Monday, May 01, 2006


The Becoming

I hate being in my twenties. I'm not close enough to the comfortable thirties where I can be legitimately accepted as an adult in every capacity without me physically having to prove it to you, and indeed, I am not considered far from a keg-standing, baked college sophomore who is more interested in their next beer than the state of the global human rights issues. December, 2008 can arrive at any time and I will greet it with open arms.

That being said, I found myself engulfed in quite the predicament this weekend which required my adult know-how but sadly was cock-blocked by my "Like, oh my god, I was, like, totally hammered at my 8am psych exam" youthful looks.

The game plan was to travel to Galveston, Texas this weekend to join all of the betrothed's cousins for a fun, beachy weekend at the family beach house. Six of us endeavored to leave from Dulles Airport on Friday evening on the same flight -- direct non-stop service to Houston. United Airlines and other conspirators at Dulles Airport, however, felt differently about us being on that flight. For those of you not quite so blessed as to have flown from Dulles, you will take a tram or shuttle from the main concourse to either the C, D or G concourses which are completely isolated islands afloat in the tarmac of the airport. Without these trams, you are beached at the main terminal. We six plus about 15 other Houston-bound passengers (hereafter known as "the herd") were patiently waiting in the main terminal for said G-concourse shuttle to come.

Long story short and with 10 minutes to take off, it was never in the cards for that shuttle to come. Airport blames United, United blames the airport. And in either case, we, the herd, are meant to tram-it to C, run 15 gates to C's shuttle waiting area and catch their bus to G. We arrive to G and swarm towards the ticket counter like a scene from the Amazing Race to find that though our tiny plane is still at the gate, the flight is closed and we will not be permitted to board. This clearly did not go over as well as the desk clerks may have hoped it would. They practically had a riot on their hands. Two older men from our herd began shouting and cursing -- and the clerks were surprisingly unmoved by this. After about 2 minutes of watching our plane stare at us from the gate, we sadly watched it leave. Our beachy weekend was taking off without us.

I was pissed. I had spoken to the United counter shortly before our impromptu marathon and made them aware of our plight. And now these counter clerks are shaking their heads and literally saying, "This is not our problem." Having worked for 3 years in Human Resource customer service, I know this to be bullshit. If you wear a nametag with a company seal on it, it's automatically your problem. I watched as these 3 United counter clerks (clearly with no future in the hostage negotiations field, and hell, no experience in any customer service) refused to even visually acknowledge the herd in front of them -- growing angrier and more unruly by the second. And then it happened. Short of ripping my shirt off and turning green, I had a becoming.

Up until this point I had been thinking that I should involve myself in this mix. Nah, they won't take me seriously, I thought. I look more than half the age of the two dudes there making zero progress with their explicit complaints. And I still say things like "dude". Frequently.

But the more I thought about it, I realized that I had every right to be up there fighting. The charge sure had no problems showing up on my adult credit-card statement. And before I knew it was happening, it happened. I turned into my mother. As if possessed, I sternly walked over to the ticket counter and used Mom phrases like, "This is an OUTRAGE!" and "We demand SATISFACTION!" Four letter words like "dude" and "fuck" were gone. In fact, I'm pretty sure Cathy was gone too -- mentally at the G-concourse bar with the rest of my group. I stared down the gate agent and told her that she needed to provide the group with information -- even if that information was that she had no information, but that it was "completely unacceptable" (<-- mom again) for her to hide behind this desk and not even make eye contact. We were paying customers, and we expected some service. The spirit of mom was clearly not finished: We demanded to speak to a manager -- (teeth clenched, eyes squinted and with all the school-teacher seriousness I could muster) immediately.

Amazingly, the manager appeared. He escorted me to his computer-desky area and while I kept my crusty-evil-glare handy if I needed it suddenly, he had the entirety of my group booked on the last six seats of another airline's flight to Houston that night. (P.S. Delta rules. United drools.)

We made it to Galveston and had a wonderful weekend. United jacked us slightly on the way back, but I found my inner-mom was too weak to combat it. We managed to make it back to the original scene of the crime, Dulles, unscathed -- save for another impromptu sprint through Chicago O'Hare last night.

Maybe this inner-mom is meant to supplement in the needed adult-moments until I can be legitimately accepted as an adult in two and a half years. Or perhaps this is something far more terrifying. As I blossom into a functional adult, the dormant mom-ness is emerging from my adolescent shell. And maybe it isn't all bad. Though the betrothed might disagree, I enjoy my inherited bionic hearing -- the ability to hear strange noises in a dead sleep that must immediately be investigated. I make her Thanksgiving pumpkin rolls better than she does now.

So here's to my mom. I could hear her wide knowing smile over the phone when I called to tell her that I had channeled her earlier.

The betrothed will be delighted to know who he's really marrying.

It's ok Dude...Your mom is pretty funny. And there will only be funny on my watch. Hella Fun.
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