Hungover in WHOSE Heels?

Hungover in WHOSE Heels?  #funny  #travel #flight #Boston #heels

So then…just as I settle in to sip my soda at 20,000 feet — I hear the passenger behind me ask the flight attendant, “What’s the weather like in Boston?”

WHAT THE HELL?

This flight’s going to Washington DC!

She says, “Oh, it’s nice in Boston tonight. A little cool.”

I pop up and tap her on the shoulder. “Um, where did you say this plane was going?”

“Boston,” she replies.

“No, Washington DC,” I say slowly.

“Noooo. Boston,” she says.

We stare at each other.

One of us is wrong.

And it’s possible the one who’s correct about where the airplane is going is the airplane employee.

Ah, dammit!

To be candid, I hadn’t wanted to go on this stupid business trip anyway. I love my New York job but what 24-year-old wants to cut their weekend short to fly to DC for a Monday morning conference?  Not me!

“I thought I was on the plane to DC?” I say hopefully. Maybe the pilot can make a U-turn?

Um no.

“Sorry,” she says. “We’re headed to Boston. But let’s see what we can do.”

Angel that she is, she radios down to the airline supervisor who hooks me up with a free flight to DC first thing tomorrow – and a free hotel room in Boston tonight!

SCORE! I’m thrilled I don’t have to pay for it myself — or miss the conference — or admit my blunder to my boss.

When I unpack my overnight bag in the hotel, I realize I brought my business suit, blouse, stockings – and NO SHOES!

I only have the sneakers I wore on the flight tonight!

I can’t possibly attend a professional business conference in a suit, stockings, and SNEAKERS! And of course they don’t sell high heels in the hotel gift shop! And certainly not in a size 10! (Yes, I have feet the size of surfboards!)

Brainstorm!

“Hello, Kim? Guess which of your favorite cousins just landed in Boston and desperately needs to borrow a pair of your size 10 heels? I’ll buy you massive amounts of cocktails in exchange for borrowing your shoes!”

So my big-hearted (and big-footed) cousin Kim drives over to the hotel and dumps 7 pairs of heels on my hotel bed! We pick a pair, then head to the lobby bar for libations.

We laugh, talk, cackle, eat, drink — and drink some more — and finally stumble back up to the room in the wee hours of the morning.

The next day, my head’s splitting as I slip on her shoes, hug her goodbye, and dash off to the airport for my early morning flight.

An hour later, I land in DC – hungover in borrowed heels.

I suffer through the conference – taking a few notes to share with my boss later.

Then I zip back to NY, so relieved that no one need know about my slight detour.

A week later, I receive a note from the accounting department saying, “Your receipts included an airline ticket stub from NY to Boston – and from DC to NY. Please advise how you got from Boston to DC.”

Ah dammit.

I wonder if I can say, “Hey, dudes, chill. It didn’t cost the company any extra money – and just never you mind how I got from Boston to DC. Just be cool, accountants, be cool.”

Probably not.

I figure I’d better “advise” my boss before I “advise” the accounting department.

I’m mortified, of course. At 24, I want to appear professional, well-prepared, and competent.

I hesitantly confess.

My boss bursts out laughing. “You got on the WRONG plane?”

She hops up and pokes her head out the door to yell: “Did you hear that? Darcy got on the wrong plane! She was supposed to go to DC but she went to BOSTON! Bwahahaha!”

My coworkers pop up from their cubicles to cheer, clap, and laugh.

I hang my head on the Walk of Shame back to my cubicle.

Henceforth, I’m mocked mercilessly whenever I go somewhere:
“Have a great trip to Denver, Darcy – or where ever you end up.”
“Need a map to your apartment?”
“Can I help you find the bathroom?”

And THAT’S how I earned the nickname, “Wrong Way Darcy!”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Ever end up in the wrong place? Take the wrong road – get lost – hop on the wrong plane/train/bus/boat? Any other delicate flowers out there with Sasquatch-size feet?)

Hungover Letter to President

Hungover Letter FROM President

Although I’m mercilessly mocked for my wayward ways, I have the good Southern manners to write a thank you note to the President of Eastern Airlines (as shown here).

