In every city you'll find me/
Look for trouble right behind me...
- - Makaveli, "Bomb First (My Second Reply)"
Thursday, March 18
7:15 AM - Had to issue one of my rare head-of-the-household vetoes on Mrs. Bootleg. The family plan was to go straight from the airport to the Oakland A's game in Phoenix and the wife wanted to wear an A's shirt on the plane just like Jalen and me. Besides the inherent absurdity of an entire family in team gear, black women need to be especially vigilant. There's a fine line between "supportive mother" and "Allen Iverson's mother".
7:30 AM - Quite possibly the most stress-free pre-vacation departure from Stately Bootleg Manor ever. We left the house on time AND with the peace of mind that comes from realizing anything we might've forgotten to pack could simply be purchased after we reached our destination in Arizona.
7:40 AM - We're one-third of the way to the airport when the possibility that I might've forgotten to bring the Spring Training tickets enters my mind. For those who don't know, I'm the kind of guy who checks the alarm clock throughout the night just to make sure the alarm is set to "ON". While I'm sure I packed the tickets, I'm worried that I didn't check once or twice to make sure the tickets were packed. (Wow. That reasoning sounds a LOT less crazy in my mind.)
7:55 AM - Off the freeway and just a few miles from the airport, I miss the right-hand turn onto Pacific Highway. I've been driving to this airport for nearly 15 years and this is the first time I've missed this turn. Of course, the first thought that crosses my mind: "maybe this is a sign!" On the plus side, I was stress-free for almost 40 minutes.
8:05 AM - Downtown San Diego is a mismatched maze of one-way streets and "No U-Turn" signs. Consequently, I have to drive several blocks in the opposite direction before I can double-back to make the turn I missed. After all this, I discover that my usual offsite "park n' ride" lot is out of business. Have you ever noticed how "part one" of all my travel diaries is filled with the drama and nonsense that occurs before I even board my flight?
8:06 AM - And, for the second time in ten minutes, I'm inadvertently headed towards downtown -- on a street that's all of a sudden become "one-way".
8:15 AM - Like gas stations or ATM machines, it's impossible to find a "park n' ride" shuttle facility when you really need it. We're two miles from the airport, but it takes ten more minutes to find one. Oh, and shout out to Mrs. Bootleg for taking the time to reaffirm why she's the world's worst navigator. No one -- NO ONE -- can tell the driver to make a right turn back at the intersection I just drove through better than Mrs. Bootleg.
9:15 AM - Our plane is boarding and we make our way towards "Row 12, Seats A, B and C"...only to find a little old lady sitting in one of our seats and a flight attendant standing next to her. "You three have been moved to Row 13", the flight attendant said. I take note of the odd timing for this seating assignment shell game before my brain inexplicably starts processing the superstitious implications of "Row 13". Have I ever mentioned that I'm not a good flyer?
9:20 AM - As the plane slowly fills up, the flight attendant turns to us and says, "I have to go, but if anyone tries to sit in your seats could you tell them they've been relocated?" She seems awfully confident that one of the many well-to-do business travelers on this flight is going to take the word of a black guy in baggy Jordan shorts, his midget wife and six-year-old son.
9:25 AM - Who had "frazzled young mother and hyperactive child" in the pool of those whose seats we'd
9:50 AM - We're finally in the air and -- right on cue -- my sinuses explode to the point where I'm convinced they're trying to escape from my skull. My ear canals close, my nose plugs up and my eyeballs are being shoved right out of their sockets. I've found a short film that better articulates my agony.
11:05 AM - If there's a silver lining, at least it was a short flight. By the time we reach baggage claim, my sinuses had returned to their usual level of unpleasantness that passes for "normal" by my infirmed standards. Besides, the number of socks, sandals and fanny-pack bumpkins posing for pictures under the giant "Phoenix Welcomes Wrestlemania XXVI" banners could put a derisive smile on anyone's mug.
Next: A's v. Diamondbacks! Aaron v. his boss! And, the longest car ride of my life!