Saturday, December 8, 2007

Travelogue: Dallas/Austin

Day 1: The flight attendant that was in the back of the plane with me was friendly and talkative. She was a 22 year veteran and had never seen anything like this. Our plane had spent the night at LGA, we had a dusting of snow the night before, so the plane had to de-iced.

When it came time to back the plane out from the gate, the tractor doing so got stuck in the de-icing material that had dripped on to the tarmac. The pilot told us it had the consistency and viscosity of motor oil, the plane was heavy, and once the tractor lost traction it was done. They got some sand and salt and spread that on the tarmac and about 45 minutes later they moved us the last 20 yards on to dry pavement.

Then they started the engine and there was a VERY loud whirring sound coming from the right engine (we were on a 757). Pilot comes back on, says he wants the mechanics to take a look at that, so we get pulled back up to the gate. The mechanics report that the problem was incomplete de-icing, so they finish the job and back us out again. They restart the engine and it makes a similar noise but much more subtle, so the pilot says we can go.

We taxi out to the long line of planes waiting to depart and something happens I've never seen before--we jump the line. The pilot pulls the plane into about the middle of the line, we wait about another 15 minutes to take off. I check the Treo when the wheels leave the ground, it is 2:09pm, our scheduled departure was 12 noon.

I have a row to myself in the back of the plane, so I spread out and start working, the flight attendants announce beverage service and tell people they have snacks for sale. I am at the back of the plane and I notice about half an hour later that the flight attendants are beginning to have rather animated conversations with passengers about 10 rows ahead of me. I hear the flight attendant I had been talking to mutter as she walks by "what do they expect me to do, pull a fillet out of my ass?"

Apparently they ran out of food (that they had for sale) and people found this frustrating. When she gets back to me she asks me if I want something to drink, I ask for a Diet Dr. Pepper and she says "I think they have one up in first class" and she marches up to the front of the plane.

When she gets back, Diet Dr. Pepper in hand, I thank her and say "And could you pull a cookie or something out of your ass?" She laughs, smiles warmly at me and puts her hand on my shoulder as she walks back to the galley. I was hungry, but what can you do? I left the food I had planned to take with me in my kitchen.

About half an hour later she comes back to me with a huge oatmeal cookie. They had located some additional snacks and were quietly distributing them in the back of the plane. It was delicious.

So we arrived in Dallas one hour and forty-five minutes late and it is almost hot outside. WTF?

The function for which I had arrived on this date, the 50th wedding anniversary of some good friends of mine, parents of my best friend from high school, surrogate parents of mine. It was at the downtown El Fenix, a Tex-Mex place known not so much for it's food but it's longevity and endurance as a Dallas landmark. I met the owner, a Dallas icon, and the party was great.

The next day (yesterday) my mother and I went out to Dad's grave and spent the day talking and catching up with each other. Last night, we drank an AWESOME bottle of wine (review to come) and ate pizza while listening to music and chatting about Zen. My friend here is a beginning student.

Austin is next, I'll leave to drive down there in a couple of hours.

Post a Comment