Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bend Me, Break Me

I'm going to have to re-read this blog and look at the photos really quick. Right now, I'm losing the plot. There's nothing that can erase the joy of an excellent vacation quicker than a horrible trip back (like getting home from Prague) and that's precisely what we got.

We checked in at Gregorio Luperon airport for our flight to Newark, NJ, this morning, only to find that it had been delayed for at least two hours. It took well more than 2 hours of sitting in an unconditioned hallway before we could board. At least the flight wasn't packed, and apparently ALL of Continental's flights through Newark had been delayed, so maybe we'd make our connecting flights back to SFO. Elena's was around 8:25, mine and J's slated for 7:20.

Our flight made it in at 7:45.

On the plus side, we cleared customs relatively quickly and the connectors were, indeed, delayed. On the negative, the security gate at Newark was a clusterfuck of epic proportions. I won't go into details, but I wouldn't be surprised if a riot had broken out there tonight. No control over the line whatsoever. Everyone fighting to get through because for some reason, the boards listed all the delayed flights as leaving at 8:35. TSA had no clue what to do. And these guys are charged with our safety. WTF!?

We got through and made it to our gate, only to find out that there wasn't even a plane there yet. I sat, stewing in frustration and saltiness, while J checked the boards and found out we leave at 9:10. Or so we hope. That gave us time to round up what little American cash we had to buy a Coke. With all the Brugal Extra Viejo we had on us, it was time for a goddamn cocktail.

I remarked after buying the Coke how the new-to-the-country immigrant woman - who hardly spoke English and was probably lucky to get more than minimum wage - was so courteous and nice, despite the mayhem of delayed flights, short tempers, and frustrated travelers. And here we are paying extra for federalized security workers who get higher pay, a great pension, and can't do their job to save their lives. Fuck you, TSA.

Anyway, before the jackbooted thugs come to take me away, I should get back to the story. We finally boarded our flight and were on our way home...

After the fantastically delicious (note sarcasm) "cheese steak" that resembled a high school cafeteria burger, I really had to go to the bathroom. It was when I got up that I noticed that the bug bites on my left foot had swollen my ankle to look like a giant lump of red Play-Doh. My foot could barely bend, so I limped my way to the lavatory. Once inside the tiny cubicle of stinky ass death, I noticed my face was reddened and broken out. My back was much the same, only with a bunch of miniscule whiteheads to complete the package. Again, I say, WTF!?

Between the bites, the unbearable humidity earlier, and the altitude, something was throwing my body way off. For all I know, it could've been the "cheese steak."

I spent the rest of the flight watching my clubfoot swell and redden some more. Once in SFO, I thought I might need a wheelchair, but managed to limp to the arrivals area where Ian was waiting with a car, and Elena already was. At some point, J had to support me under one arm like a human crutch, it was that bad.

But that's not the worst of it. I had to swallow some more pride and have J carry my bag up the stairs at my place for me. That wasn't so bad. What was bad was that for the first time since moving my furniture in, I cursed living in a walk-up. Especially because it became a crawl-up. That's right, I can't walk up stairs in my state.

So here I am, finally home, typing this last chapter of the trip. My foot is elevated and the swelling seems to be going down a touch, but it still hurts like hell and my skin could be mistaken for that of a 15 year-old pubescent boy.

If you put him in a deep fryer.

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