Tomorrow, someone will ask me about the recent trip I took to visit my sister and her six-month-old twin boys in Houston, and I will say, “Oh my god, what a nightmare,” and I will proceed to explain in excruciating and somewhat exaggerated detail how I was forced to check my carry-on bag on the first leg of the flight, thus losing critical access to a sweater and a pair of old sneakers, (albeit briefly) and how the airline then lost my luggage (also briefly) upon arrival. I’ll lament how I was without my toiletry bag for most of the evening and compelled to use my sister’s face wash, which upon inspection, contained ingredients that may or may not have had the potential to irritate my skin.
Instead of waxing poetic on the sheer joy it was to hold my baby nephews in my arms, and reconnect with my sisters and brother-in-law, I will describe how on the way home, after waiting several hours for a delayed flight from Charlotte to DC, the flight was cancelled and I was forced to spend a grueling night in a Holiday Inn Express in Belmont, NC. Without a bar, even! I will grieve the loss of the time I spent sitting in an over-priced neighborhood restaurant chewing on an overcooked steak, while the diner to the left of us, a self-proclaimed seventy-year-old horseback rider downing her second glass of light beer, attempted to feed my four-year-old son pieces of chicken and crispy strips out of her salad with fairly dirty fingernails. “I’m not the type to hurt little children,” she assured us, which was a relief to hear and certainly put any concerns to rest.
Initially, I will politely refrain from mentioning the name of the airline, but once pressed, will admit it was US Airways and quickly relate the recent revelation that almost everyone I know who has flown them in the past three years has had problems (as I continue to relate this fact, the number of people affected and number of years will grow). I will explain that I have never had a problem flying them before but will avoid them like the plague going forward. I will shake my head and sigh at the abysmal state of customer service in every industry these days.
Never mind talking about the innovative children’s museum exhibits, or the fabulous aquarium or the authentic Texas barbecue; instead I will bemoan the exorbitant number of minutes it took to get a taxi back to my hotel once stranded in downtown Belmont. I will emphasize that my son announced as we were waiting that he had to poop. For humorous effect, I will slightly embellish a chastising I received on my cell phone from a cab driver I had initially called for a pick up after I took a second cab I found waiting instead – but only slightly.
Finally, after finishing a virtually endless litany of gripes and grievances, complaints and criticisms, I will roll my eyes and say, “But, other than THAT, I really had a nice time.”