Getting to Buffalo in the winter (read: October through May) always presents a special challenge, including but not limited to such previously experienced setbacks as:
- Sleeping on airport floors.
- Sitting on the jetway for multiple rounds of de-icer.
- Deplaning multiple times. To fly, or not to fly? That is the question.
- Circling Buffalo International Airport for hours, hovering above hurricane-force winds. Look kids, there’s the Big Ben tower!
- Being forced to land in Rochester and taking a bus up north.
- Landing in a blizzard after the airport loses power. Um, are those seriously torches?
But last week’s outbound journey wins the Greatest Antarctic Adventure Ever award.
I’m going to skip all of the horrible details about getting on and off the plane 3 times on account of a supposed dead battery charger (not sure if the pilot was referring to the plane or his iPod, but either way he couldn’t get the part in time and we had to wait for a new plane) and get right to the good stuff.
See, no one ever talks to me in airports or on planes or in lines or in any public settings, like, ever. It’s like I’m wearing headphones. But not. So imagine my surprise when, as I sat on the airport floor awaiting the third round of boarding at DIA, a young man sat across from me and started a conversation! With me! La la la!
- Young Man: Do you have a connection in DC?
- Me: Yes, Buffalo. You?
- YM: Belgium. But that’s only the beginning of the journey. The rest of it, well… you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
- Me: I probably would. You should totally tell me.
- YM: It’s a special kind of journey. You can’t get there by plane or even by walking.
- Me: *blink*
- YM: Look. *procures multiple glossy brochures*
- Me: *freaks out a little on inside; yet… strangely intrigued*
- YM: See all these castles? Well, you can’t get in through the doors or windows. You can only get in through a special door in the spirit world. That’s where I’m going.
- Me: *wonders if this is veiled cry for help; looks around for sharp objects*
- YM: Hey, do you want to go to the spirit world with me? We can go right now. Right here in the airport. You and me. *smiles*
- Me: Nah, I’m cool.
- YM: All you have to do is look at this picture and chant with me. *strokes card featuring couple on horse; chants*
- Me: *blink*
- YM: Isn’t the material world frustrating?
- Me: Not really. It could be worse.
- YM: *clearly flustered* Look. Do you want to know about the two most important men in my life? They live in the spirit world. Would you like to hear what they have to say?
- Me: No.
- YM: Okay. I’m sorry I talked to you.
Ohmygod, whatever, Spirit Boy! First person in the history of travel to ever talk to me unprovoked and this is what I get? I’m like Lou Diamond Phillips in Young Guns when all his friends are on some crazy freaking peyote trip. “We’re in the spirit world, asshole. They can’t see us!”
Besides, it’s not that I didn’t want to go to the spirit world—because I kind of did—it’s just that I needed a little more information. Never take a ride with strangers and all that, you know? The brochures. The chanting. The zoned out monotone spell-casting. It was all just a bit creepy as far as recruiting strategies go. And I was about to point out exactly that, offering an alternative marketing plan via a multimedia presentation with cascading bullet points and pie charts, when I noticed a blond woman in black leather (The perfect travel outfit. Hot!) waving at me from across the gate area. I smiled a polite-but-disinterested smile and looked away, grateful for the distraction from Spirit Boy, who was now happily chanting at his horse-people card.
Leather Woman immediately grabbed up her bag and crossed the gate to meet me. Great. Another one! When she arrived exactly in my personal space, I noticed the teetering, and the fumes (speaking of the spirit world). She put her arm around me as if we were old chums which, according to her, we were.
- Leather Woman: Ohmygod, I totally remember you!
- Me: You do?
- LW:: Yes!
- Me: From where?
- LW: Ohmygod! From the bar! *points down terminal; nearly topples*
- Me: I wasn’t at the bar.
- LW: Yes you were. And I remember you. Because I could never forget someone like you. Therefore, I remember you! *ponders the mystery of it all*
- Me: I promise I wasn’t there.
- LW: *looks momentarily disappointed* Oh, okay. Well, you should have been! That’s where we all were! *gestures wildly at other awaiting passengers; almost topples again*
- Me: Cool.
- LW: I know… you should totally go to the bar right now!
- Me: Nah, I’m okay.
- LW: Fine. Well, either way. I will never forget you!
- Me: Awesome. Good luck getting on the plane.
At this point I’m like, please can we get on this fucking plane please please please? And guess what? We did! And after only a 4-hour delay and a near-death experience on the DC to Buffalo prop plane that was doing a little seesaw action on the landing, I arrived in Buffalo just after the airport re-opened from an earlier ice storm. My little brother was there to greet me.
The drummer, Scott? He’s my little brother. When we got to the bar, because what else do you do in a blizzard, he handed me a drink.
- Me: Thanks.
- Rock star baby brother: Don’t be like our other sister, Steve.* Keep up, okay?
- Me: *downs drink in single sip, Buffalo-style; cuts hair into attractive lady-mullet*
- RSBB: Sweet.
I’ve been in the spirit world ever since. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so judgmental.
*Steve is actually our brother. But last month, after spending the night hugged up around the toilet in my little brother’s apartment after only 2 nights as a groupie, and then going home to mommy’s house to “sleep it off,” he become known as our other sister.