I share the story of the free flight and hotel room, then write, “I was delighted with the kindness and concern of your employees. I salute your generosity and understanding. Should I ever wander on to the wrong plane again – I hope it’s one of yours!”

Yep, these are actual excerpts between me and the President of Eastern Airlines over the airplane snafu!

Oh, Don’t Think I WON’T!

Oh, Don't Think I WON'T!
So then…we come barreling down the hall just as the gate agent is about to close the gangway door.

“Wait! Wait! Can we get on this flight?!” I shout.

My co-worker Teresa pleads, “Pleeeeeeeease?”

Our other 2 co-workers, Mike and Matt, are huffing and puffing so much they can’t even speak.

The gate agent looks us over – 4 young corporate kids, all in our late 20’s, with our briefcases and carry-ons hanging off our crumpled suits, as we wheeze and gasp after running through the airport.

Her face wavers between impatience to get the flight on its way – and a tiny bit of pity.

I pounce on that shred of emotion. “Oh please, we BEG of you! We RACED here after the convention, only to find out our flight was delayed cuz of snow and ice — so we booked a different flight back home, ran to THAT gate, only to find out THAT one was delayed too! So they booked us on THIS flight – but it took us FOREVER to run here from the LAST gate!”

Matt clutches his chest and leans against the wall, loosening his tie. (Not sure if he’s doing this for dramatic effect or if he’s really in distress, but it works!)

The gate agent says, “OK, OK, give me your boarding passes and get on the plane quickly.”

We hoot and holler and wave our boarding passes in the air. We scramble quickly down the gangway onto the airplane. A few people are still in the aisle, storing their bags and finding their seats.

“Thank God we made it!” says Teresa.

Mike and Matt high five each other. We’re all beaming.

Matt says, “We’re so lucky we didn’t get stranded at the airport.”

“Yeah,” I say. “But I really hope they serve dinner on this flight. Cuz it’s 5 hours long and we didn’t have time to buy anything in the airport.”

Mike looks stricken. “Dammit. None of us has food?”

We all shake our heads forlornly. We haven’t eaten since the lunch of sandwiches at the convention hall — and now it’s late night.

Teresa says, “Oh, I’m sure they’re gonna serve dinner on this flight!”

She smiles optimistically. I frown skeptically.

We find our seats, stow our bags, and buckle in.

Teresa’s next to me. The guys are in the row behind us.

Later, the flight attendant comes down the aisle, dispensing drinks and dropping a little bag of pretzels on each tray table.

“Will you be serving dinner soon?” I ask.

The attendant says, “There’s no dinner.”

Teresa nearly spits out her Coke. Matt and Mike behind us say loudly, “WHAT?”

“We have pretzels,” she says. “We had peanuts earlier today, but we’re all out now.”

“Omigod, seriously?” I ask. “THIS is it? This is ALL the food?”

“Yes.”

Teresa fumbles with the cards in the seat pocket and asks, “Can we BUY food? Do you have a snack menu or something? We’ll pay! We have MONEY!”

The attendant shakes her head.

Matt calls out, “Is she saying there’s no food?”

I answer loudly, “There are pretzels!” I turn back to the attendant and ask, “Could we please have extra pretzels? We’re starving!

“No, I’m sorry,” she says. “We’re running low. What with the flight delays and cancellations, the airport’s been a mess today — we weren’t able to restock before we left.” She moves on to the rows behind us, distributing the meager fare.

I stand up, lean over my seat back, and hold the packet in front of Matt and Mike.

“Did you guys hear that? THIS is it! THIS is our ENTIRE nutrition on this FIVE HOUR flight!!”

They start laughing and Teresa joins in.

“It’s NOT funny!” I say loudly, still waving my packet around. “I.am.starving! I could eat a horse! And all they give us is this puny packet of pretzels!? I tell you what! You better hope we don’t go down over the Andes, because I will not HESITATE to eat you sorry mofos!”

I plop down into my seat, in a huff, famished and frustrated.

Just then a hand quietly reaches over the aisle and slides a packet of pretzels onto my tray.

My head snaps to the left to see who the donor is – it’s a businessman, with an expression of trepidation.

