Sunday, August 7, 2016

England, 2016, part 1: Tuesday Afternoon is Never Beginning


I loved everything about the plan for this trip to London, which is odd because I didn’t make the plan. Ya see, I don’t HAVE to be in charge of every little thing that comes out of my anal butt, but things run smoother when I do.

But this plan looked smooooth already. 


Well, one little thing.


The travel agent who organized this epic trip to Norway for Admiral Karen and her sisters (and then the meet-up in London for her and me), made one little blunder: She thought that all of us were leaving from Los Angeles.
Not having to plan the flights left me with more time
to make gourmet pancakes in my Darth Vader apron.

So our cross-pond flights would leave from there. No problem. We’ll just take a local flight down there, Karen a week ahead of me.


The big flight was on Norwegian air, who does not run locals from San Jose to L.A., because why should they.

This meant that for the local hop South she and I would be on Southwest Airlines, a different airline than Norwegian. There IS a Southwest part of Norway, but it is less tumbleweeds and cactus and more viking burial mounds.

Puzzling........             (Photo by Chris Illes)
Karen’s flights a week earlier were totally smooooth, and she was happily sending me current texts and pictures of fjords that sure looked more like January than July. Brrrrr……

So, on Tuesday I am lined up for my epic journey to begin. I have my house sitter scheduled, my ride to SJC lined up, my Southwest flight to LAX boarding pass, a 60 minute layover and then my overnight from LAX to LGW, as Gatwick Airport is known.

I return home from shopping for my house sitter: Pop tarts, Ben & Jerrys, & boyfriend-breakup sized BBQ potato chips. My ride to the airport is arriving in 1 hour. And as my car rolls to a stop I get this text from Southwest Airlines: 
“SWA Flight 1874 from SJC is cancelled.”

The foreshadowing has fallen; there will be no flights.
  • Step 1: Burst into tears and punch the steering wheel a LOT. 
  • Step 2: Feel better having accomplished this.
  • Step 3: Take junk food inside and log onto the Southwest website, because the second part of the text - viewed through the salty prisms of my anguished tears - says:
“Go to and use 9HJ3BL.”

It is now 1pm. Mykey is picking me up at 2pm, dropping me off at 3pm, for a 4:15 flight that has now gone the way of the dodo. That now-mythical hop would have planted me in LAX at 5:30, leaving me a jaunty hour in which to find my 6:30 flight overseas. Which would have lead to me being at Stonehenge, Avebury, Glastonbury and the acres of tanks on display at the Imperial War Museum. (*whimper!)

These are the tanks I (don't) get.
Now? Now I face a long evening of eating pop-tarts and crying on my housesitters horrified shoulder.

For, you see, the ‘rebook’ part of the Southwest text shows me that their next flight out of SJC leaves at 6:30pm. And so unless Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott is at the controls and can beam me directly to LAX and into my seat on the Norwegian Air flight, I am SCREWED.

What does one do in such a predicament? Well, You do the obvious thing, of course: 
  • Step 4: You light a candle and pray to the patron saint to blithely navigating your way out of tight situations: David Niven.
And so I packed as planned, labeled the TV remotes, left a note for my house sitter (“it is your job to now watch entire seasons of utter garbage”), and chanted the sacred homily to Saint Niven: “Bring on the Empty Horses, the Moon is a Balloon, and I can be the Pink Panther too.”
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Mykey picked me up 15 minutes early because he is nicely psychic that way, and dropped me off at 2:30pm. 

I am in San Jose, with 30 pounds of non-rolling luggage, and a boarding pass to a non-existent flight.

I have 3.5 hours to somehow get to Los Angeles.

Help me, God of Nivenning.

Angus McMahan

On to part 2, Where I almost get out of the Airport!

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