Encounter With A Political Pooh Bah & Camped Out In A Hobo City

June 14, 2009

in Odds & Ends Stories

In 2007 I was asked to be in a wedding of a former college roommate. I lived in Tennessee, the wedding was in Nebraska. On top of that, the wedding was the weekend before Christmas (which was on a Tuesday.) My family lives in Michigan, which I was leaving Nebraska and flying straight there for Christmas. Being the guy that I am, I planned on doing all my Christmas shopping late Sunday and early Monday when I got back to Michigan. I love making my life difficult sometimes.

The flight to Nebraska and the wedding were pretty uneventful, I even got to meet a former Nebraska football player at the hotel who won the Heisman Trophy, and I even got to hold it. That’s about where the fun ends.

I had an early flight from Nebraska to Chicago, then from Chicago to Lansing. As soon as we got to the Nebraska airport, I was informed my flight was delayed because of a bad snow storm in Chicago, and in fact through the Midwest, which obviously creates a problem at ALL airports. It didn’t matter all that much to me, it just bit into my layover at Chicago.

I was finally boarded a couple hours after. A little tired, I was ready to relax, and there was an extra seat between myself and the other man in my row. Things were still looking up. The man was busy messing around on his Blackberry when the announcement came over to turn off all cell phones and anything that “ends with the word berry.” Flight attendants came by twice to tell him to shut off his phone, in which he politely pretended to, only to pull it out right after they walked past and keep typing away. We began to take off as we were in ascent, I politely turned to him and said, “Listen, I’m not sure if or how that messes things up, but the pilot made an announcement. It really makes me uncomfortable, could you please turn it off?” He, with rosy read cheeks, politely and drunkenly replied, “Oh that’s just a bunch of bull, have you ever flown charter, it doesn’t mess anything up, they just don’t want people talking on their phones, but I’ll shut it off” slurring almost every word. But he did shut it off, for about 30 minutes. I saw he was holding a couple political books, hoping he’d read them, but he didn’t, he just started typing away. I didn’t want to start an altercation with a drunk man so I just let it go.

As we approached Chicago, they plane was moving every way but straight. I’ve been on planes, but never feared for my life until that moment. The snow was blowing over the wings like sand in a desert and the wind was tossing the plane like a dog with a play toy. We landed roughly but safely.

I had a half hour to get to my next flight and the plane made my ankle ache so I was walking slowly with a limp. I was going through the same airline so I figured the gate wasn’t far away, however as I began walking, I slowly realized the gate was across the airport. I finally got to my gate with what I thought, 10 minutes to spare, only to be told the flight stopped boarding 20 minutes ago and was on the runway. That’s about when my heart sank. The lady told me I’d have to go to the help desk, which had a line of about 60 people and 3 workers. I laughed, what else could I do. While waiting, I called my parents to say I might not be home for Christmas. Living in Tennessee, I had only seen them once that year, which mildly upset my mother. I told them I’d call after I talked to the help desk. My father was ready to drive down to Chicago and pick me up.

I talked to the help desk, which scheduled a flight for Christmas day to Detroit but put me on a standby list for Detroit, Saginaw, and Lansing. I had one chance to catch a plane to Saginaw (which is actually closer to where my parents live) that night and one chance in the morning (Monday). I also had some chances to catch a plane (on standby) to Detroit on Monday also, which is about 2 ½ hours away from my parents place. The plane for Saginaw was leaving in an hour so I raced to that terminal to wait. The people who were ahead of me in the help line were also sitting there.

When boarding time came they loaded on the plane and began calling standby passengers. After a few they got to the people who were just ahead of me. I got excited. The lady came over the microphone, I was standing, hopeful, and announced that that was it for passengers. I sat back down, defeated, and laughed.

I went to the next terminal where I had a chance to catch a flight in the morning. Apparently, there were a lot of missed flights because there were a lot of people laying on the floor and sleeping in chairs. I laid down in a row of chairs next to a main walkway and covered my head and body with my jacket, hoping to get a little rest. By this time my ankle was aching very badly, so I took off my one shoe. Soon I heard a group of people walking by from a flight that had just landed. I then heard one of the passersby say “Jeeze, it looks like a hobo city….LOOK THAT ONE’S EVEN MISSING A SHOES.” At least I had my face covered. I waited a few minutes and limped over behind a wall and laid on the floor to avoid any other remarks.

I woke up four hours later, popping my head out from under my jacket to see the airport very busy once again, with a few confused faces looking at me. I then limped across the walkway to the terminal, hoping, sadly, that someone missed their flight so I could get on. Soon enough boarding happened and I got on the flight. I got to my parents place, slept for an hour and then did my Christmas shopping.

Oh and the obnoxious man on the Nebraska-Chicago flight, I surprisingly saw him again a few weeks later. Apparently he’s a strategist for the Republican Party. He was having a debate on CNN with some host. Go figure.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nacho June 15, 2009 at 5:13 am

Your last paragraph made me LOL.


piers June 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

a republican who's an arsehole? how shocking. 'republican' is very nearly a synonym for 'arsehole' these days. good thing you didn't follow him into the lav. you would have likely found out all about his wide stance.


Jacob June 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I lol'd. Indeed; Republican fascists are the definition of obnoxious!


Atari August 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm

I didn't think of much of the politics in the story, but I appreciated the way you avoided writing in a comedic fashion in order to facilitate the piteousness of the situation.

Very interesting technique, which I will definitely employ in my writing.

(Generally, I stuff in as many jokes as possible to keep everything interesting and fun)


Mack October 27, 2009 at 9:46 am

"In 2007 I was asked to be in a wedding of a former college roommate. "

So you actually went to college?

I'm shocked!

You write terribly!


MackIsDumb March 8, 2013 at 1:18 am

I can't believe you went to college and don't know about trades and technology programs which for the most part don't require you to go near an english department classroom.

Sure he writes terrible but when's the last time you've taken a computer or car apart? I bet he's got more skills overall than you, unless being a douche is a skill.


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