I say, “Are you sure?”

He nods vigorously.

I nod respectfully, with hooded eyes, and whisper, “Thanks, bro. If we go down, I’ll remember this.”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Ever been so hungry on a flight that cannibalism was an actual consideration? How do you feel about so many airlines abandoning the free meals of yesteryear, but offering snacks and meals for MORE MONEY? Any funny flight delay/cancellation stories? Do tell!)
Oh, Don't Think I WON'T! P

The Pilot I Almost EJECTED!

What NOT to Ask a Pilot - hilarious true tale of what the pilot told me 20,000 feet in the air #funny #airplane #travel #vacation #humor

So then…I enter the airplane with trepidation. I quickly glance at my preferred seating section by the emergency exit, but all those seats are taken!

My heart speeds up a bit. Anxiety looms.

Typically, I’m a nonchalant traveler, calmly criss-crossing the country. To me, turbulence is not terrifying – just annoying – especially if it spills my wine or makes my book too jumpy to read.

But a recent flight has shaken my confidence in the air travel industry as a whole – and, in fact, in the very concept of human flight. (That flight made me skittish as a cat on a hot tin roof — on meth.)

I sidestep passengers shoving their bags in the bins.

I trudge down the aisle, desperately seeking a seat near an exit, when suddenly I see him – A PILOT!

Sweet mother of Jesus! Sitting here in the passenger seats — a Southwest Airlines pilot in full uniform with distinguished white hair and a solid, reliable face.

I am so excited! This airline lets you sit wherever there’s an empty seat – and who better to sit next to on a plane than an EXPERIENCED PILOT? He can help me in an emergency – hell, he can even fly the plane!

I scramble over to him quickly. “Do you mind if I sit here?”

“Of course,” he says in a rich baritone voice, exuding confidence and reassurance. I am in love with him. He is 25 years older than me and possibly ill-suited to my temperament, but I don’t care, because if there is trouble, he will save my life and for that, I most surely owe him my undying devotion. (Key word: undying.)

After I settle in, I turn to him and say, “I hope you don’t mind my confiding that I’m a nervous flyer these days — and I feel safer sitting next to you, since you’re a pilot.”

(I want him to pat my hand, proclaim, “Don’t worry, my child, you are safe with me,” then stare straight ahead on high alert, prepared to handle the slightest jiggle or jump of the aircraft.)

But instead, he smiles and says, “Well, the key to being a good pilot is to have as many landings as you have take-offs.”

Huh?

“And in my 32 years of flying, I have to admit I did have one more take-off than landing.”

Huh?

“Back in ‘Nam, our chopper was taking heavy artillery ground fire, and we knew it was going down, so my co-pilot and I ejected, deployed our parachutes, and smashed down in a field – with only three broken bones between us.”

He smiles, self-satisfied, and waits for my congratulatory oohs and aahs.

But in my head, I’m thinking: Dude, we are on an airplane right now. We do not have parachutes! We are lucky if we get a pack of peanuts. We don’t even get pillows or thin scratchy blankets, with which to FASHION a parachute! Why the hell are you telling me this story?

But instead I say, “Oh, well, heh heh, I guess we’re lucky we won’t be encountering any heavy artillery on our way to LA.”

To which he replies, “Oh, there’s lots more stuff that can take a plane down other than artillery. One time, we were flying to Seattle, and suddenly the engine….”

I stare wide-eyed as he tells me a story of a near-miss in Seattle. Then he proceeds to tell me about every other mid-air mishap and dangerous take-off or landing he’s had – or heard about – in his entire 32-year career!

I keep trying to steer him away from this topic, but clearly he relishes these spine-tingling gems about missed maintenance checks, co-pilot error, disastrous weather impacts, flight crew hangovers, small cockpit fires, and the damage a 4-lb. bird can do to the engine of a 200,000-lb. plane!

It would be difficult enough to hear these stories if I were safely on the ground, in a bar somewhere, allowing the alcohol to dull the edges of these dreadful terrors.

But I’m hearing about all these airplane malfunctions and near-crashes while sitting ON an airplane, hurtling through space at 600 miles per hour!

