July 13th 4:17pm - Fifteen Hours and Rum

I have a physical disability. It's called airports. Planes depart without me, take vacations that I'm unaware of, and become invisible while I look for them with the persistence of AIDS. Things like bomb threats and the swine flu judo chop my ass to places like Miami when I want to go to San Francisco. Last year, on the first day I was supposed to depart South America for SF, I told the airline attendant to leave me anywhere in California. He looked like a pimp but had more power than the pope. He was the authority on when I could leave Peru. By the third day I was overdue to be home, I begged like a crackhead to be flown anywhere in the United States. The airlines flew me to Miami. Miami might as well be South America. English is barely spoken there.

This time, I procured perfection by actually catching my flight from Los Angeles to Sydney. I got to LAX an hour after the suggested arrival time. I checked in my bags, no issues with my ticket, boarded the plane to Sydney, and the plane ascended as scheduled. It was beautiful. It was flawless. Until I arrived in Sydney. It was four in the morning. The airport was as barren as my sex life would be if I lived with a sasquatch. During the five-hour layover before my connecting flight to Auckland, I slumped into a coma in the waiting area for my next flight. I fell asleep sitting up with my backpack on my lap and my bag tangled in my legs. Hours later, a snore awoke me. It must have come from Bigfoot. I was drowning on the shoulder of a girl I didn't know. My saliva had blocked all my air passages. My legs were spread like a dirty whore. After wiping the Great River of Drool from my mouth, cheek, chin, and neck, I realized the snore had issued from my soft palate. My pillow had been the shoulder of a German girl my age. I smiled at her. As I regained consciousness, I looked at a clock. I had slept for five and a half hours. My flight to Auckland had departed a half hour ago.
I man-grunted to the five twenty-something females who had congregated around me, seized my backpack and bag, and sprinted away. Fifteen minutes later, I returned to the seating area. The only open seat was the one I had vacated like a lunatic.
"So, they lost the plane," I said, resuming my position as deranged American.
"Ya, they don't know where it went," Germany confirmed.
"It was coming from Abu Dhabi. They don't know whether it's in the air or in Abu Dhabi. It could be in Sydney. They don't know," Wales corroborated.
"They give updates. The loudspeaker says they'll give another in twenty minutes," Holland contributed.
Every hour, the loudspeaker broadcast that the plane was still delayed, and they'd make another announcement in twenty minutes. Sixty minutes consistently passed before the next update. Four hours later, I was hoping my ride wasn't still at Auckland's airport waiting for me. The airlines appeased their agitated passengers. They didn't have the plane, but they had food vouchers. The other girls applied their vouchers to food. I bought beer. Almost as filling and twice as good.
After waiting six hours for the plane, the loudspeaker informed us that the plane had been located. It was still in Abu Dhabi. Technical difficulties.
Attendants ushered all the flight's passengers through the airport. We were issued visas, told we'd stay overnight in Sydney - hotel and food paid for - and fly out the next morning, arriving in Auckland in the early afternoon. I should have been jazzed. I wasn't. I had a flight from Auckland to Nadi, Fiji that departed at nine in the morning.
When I informed the airlines that I needed to arrive in Auckland before eight the next morning, they made me a special exception. My flight left in three and a half hours. Germany was with me. She was a special exception too. We were told to return in two hours for check-in.
By this time, my rocket scientist dome recovered function. I had brought a handle of Captain Morgan in my bag from California. I had my luggage. I am generous. I had a handle with forty-two rum shots. Germany had let me harass her shoulder and saturate it with half an ocean of slobber. I decreed her worthy of my philanthropy. We bought cokes with the airline's apology money for losing the plane.
In life, I am as coordinated as a nine-month-old baby walking for the first time. As a youngster, I fell on my head a shitload of times. My mom told me. However, when it comes to alcohol, I am a tactical master.
Within my bag, jackets, sweatpants, a towel, books, and a science experiment blockaded my route to the rum. The science experiment was a gift for the nine-year-old I look after. I navigated the rum bottle's neck out the bottom edge of my bag. We couldn't see the handle, but could access the booze. It was fabulous.
In a handicapped bathroom, Germany and I used an empty cup and apple juice bottle to mix the coke and rum. We then relocated to a cafe to play drinking games with a pack of U.S Army cards. We frequently repeated the bathroom procedure for refills. We were stealth.
Until we realized what time it was. We were supposed to check in a half hour before. I reassured Germany that you never really need that much time. I told her it wouldn't be a problem. And then I stumbled on the carpet. It occurred to me that I was unaware of our consumption volume, as my bag concealed the bottle. We had limited vision access of the spout.
When we rocked up to the counter, the woman issued me a ticket, but said Germany's name wasn't in the system. She had to go across the airport to our original counter to procure a ticket. I Hitler-saluted Germany and promised her that I wouldn't move. I'd wait for her. Ten minutes later, Ticket Woman screamed at me. If I delayed any longer, I'd miss my flight. I had been fixated on standing upright. Apparently I hadn't been listening to her.
I left without Germany. Customs booby-trapped me like I had explosives strapped to my head. They said I didn't have a visa to be in Australia. I couldn't leave if I was there illegally. I replied that I'd been in Sydney for almost fifteen hours because the airlines lost my plane. I hadn't left the airport. It wasn't my fault I didn't have a visa. I name-dropped Fiji. I staggered to my departure gate with rum knitting my side, the last passenger to enter.
When I unpacked my bag at two in the morning, eighty percent of the handle was gone. Germany and I had downed thirty shots.

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