My trip to Asheville took longer than I expected. After boarding the plane in Los Angeles, after all the passengers had their seat belts on, after babies had been quieted and put to sleep, the pilot told us that the plane had been loaded with the wrong cargo, which had to be unloaded before we could push back from the gate.
The overhead lights on the aircraft didn’t work, and after a while I gave up trying to read the novel I had brought with me.
I missed my connection in Atlanta, and had to spend the night in a Holiday Inn near the airport. The airline refused to pay for the hotel, under the pretext that the flight delay was the fault of the FAA, not theirs. Annoyingly, they held my luggage overnight, giving me instead a ridiculous zipper bag that contained a white T-shirt in a too-large size, and a few basic toiletries.
I rode the shuttle van to the hotel with a man who was on his way to Moscow (for a vacation, he said, but something about his demeanor screamed ‘sex tourist’); three flight attendants; two pilots; one couple from Arizona; and five soldiers on leave from Iraq, one of whom stood up to give me his seat.
While waiting to register at the hotel, I had to fend off the attentions of the tourist headed to Moscow (making me think that, perhaps, I had been right in my estimation.)
The next day, my flight to Asheville was one hour late, and when I arrived in North Carolina, it took 40 minutes for the luggage to be brought out. But at last, at last, I am here.