Monday, 9 November, I headed out for a flight to Detroit, but the story really sort of starts on Sunday, the day before. You see that was the afternoon I spent going through my closet trying things on to see what I could bring and wear on my trip, and I discovered that quite a lot of my skirts are far too tight! It seems that maybe I’ve been doing too much eating and too little exercise lately. Either that, or someone is sneaking in to my closet and washing everything in hot water to shrink it! If I ever catch that little bastard . . . Ultimately I did find a few things that I thought would work, and so I packed them away and set one aside for wearing on the trip.
Monday was an early day, as are most when I’m flying, especially if I’m flying as Kim. It takes me about one and a half hours to get ready, and I have to be out the door before my daughter gets up for school, so it was a 330 AM start. I started off by getting my makeup on, and let’s face it, it takes a lot of makeup to take this 44 year old to look anything remotely resembling attractive. Next I reached for my outfit and had to suck the tummy in purty hard to get my skirt on. God I hate not being built right. LoL
I could be wrong, but I don’t think it was obvious that the skirt was now far tighter than it really should have been.
As I was making my way through the TSA security line at Austin, one of the TSA agents inspecting the passengers documents and ID was a reasonably cute young lady. She caught my attention by her tone and demeanor as she repeatedly was saying “Next passenger please!” It’s not that she was yelling, or loud, it was just her tone and manner. After more than a decade in the Army, I have no trouble recognizing the tone of an NCO, so I asked her as I handed my ID and tickets over.
“You’ve been in the Military haven’t you?” I asked her with a smile.
“I spent five years in the Army!” she confirmed for me.
“Would you believe I spent 12 years in?” I asked her with a grin. “I was pretty sure I recognized the sound of an NCO there.”
On my connection from Houston to Detroit, an older woman wanted to argue with me about my seat. My assigned seat (“F”) was a window seat, and I was getting comfortable when she stopped, looked at her ticket, then at me.
“Isn’t that seat D?” she asked me.
“No ma’am, it’s F.” I replied.
“Well I’m supposed to be in D.” she said, pointing at my seat and making it clear with her emphasis that she didn’t understand me and still thinks I’m in her seat. We went back and forth a couple of times, trying to get her to understand.
“No ma’am, this is seat F, and it is the seat that I am assigned to.” I said while patting my chair and showing her my ticket. I’m trying not to get worked up, because if I start speaking loudly the whole “passing” thing is gonna go out the window. Apparently the lady in the row in front of me got irritated and turned around and spoke slowly and clearly to the lady that wanted to argue with me.
“That is seat F, and it is her seat.” She said pointing at me. “That,” she continued while pointing at the isle seat, “is seat D and it is your seat.” As the woman finally took her seat, the lady in front of me winked and sat back down.
When we landed, I went looking for my baggage, and I’d have to admit that I was a little nervous considering my lost baggage on my last flight. Just to make sure I was a wreck, my bags were among the last four or five to come off of the belt, but last or not, they did come rolling off the conveyer. Grabbed my back pack, my huge suite case, and my rolling toolbox and headed for the rental car shuttle where I found a line of 6 or 7 guys all waiting. I cued up and was just sort of zoning while I waited, when the guy in front of me turned around to speak with me.
“It looks like Avis has the slow bus today!” he said with a smile.
“It kind of looks that way doesn’t it? Maybe it’s just me, but I’d swear Avis customer service has declined in the last few months.” I told him, and then after thinking for a second more I added “AND they keep giving me lousy cars!”
“No, it’s not just you – I noticed the same thing.” He told me. When the bus did finally arrive several minutes later, he offered to help me get my bags on to the bus but I politely declined. It always makes me uncomfortable when guys do that sort of thing for me, because I hate to think of how they may react when/if they realize what I am. He sat next to me, and once the bus was underway he started to talk to me. He asked about my work and who I worked for. I hesitated to tell him my company, but did it anyway, and was relieved when he said he had never heard of us. He told me that he manages a couple of plants just north of the border, up in Canada. Bad news – he is here to lay people off. Sort of good news – he is a caring man and it is tearing him up. He was clearly upset about it, but determined to do his duty. I don’t know if might be TG, or just a nice guy, but I appreciated his striking up the conversation with me. As I was getting off of the bus he again offered to help, which I thought was sweet given that by that time he must have realized what I was as a result of our conversation. Again I declined, more out of habit than anything else I guess, and so I stumbled off the bus carrying my 120 pounds of gear on four inch heels.