As he speaks, I’m turning paler by the minute, trying desperately to change the subject – but also trying hard not to offend — since he is, after all, my appointed rescuer.

So I just keep consoling myself by repeating over and over in my head: But he’s alive — so he obviously survived all these calamities! And I will too!

In an effort to conclude the catalogue of horrors, I say brightly, “Well, those are amazing stories. But you survived them all! You lived to tell the tale!”

To which he replies, “Oh, but some pilots are not near so lucky. In fact, one time in ‘Nam, we had four choppers on the way to Da Nang…”

At this point, I want to stick hot pokers in my ears just to stop the flow of ghastly stories.

I am ready to jump off the plane myself right now just to escape HIM.

I can’t believe that I sought the sage counsel of a distinguished airline pilot about safe flying — only to be regaled with tale after tale of aviation catastrophes!

I clench every muscle in my body and sit, taut and terrified, for the remainder of the flight — desperately wishing for an EJECT button for my seat-mate!

— Darcy Perdu

Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Mary Chowdhury

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(Ever turn to someone for support and guidance – only to be freaked out even MORE?  Like a doctor who confirms your WebMD fears?  Tell your travel terror tales – or anti-reassurer stories below!)

I’m a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — ON METH

Meth Cat Sketch
So then… the plane shudders and moans – and my stomach flops and churns.

I’m usually a pretty calm traveler –

but the plane makes a SUDDEN and SHOCKING DROP!

The passengers emit a collective gasp!

It’s the Tower of Terror times a million. And what’s worse is that the cockpit is strangely silent. No intercom announcements like “whoops, sorry about that folks — just spilled my latte in my lap, we’re back on course now.”

And no “Oh, so THAT’S what that button does.” Nothing. We fly in spooky silence.

And NOW, we can’t seem to land. Something about the excessive heat and winds in Nevada today make the plane SHAKE violently – along with a horrifying, THUNDEROUS noise.

So the pilot brings the plane back up.

He circles and tries to land again, but the same thing happens – deafening noise and visible signs that the plane is literally SHAKING like it’s about to SHATTER.

A third attempt fails.

By now, even the most stoic macho world-weary world travelers are sitting up, half leaning, craning to look out the window, asking “what’s happening?!” and “what the hell?!”

THE PLANE FEELS LIKE IT IS GOING TO SHAKE COMPLETELY APART!

People are literally shouting expletives — and some are practically hyperventilating.

I am numb with terror.

If people around me remain calm, I can hold it together. But when they start to freak out, I turn into a puddle of panic.

I silently grip the arm rests, eyes wide, heart hammering.

On the fourth attempt — plane shaking, skittering, dipping, pounding – and emitting an ear-piercing noise – we land!

And something amazing happens.

As soon as we’re grounded, everyone experiences a collective amnesia of the past 30 minutes.

It’s like it never happened.

People grab belongings out of the overhead bins, check cell phones for messages, stuff books into purses.

Their faces indicate that they’re already thinking about which rental car counter they need to visit, scheduling their son’s orthodontist appointment, paying the property taxes by Friday, and…life goes on.

I want to shout:

“OH MY GOD, CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED? WE ARE SO LUCKY TO BE ALIIIIIVE!”

But they’re just chatting on phones, filing out of the plane with all their briefcases, purses, and overnight bags in tow.

It’s like the selective amnesia you have after 12 hours of brutal child labor that makes you think, “Ah, that wasn’t so bad. Let’s get pregnant again!”

But after those four terrifying landing attempts, I do not forget.

No, I hold that fear like a cold dark claw in my chest, ready to rip my heart out at the slightest provocation – a flight…..a mention of a flight…..a paper airplane.

Once a laidback traveler, I am now like a cat on a hot tin roof – on meth.

A Meth Cat.

Take a high-strung cat.

And a strung-out meth-head.

Combine.

That is me.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any travel tales of terror? Share your survival stories in the Comments below. But ONLY survival tales please. If you are dead, do NOT write about the travel disaster that got you there. That will totally mess with my Meth Cat Mind right now, and I’m NOT havin’ it.)
Meth Cat Sketch P