From time to time I catch a bit of grief that my blog posts tend to be about such heavy topics. What can I say? My mind simply works that way, but it has its baser moments too. Most of us probably don’t wish to mention such times but thankfully there are still a few times where less than professional behavior can be enjoyed.
During my yoot United Airlines had this email program called eFares. Each Wednesday an email would show up offering amazing flight deals for the weekend because they needed to stage planes somewhere or some such thing. I remember seeing flights in the $25-$50 range. There was even a 20-something subculture of eFare weekenders. They would make no plans until after the eFare email came out.
While my liver probably offered up no thanks, I ended up going to New Orleans quite a few times. On-line hotel places had just came out. You could end up in a nice hotel with round trip airfare for under $200. Most of us drank and ate more than that!
An ex-girlfriend tried to talk her sand volleyball team into going after their season was over but it ended up being her, me and a guy named Jim. We all booked our own flights and hotel rooms but managed to get on the same flight. True to O’Hare’s reputation, our flight was delayed. It was a late evening flight to start with, even the airport bars had already closed. The only vending machines were way far away from our terminal.
Since we decided to see a few tourist sites, I booked a car for the first day. We got stuck with a minivan instead of the car I booked. It was really hot and humid. We firmly believed there was no air conditioning in the van because none of us owned a new enough car to recognize the little snowflake button was how the air got turned on. In my defense, I had an Eagle Premier Ltd. You simply set the temperature and it figured out what you needed. Our rental was a generation between set it and forget it climate control and the old slid bar controls. For those too young to remember slide bar controls I included a picture.
Here we were in 100+% humidity and 80+ degree temperature driving around at night with the windows down and the defroster on. Why the defroster? Because the inside of the windshield kept fogging up. I think our top speed was 10 MPH going down the street. We finally got to our hotel and checked in. The only place nearby which was still open to eat was some place we had to walk into an alley under some stairs to enter. You could have anything you wanted as long as it was jambalaya.
At this point I should tell you that I don’t do well with spicy. I wouldn’t say I have a delicate digestive tract, but spicy tears me up. I suffered through some sleep then we met for breakfast, the obligatory run to a store to pick up stuff we forgot, then off to do our sight seeing. We went to the “Gone With the Wind” plantation and the “Laura” plantation when they were just starting to restore it. After that we cruised back to the hotel and returned the minivan.
Jim was into diving and there was some kind of aquarium place he wanted to see. It was walking distance from the hotel and I was wired by Mt. Dew at the time so I tagged along. The ex-girlfriend went to take a 4+ hour nap.
We hadn’t really walked much on the plantation tours but by the time we got into the aquarium I was starting to feel it. Not in my legs, in my gut. I was beginning to suffer geospacial discomfort. Not wanting to get lost I followed along as we went up and down and around. I remember there was this tunnel through one of the tanks. You walked through with glass and fish all around. I struggled in high school geometry class. About half way through the glass echo chamber it felt like my stomach was retaking geometry for me and doing even worse than I did. Odds of discovery and embarrassment were exponentially increased inside of that glass tube. Besides, it was crowded.
Quite honestly it seemed like the crowd was connected to us by a short tether. We walked out of there and through some other exhibits in a bundle of people that could only be described as a pick pocket’s paradise. Finally and inexplicably we got to some large area with a clearing. The tethers were cut. I took a quick glance around and there was only one family within 20 feet. They were currently occupied reprimanding their offspring.
At this point I had to hope it was just going to be ventilation without liquids or substance because I was in too much pain to be certain. Mercy was upon me. Though it felt like my jeans erupted in flames there was no discernible noise even to me. Discomfort left me with every step and this was a 6 stepper. I do _not_ do well with spicy! Somewhere around step 4 or 5 the parents suddenly stopped admonishing the daughter and dad got much louder.
“Billy! We talked about that before coming in here!”
“I didn’t do nothin.”
“Yes you did! It smells just like the one you let in the car!”
That was all I could hear. Trying to hold back a laugh while passing gas while trying to avoid clenching your cheeks so it doesn’t make noise is not a feat most people will admit to having experienced. Somehow I pulled it off until the need for ventilation had passed. When I started laughing afterwards Jim turned around and asked what I was laughing at. “I’ll tell you later.”
So Billy, I must apologize for letting you hold the bag on that one. I truly hope you did not have to endure years of psycho-therapy to get over the incident. You have no idea who it was an I’m not even completely certain Billy was your name but you took the blame for it so wherever you are, you’re a Hell of a guy!