As I get the handles on my cases extended so that I could roll them to the car, I notice that there are four Avis employees standing at the kiosk and every single one of them is staring at me. Sometimes being stared at bothers me, and sometimes it amuses me. Today I went with feeling amused. What the hell, I just gave them a huge smile and turned and headed for my car. I had to grin again as I noticed that they were still watching me as I walked around and inspected the car for damage. As I stopped at their security gate, a cute blond woman stepped out and I recognized her as the lady that had chatted with me before.
“Hey sweat heart, how are you?” She asks, with a friendly smile. I gave her my standard answer.
“Hey sweat heart, how are you?” She asks, with a friendly smile. I gave her my standard answer.
“Oh hell, I just couldn’t be any gooder! How are you?”
“We were just talking about you today and how we hadn’t seen you in a while. Is everything going OK for you?” she said.
“Well enough, but not as busy as I’d like to be. You know, it can’t be a good thing when folks that work at an airport this huge remember you and know you!” I said with a laugh.
“Nah, you should be flattered! We like you.” She replied with a wink while handing my license and contract back to me. “You have a great time while you’re here OK?” she said as she raised the security gate for me and waved good bye.
As I pulled up the hotel, I see that there are mattresses stacked everywhere, and a crew of men are loading them onto a large truck. They have the typical look of young men doing that sort of job, just as I did at that age, and I’m feeling a little nervous considering the walk across the parking lot with them standing there watching. Sure enough, all eyes are on me as I take my bags out of the car. I’m not sure if it is the eyes of young men watching a woman in high heels and short skirt, or if it was something else. . .
I go through the usual routine with the clerk behind the counter.
“Checking in?” she asks me cheerfully.
“Yes ma’am.” I told her while handing her my platinum Holiday Inn Priority Club card and ID.
“Do you have a reservation?” she asks.
“I sure hope so, because I hate sleeping in the car.” That got a laugh out of her. Even though I had handed her my card, she asked me for my last name and I gave it to her. She looks for a bit and then asks for my first name. My last name is very unique in the US and I know darn well she doesn’t have more than one person with my last name staying there, so it hits me – she didn’t realize I’m a guy.
“Matthew,” I told her, and when she smiled and nodded I gave her a little laugh. “Yeah, I know. Not quite what you were expecting huh?”
She waved her arm and shook her head as if to say “it’s absolutely no problem”
As the elevator got to the third floor and opened, guess who is blocking the door trying to enter the elevator having not realized that it was occupied? Yepper, it’s three of the guys that were loading the mattresses up, and they were about to push two or three of them into the elevator before they realized it was occupied. It was comical and gratifying to see the way they fell all over themselves to clear a path. I heard a whole chorus of several voices saying things along the lines of “Oh! I’m SO sorry! Here, let me get that out of the way for you!” Every once in a while, it comes in handy having people think you’re a woman!
I went to the Motor City Casino and donated $20 to them. That didn’t take long and so after stopping at Wendy’s to get a salad for dinner (yuck!) I was headed back to hotel and waiting behind a guy at the elevator. He had his hands full of bags filled with snacks, and popcorn, and that sort of thing.
“The damn elevator was full, and I had too much to carry, so I thought I’d take the next one.” He said with a ‘what can you do’ expression.
“Looks like you guys are in for the long haul” I told him while pointing at his snacks.
“You betcha!” he said. “And we brought the margarita machine with us too! We’re right down the hall from you?” he said, turning it into a question. It took me a second before it struck me. He also had not figured out what I am and had just invited me to their room for Margarittas! I was terribly flattered, but declined for a number of reasons.
You know, other than the $20 I lost at the Casino, it was a purty nice day.