized sign for, "Seriously, that was not me."  Maybe I should just make it a game and always claim it was.  It's like I want to come back out, raise my hands in supplication, and announce, "That's right, everyone!  I have just relieved myself, it is a true statement.  Just a Code 3 7 4 B, that's all."  Would the Ace Ventura "Do NOT go in there.  WOO!" thing be cool?  Has it been long enough that it's retro?

Then there's that situation where you get up to use the bathroom because you've been eyeing that general area for practically 30 to 35 minutes and you've finally both mustered the courage to rise and ask the aisle guy to awkwardly move his abnormally long legs without actually having to get up AND you've noticed no one has headed there for the last 10 minutes.  Up you go and no sooner you do than someone 8 rows up has got the same idea precisely 4 seconds after you have and, without even knowing it, cuts right in front of you, so you have to stand up there like a dolt feeling uncomfortable yourself because everyone is surely looking at you and wondering how many sodas you've had and most definitely making the person now coming out of the tiny water closet uncomfortable because they're having all the same feelings and is wondering how long they were really in there and how long you've been impatiently waiting.  Not to mention, the guy before them had airport Taco Bell before he boarded and now I'm attributing that smell to Mr. McCutterPants.

All of this is really leading up to all of the impossible trouble I went to in order to visit the Outer Banks as a surprise trip to my mum.  So, I certainly hope she appreciates all my sacrifices in the way of comfort and convenience.  I might even prefer a wagon train so long as we could stop off at 7 Elevens along the way for Reese's Cups and Lays Classic.  Even a dumb bag of circus peanuts would be better than that weird chunk of smelly cheese that came with my $10 boxed assortment of "snacks."  But man, those complimentary Biscoff biscuits are goooood.  Can I get those in bulk for just me?

Last October, Adam and I boarded one of these hellish nightmare sky cabs to Norfolk, Virginia.  Where we rented an enormously expensive car (almost got a Crown Vic but alas) and embarked on a 2 hour trek to Ocean Pines in Duck, NC.  We arrived on Ocean Pines Drive at around 2am.  I'd been calling my sister, who was in on the charade, since our layover earlier that day.  With no response yet.  So, I was getting rather concerned.  We pull up and every light is, of course, extinguished.  I keep calling my sister to no avail.  I think she might be an Animorph with the cat-like tendencies to sleep uninterrupted for nigh on to 16 hours.

I eventually had to resort to banging on the door, worried about frightening my mum and my Mimi half to death.  But I was cold and in fear of having to sleep in the car.  We eventually saw lights turn on and the sound of raised and questioning voices floated down to us.  I could hear my mum.  "Don't open the door!!!"

The door swung inward and there was my sister, not at all surprised to see us.  But, behind her were my mum and Mimi whom, I swear, stood there for minutes in shock and awe.  It was several moments before recognition took the place of fear and surprise.  It was an awesome moment.  One of which I wish I'd gotten a picture or video.  But I was quite fed up with the whole no-contact-for-hours-having-to-knock-on-the-door-in-the-cold-where-are-we-gonna-sleep-tonight thing.  Naturally.  Adam did catch me on one of my many unanswered calls to my cat, read: sister.

But what am I complaining about?  Adam was the real accursed creature on this trip.  The poor man had a lost bag (returned the next day when the airline found it who knows where?), barely survived a torrid 7-day attack by mosquitoes (the barely touched me), and then proceeded to top it all off with a nasty little cold which laid him up for a couple days.

Other than that, in the words of a tiger I once knew rather well, it was great!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment