I love it when my mamma tells stories. How she hitchhiked from Baltimore to Portland, how she got kicked out of the hippie commune for buying peanut M&Ms, and my favorite, how she used to hang out with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead (and how he used to roll the tiniest joints mamma had ever seen). Growing up, all I could ever hope for is that I would grow up and have half as many exciting and awesome stories as my mamma does. This weekend will go down as one of my epic tales.
Saturday afternoon, day before my birthday. All packed up, tying up the loose ends before I head to SFO for my flight back home to PDX for the holidays. Laundry? Check. Dishes? Done. Flight leaves at 7:45pm, so all I had to do is kick back, chill, and wait until I head out to the bart.
Cell phone rings, it’s an unknown 800 number. Now in my experience, the only time I get calls from an unknown 800 number, it’s a creditor. And in my mind? If I don’t talk to them, then I don’t actually owe them money. This is why I have terrible credit.
Check the message and its Alaska Airlines. “Due to weather conditions, your flight may be delayed or cancelled. For more information, please call our hotline an hour before your flight’s departure.” Ok Alaska Airlines, but don’t you tell us to be at the airport an hour before our flight? You want me to call you from the airport? Great time management there champ.
I knew the Great Ice Rape ’08” hit p-town, but really? Could it be that bad? For Christ sakes, they cancel school for slush. Anyways, it’s Alaska Airlines! They can fly in the snow. Not like its Southwest or something. I did not have my scared face on … until I checked the website and saw that my flight was cancelled. This of course starts the Tilly boo hoo festival. Don’t you even tell me that I will not be home on my birthday. That shit is not cool with me
Alaska Airlines number is busy, so I call mamma and ask her to keep trying to get through. In the meantime, I call Priceline, cause if there is one man who can save the day, its William Shatner. So here’s my logic on the situation. Priceline? I gave you $350 for my trip. You guys picked Alaska Airlines, not me. So since Alaska Airlines are too pussy to fly in the snow, it’s up to yall to find me an airline with some balls. This is not how things work. Alaska (the airline, not the state) tells mamma that my only option is to book a confirmed flight for Monday, or wait at SFO with my fingers crossed that I can catch a flight on standby.
And in my strongest bratty, spoiled rotten girl voice … “But mamma! That means I wont be home for my birthday! BAAWWWWWW”. And I’m not talking cute crying; at this point I am straight up, ugly snotty sobbing in tears. Totally not one of my best moments.
I get a hold of a Priceline agent and I’m all “BAW! I wanna go home!” and she’s like “Aww poor baby!” and I go “BAW! Help me!” and she says “You poor lamb, I’m gonna talk to Alaska Airlines for you.” Unfortunately, she comes up with the same response. Standby … The tears do not stop until I talk to Jake, who has some strange power to cheer me up no matter what. It’s awesome. Remind me not to abuse this power.
But you know what I say to standby? Booze is what I say. So off to Whole Foods I go, to get some girly cherry champagne and chocolate. The cashier lady asks, “How is your night?” and I go for sympathy card by saying “My flight back home to Portland got cancelled and now I’m gonna spend my birthday tomorrow all alone, boo hoo” joining my pity party is the guy behind me in line. “Your flight got cancelled to? Same here! That’s why we are getting drunk!” Great minds think a like. Us Portland kids are a classy bunch. So I go home, crack open the bottle and spend the rest of the evening feeling sorry for myself. And yes, I would appreciate the world’s smallest violin right now.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TILLY! I wake up in a funk. I can either spend my birthday, alone, feeling sorry for myself. Or I can shake off the blues, head out to SFO and take care of business. I choose the latter.
I arrive, and the line for Alaska Airlines is literally across the damn terminal. Apparently they have screwed over everyone’s holiday, not just mine. I find my smile, and take my place in line. I guess the upside to a personal disaster is bonding with others that are experiencing the same shit. Everyone else in line was feeling the same pain, and since making friends is Tilly’s best feature, needless to say I had some buddies. One of which was a very sweet Australian girl on her way to visit her “mate” in Seattle (she was also a big mess of boo hoo). So obviously we become friends. 2 hours in line, filled of rumors and second hand flight information. From what we gathered, we wouldn’t make it to the NW until Thursday, Christmas day. By time we make it to the turn around of the line, we had already cried away any makeup we put on that morning, and decided fuck it, we were gonna split a rental car. 12-hour road trip with a stranger from Australia? Hell yea.
At last, I make it to the ticket counter. Since I know I attract more flies with honey, I approach with my most charming smile.
“How are you doing today?” says the small Mexican woman at the desk.
“Don’t ask me, cause I will tell you”
“Alright then, can I get your ID please?”
“Sure, but please pay attention to the birthday listed … its today”
“Well birthday girl, looks like your flight is scheduled for tomorrow”
“Yep, you fly out tomorrow at 7:30pm. SFO to SEA, SEA to PDX; landing home at midnight.”
I am in shock. I did not confirm any flights for Monday, nor did I have any idea that I was even gonna make is back home in time for Christmas. Needless to say, I was over the moon. The only conclusion I came to is that William Shatner himself knew how much of a crush I had on him, and with the powers of Shat, blessed me with a birthday miracle. So after telling the ticket agent that I had a crush on her, I found my Australian travel buddy and checked in to see if she had a similar experience. Sadly, no. She is “stuck” in San Francisco until the next open flight on Friday. We share a pitcher at the airport bar, she sobs on my shoulder, and I make sure that she finds her way to her hotel.
With a new found feeling of happiness, I get back on the bart, and make it home in time to watch my panthers play the Giants, while texts and tweets come into my G1 describing the icy carnage falling down back home.
I don’t know what I will do if my flight is cancelled tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I make it home for the holidays. But you only turn 22 for the 5th time once, and this time will definitely be the most memorable