The Long Weekend, Conclusion
Last weekend I had this gig from Hell in Dallas. After putting up with ill-mannered clients and sleep deprivation, it was time to go home.
We arrived at the airport around 1:40 pm for our 3:00 flight. DFW is a huge airport and it took a while to get to our gate. We sat at the gate for about 10 minutes before we informed that we had a gate change. The new gate was only two doors away. We sat at the new gates until 2:30 pm when an announcement came over saying that we would be delayed because of air traffic control. Apparently the visibility at O'Hare Airport was not good and every flight was backed up because of it. The flight would be delayed until 3:45 pm. We all groaned and pulled out reading material. We were all still feeling a bit tense from the stressful weekend and thought it was best to give each other a little personal space.
At 3:30 pm, we were told that the flight was delayed until 4:15 pm. I had to take a stroll. I wanted to see if I could find a Sunday Chicago paper. I went looking for a newspaper/magazine stand. The stand didn't have the Chicago papers so I decided to maybe buy a mag. While I was perusing Jet Magazine my cell phone vibrated (I love the vibrate setting). It was Mark, one of the actors that I was traveling with back to Chicago. He said that I needed to hurry back to the gate because our flight was cancelled and we needed to re-book.
I jetted back to our gate to find an incredibly long line with Bill (our producer) and Katie (another actor) at the head of the line. Bill volunteered to re-book all of us since we were traveling together. Bill managed to get three of us on the 5 pm flight and he was booked on a later flight but listed as stand-by on the 5 pm flight. Great, we get to wait some more.
I decided that now would be a good time to call my best friend Patchy in Brooklyn. Patchy and I usually talk at least once or twice a week but not as often since I have been working on Straight & Nappy. Patchy and I talked about absolutely nothing and absolutely everything at the same time (It is what we do best). I went through the whole Dallas saga; we talked about Project Runway; we discussed his black bottom cups he was baking; we discussed men with combovers; the grammys that aired that night; the oversaturation of Desperate Housewives in the press; and the breaking news of a shooting at a New York mall. An announcement came, the 5 pm flight would now be delayed until 5:20 pm. So we talked so more until Mom called. I told him I had to go. He had plans as well. He had to rush off to a mutual friend's place.
Mom told me that Grandaddy was feeling very ill. He had summoned all of his Peoria area children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to his home. He wanted all of the out of towners to call him immediately. I wasted no time calling Grandaddy. Grandaddy is suffering from pancreatic cancer combined with his many years of diabetes. H was losing the battle. Something in my gut let me know that he was not going to die as soon as expected. I understood that he wanted his suffering to end but he was not quite at the death's door. I made him laugh a bit and then I reminded him that you live until you die. Unless we decide to end our lives, we keep going. My grandfather is not the suicidal sort. He is a brave man but suicide is not his style. He's too scared he may die and go to Hell for that. BTW, he survived and I visited him this past Sunday.
No sooner had I hung up with Grandaddy before my roommate called to find out when I was coming home. It was now 5:30 pm, the time I was supposed to have originally arrived back in Chicago. I told him of the delays and asked me to let the dogs out of their kennel when I arrived home. He was off on a date at a downtown hotel with a long distance paramour. I told him that I would take care of it and if I thought I would be stranded in Dallas I would call his cell phone.
The plane finally boarded around 6 pm. We were told just before we boarded that we would taxi away from the gate but we would still be delayed on the runway. And the airline kept its word. We were stuck inside that box sitting on the runway for another 1 1/2 hours. The good news is that Bill made it onto the flight. The other good news is that despite the fact that I had been moved to a middle seat on this flight, I sat next to a great guy that bought me drinks (don't be jealous MoFos). A couple of vodka on the rocks can make an unpleasant travel experience a little bit better. Turns out this guy was the general manager for Mexican restaurant around Second City and was a big fan of improv and Second City. He was good company until the Royal Crown kicked in and he fell asleep. No worries. I pulled out a crossword puzzle and worked on that until I fell asleep too.
We were approaching Chicago when the captain announced that due to air traffic control we would be circling Chicago for a bit before we could land. DAMMIT! When will this trip be over? At this point, I just wanted to be home. I had been up since 4:30 am. I had slept for maybe five hours since Thursday night. I was wiped.
We finally landed but then we had to find Bill's luggage. The travel gods smiled upon us. His bag was on our flight. We retrieved it and called for the limo to pick us up.
Our spirits were lighter in the limo. We had arrived back safely but it was still a 40-45 minute public transit commute for me from Second City. "Fuck it," I thought, "I'm taking a cab." I phoned Patchy to let him know that I was nearly home. He couldn't believe that I was just getting home. It was now 11:40ish pm. I arrived home, hung up with Patchy, and let the dogs out so they could "do their business."
Now you would think that I would go straight to bed because of the exhaustion but no, I now had insomnia. I stayed up watching the previous night's SNL hosted by Jason Bateman (not a particularly good episode BTW), The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Desperate Housewives. I finally drifted off around 5 am.
It may be a while before I accept another gig in Dallas.