Travel log…Sunday 2:55 p.m. – Picked up to go to the airport by Publisher/Boss (PB) for trip to Chattanooga, where important meeting is scheduled for 9:30 Monday morning. Begin to feel overdressed in my khakis and golf shirt when I see PB is pretty casual in jeans and light-blue T-shirt that says “Don’s Surf Shack.”
3:20 p.m. – Check in at airport and told to place luggage on the outer rim of huge pile of bags. Stressed luggage handler says to just leave our bags and she will take care of them.
3:35 p.m. – Take place at back of long “Space Mountain” looking line at security checkpoint. Commanded what to do by airport official. Finally get to the front and remove shoes and laptop and phone and keys and belt and gum and mints and wristwatch, and place everything in busboy looking tubs. Glad I remembered socks without hole this time. Told to throw away any lighters and liquid products. Pass through detector, which goes off. Friendly attendant waves me forward.
4:50 p.m. – In the air and trying to give the stewardess courteous attention as she tells us how to buckle our seat belts and not to smoke. Begin looking at Sky Mall catalog and choose complimentary OJ for beverage.
5:30 p.m. – Walking through busy Memphis airport towards Blue Note Restaurant and Bar. Hear announcement over loudspeaker telling everyone the risk level is Orange and to report any unattended luggage that is acting suspiciously. Get good table in front of wall covered in sports-filled TVs. Order cheeseburgers and beverages and begin our 3 hour layover.
8:10 p.m. – Find seat in Delta’s version of first class known as the Bulkhead. Try to cram laptop under seat as lawyer behind me loudly repeats – “that’s my feet!” The sky grows darker as we takeoff for Chattanooga.
10:55 p.m. EST – Get keys to rental SUV and move towards luggage pickup. Watch unfamiliar bags slowly circle in front of us and disappear. Begin to realize the hopelessness of the situation. Attendant comes over and in so many words tells us to let go of foolish dream of getting luggage. Told to move to ticket counter and he will wake someone to come help us.
11:05 p.m. – Tired Northwest attendant takes our information and gives us a claim ticket. He pushes lots of buttons on his computer and looks concerned. I begin to imagine he will somehow miraculously produce our bags from under his counter. Instead he finally says, “Well your bags aren’t here.” I ask him where they are. He says they are somewhere but not here. I bite my lip. The tired attendant says Delta will reimburse us up to $50.00 on anything we need to buy. PB asks him where he can buy a suit for $50.00.
11:20 p.m. – I drive towards hotel as PB calls his wife. She gets online and gives us the locations of two Wal-Marts. I feel better, knowing $50.00 will go a long way at Wal-Mart. We decide to put our shopping off until morning however and pull up to the front of hotel. We look for sympathy from desk clerk as we check in. She takes pity and gives us each a toothbrush, some deodorant and a razor. PB asks for toothpaste and she says someone from housekeeping will bring it up.
11: 45 – Say goodnight to PB and use credit card shaped key to get into room. Wait about 30 minutes until it begins to dawn on me that the person from housekeeping is never coming with my toothpaste.
Midnight till 7 a.m. – Weird dreams – one I am in the Orange Bowl in a huddle on the field. The whole team is wearing Hawaiian shirts and smoking cigarettes.
More to come.