We lost my friend's aunt.
My flight to New Zealand departed at 4:35pm.
10am: I arrived in San Francisco with bags, plans to see five friends, and no transportation. Selling my car almost a year ago has been as heinous as not having access to deodorant. I sweat more than a three-hundred-and-fifty-pound male alcoholic.
1pm: My friend Nickle drove me to San Fran's downtown Westfield shopping center to converge with our friend Citi.
1:30pm: After dying and forgotten cell phone afflictions, we located our friend. She was hysterically looking for her aunt. The three of us backtracked to every store Citi was at with her phone-less aunt. We never found the aunt.
2:30pm: Nickle and I realized that we needed to abandon Citi to get to the airport on time. Citi deserted the aunt-chase to accompany us to the car.
2:40pm: A comatose frog would have had a better idea where we parked. Neither Nickle nor I recalled the floor, section, or color we parked in.
2:42pm: This had happened to me before. I regaled my friends with multiple recollections of a golf cart driving me around the structure to find my misplaced car. Enough drivers lose cars to justify a full-time golf-cart-car-locator employee.
2:53pm: The golf cart materialized and we signaled the driver SOS. When he didn't instantly freeze upon seeing us, I considered flashing him.
2:54pm: Nickle accompanied Savior while Citi and I stalked the car on foot. We ran from floor to floor, sumo-wrestler-sweating with perturbed legs. Citi and I passed the golf cart on five floors, looping identical paths.
3:10pm: Nickle called me. The car was on the fourth floor.
After a cheetah-speed good-bye to Citi, Nickle and I bombed into the car. She drove like a caffeine fiend madwoman to the airport.
3:36pm: At the international terminal, I ejected myself from the car and into the building. My booking confirmation told me I was flying Qantas Airways to LA, and then to Auckland. Qantas Airways was not listed as an airline.
3:39pm: I found the Qantas Airways check-in desks. Every desk was closed.
3:42pm: I asked the Information Desk man why Qantas Airways was closed when I needed them.
3:45pm: Info Man informed me I was actually flying United Airlines to LA, then Qantas from LA to Auckland.
"Reservations read wrong all the time," he told me. "You need to walk to the opposite side of the airport and catch the United flight in domestics, not international."
3:46pm: I elevated my backpack on my left arm, my four-foot-long black body bag on my right, my backpacker's bag on my back, and commenced the trek.
3:49pm: I coprolalia-cursed my laptop-laden backpack and shoulder-strapless body bag.
3:51pm: Sweat spiraled down my temples.
3:52pm: My arms cried.
3:53pm: My legs cried.
3:54pm: I cried.
3:59pm: I reached the domestic terminal and United Airlines check-in counter.
4:01pm: Electronic self-check reported an error. Check-In Counter Woman looked at my still-perspiring, befuddled mess of self and imparted with her eyes that she thought I was retarded.
Counter Woman: (sighed): "The system isn't letting you check in because you don't have a ticket. Where's your ticket?"
Me: "What? I'm at the check-in counter to get my ticket. Here's my reservation" (brandished my reservation page in her face like a cocky bastard with a flag).
Counter Woman: "You have been issued a ticket. It has to be somewhere. You do not have an electronic ticket. I cannot let you on the plane unless you have your ticket."
Me: (Recollected a hung-over morning conversation with the booking agent where he said they were sending my ticket in the mail. Twenty dollars for one-day delivery and insurance. I responded with, "Fuck no, I'm not paying twenty dollars! I don't leave for three weeks. I'm sure the ticket can get here by then." In my brain-damaged state, it didn't occur to me to question the electronic ticket. Or check the mail in subsequent days.)
"Well, I never received a ticket. Can't you just print one out for me? My flight's in a half hour."
Counter Woman: "You have to call whoever you booked through. It's not United Airline's responsibility."
4:06pm: I sat directly in front of the counter on my bags. I didn't have internet capabilities on my archaic phone. I called my brother. Four times. My eyes were crotch-level for the perpetual line checking in.
4:09pm: I phoned STA Travel and explained the situation in bewildered verbal diarrhea gibberish. They put me on hold.
4:35pm: My flight departed. I still sat, leaning against the check-in counter.
4:39pm: STA electronically issued a ticket and booked me on a direct flight with Air New Zealand to Auckland. Instead of arriving at 9:10am, the flight was slated to land at 3:50am. My phone died. I had no way of contacting my ride to let them know.