Where was this weather yesterday? Alexis and I drove home from Marco Island, Florida, over the past couple of days. It rained from the Florida-Georgia border to the 80-94 off ramp for Indianapolis Boulevard.
SWA Flight 278 on Mar 13 from MDW is cancelled...
I tried to call Southwest and was told the wait was 150 minutes. So we stayed on hold and drove to Midway. When we got there, it was chaos. We got in a line for people like us - stranded people - and waited a good hour. There were only two attendants for people like us. By the time we left, the line was five times longer.
At the counter, the woman was nice enough but was obviously stressed and overworked.
"The next time we can get you out is late on Tuesday," she said. It was early Sunday morning. For whatever reason, I didn't throw a fit. That's what traders do - "Don't you know who I am." I'm a lowly radio guy with a bad haircut who wears dingie hoodies. No one's gonna listen to me.
"What's the best you can do?" I calmly asked.
"Well... we might be able to get you out of Indianapolis tomorrow afternoon to Sarasota," she said. Our original flight was Chicago to Fort Myers.
"Okay... we'll take the bait. We'll drive to Indianapolis and go from there. We'll even bite the bullet on the rental car charge. But can you help us change our return flight so it comes back to Indianapolis instead of Midway."
"No. That return flight was not canceled."
"Then our car will be in Indianapolis."
"Oh. There's a shuttle that goes once a day from Midway to Indianapolis, I think. You could take that."
I could feel my inner commodities trader boiling up. But there we were - holding up a line of several dozen. I looked at Alexis. She shrugged her shoulders.
"Looks like we're driving to south Florida?"
We forfeited flights that I bought five months ago for about $139 each way. And Southwest, I imagine, sold them for $343 apiece. That's what they were going for on the website. Don't even add up what Southwest made by cancelling us and selling the Tuesday flights to someone else. They gave us credit for future flights... not a full refund on our credit card.
I understand that once in a while there's wind, which was the problem in southwest Florida. But Southwest Airlines - you suck at making it up to people. I say this as I would provide constructive criticism to an old friend. You started out so young and strong... only to surrender.
We drove to Tifton, Georgia, on Sunday... sunny the whole way. We got home last night around 7 pm after wearing out a brand new set of windshield wipers. On top of that, our windshield is cracked. It's a new car. Thanks a lot, Southwest. I love you and want you to improve how you handle cancellations. But for now you suck and you owe me a new set of wipers. I'll pay for my own windshield.
.... It's 60 degrees out and I'm sitting on a back porch that I just raked, swept and ran the leaf blower over. It could be worse. I could be driving through a driving rainstorm in southern Georgia late at night with bad wipers and a broken windshield. I could have to take a piss like nobody's business in the Appalachians and there's a guy in the one and only men's room at the mountaintop fireworks store/gas station. When he finally steps out, there's a stench that rivals anything Amaizo could put on on the poor people who staff the booths on the Indiana Toll Road.
Charles Bukowski, the drunken poet who bore an uncanny resemblance to several of my uncles, wrote this -
some say we should keep personal remorse from the poem,
... and there is some reason in this,
I agree. I should keep personal remorse out of this... maybe tell you about getting caught in karaoke at The Sand Bar restaurant on St. Paddy's day. Alexis and I ate dinner and then sat for a drink at the bar with a guy named Sonny and a woman from Grand Rapids, Michigan. As we got up to leave, they both reached out -
"You can't leave now. Karaoke starts in 20 minutes. That's why there's so many people here."
I looked around. It was four deep behind us. Alexis and I had the cat bird seats at the corner of the bar. There was even an attentive bartender of Mexican descent. He told us a joke.
"What do you call two Mexicans playing basketball?"
"I don't know," I said. "What do you call two Mexicans playing basketball?"
"Juan on Juan."
If you're experiencing challenges on the stand-up circuit, there's always room for you at The Sand Bar restaurant and bar on Marco Island, Florida. I just wanted to get back to the condo to watch basketball. But Sexy Dave made it fun enough by singing Sinatra, and a woman who resembled an aging Liza Minelli did a passable job on sappy love songs.
I apologize to you and Charles Bukowski for expressing personal remorse, but jezus.... I am mad at my old friend - Southwest Airlines. I was taking them in their infancy to and from California. It was my own little secret. This isn't the only time they've disappointed me. It's a pattern. They've grown up and they're often worse - don't say it - than United Airlines. And by the way... when we left Midway last Sunday and started driving, I forgot that I was on hold with Southwest. Somewhere south of Indianapolis, a woman interrupted Grateful Dead on my dashboard.
"Southwest Airlines. How may I help you?" She was pleasant enough, but she sounded stressed and overworked.