Sunlight streamed through the window. 7AM and Jonette and I were both nursing mild hangovers, we needed orange juice, bacon, and other breakfast variety food items. I had a 6pm flight out of San Francisco, Jonette was staying in the bay area for a couple more days because of a sales conference. The end was near and so far there was no stirring from the chamber that held the Alice monster and her increasingly miserable and embarrassed husband. We cleaned up, dressed, and headed down to the hotel restaurant to cure our hangovers. We knew we had plenty of time.
Breakfast was nice, hotel food is not great but it is as expected. After breakfast we swam in the pool. Lounged around in the hot tub for a bit and headed out to the gardens. The gardens were nice, lots of roses and the pond had large swans floating about. There was one black swan and Jonette was quite enamored with it. She insisted that I give a shout out to the black swan in this post. “Yo black swan! Howzit?” There it is Jonette, now you do not have to kill me tonight.
We go up to the hotel room at about 10AM, the back room door is open and Alice and Bob are missing. Jonette and I hang out and wait for them to come back. They arrive shortly and we cram back into the Lexus and head back to San Francisco, so I can catch my flight home. I think I slept most of the way back. During the ride home Alice decided that she must show us her home. I mention that I have a flight to catch and was assured that I would be at the airport in time.
We get to Alice’s chamber and a massive change comes over her. She is suddenly friendly and is busy showing Jonette around her kitchen. She dumped a very large photo album in my lap that contained hundreds of snapshots. The pictures were taken by her son or daughter last year when they were in Africa. Picture after picture of African savanna with itty bitty lion colored dots on the horizon. I am told that they were in fact lions, other pictures have elephant colored dots, hippo colored dots, giraffe colored dots etc. The pictures had a strange banded fading. It seems that the metal detectors in Africa damaged the film on the return trip and that if I wanted to keep that from happening to me I needed to purchase a led lined film case. I actually did buy one, dreadfully heavy thing. I never used it but figured I could fashion it into a nice protective cod piece in case of a nuclear apocalypse.
I needed to be at the airport an hour before my flight. This trip was well before 9/11 so security did not come with complimentary molestation and cavity searches. You could fly from St. Paul to Durango CO even if you forgot to remove the dozen bottle rockets from your carry on without a side trip to the ass end of Cuba. Somehow I did not feel unsafe even if young children could bring fireworks into the cabin.
It was getting late; Jonette and I both mentioned that I had a flight to catch. We were either ignored or told, not to worry. I was given more pictures of African wildlife microdots to gaze at. Eventually a car pulls up with some relatives of Alice, some of her children I think. We just had to meet them before I get sent back to Colorado. It is now about 4:45 in the afternoon. I have an hour and 15 minutes to catch my flight. Tick Tick Tick, I am getting less and less interested in social pleasantries with people I will never ever see again. By this time I am resigned to my situation. I will miss my flight. I just want to get to the airport.
I missed my flight by 30 minutes. No apologies from Alice. Luckily there was a flight leaving at 10pm with seats available. Jonette had given me a 10 dollar bill for food, breakfast was the only meal I had that day. And she went off with Alice. I half expected her to write “HELP ME” on the back window of the Lexus with lipstick as the vehicle pulled away. I waited in the concourse, passing the time by watching people come and go. There were thunderstorms in Chicago so my plane was late leaving the windy city. At midnight I boarded the aircraft and strapped myself in for the trip home.
The flight was fine until the plane flew over the Front Range Mountains into Denver. The plane was kicked around pretty hard. I was worried about smacking my head on the cabin wall. A woman sitting in front of me was in deep panic driven prayer as we bounced around for about 15 minutes. The landing was uneventful. I stood at the open door to the jet way and let the cool dry Colorado air wash over me.
I was home. Soon I would be at my house with the cats and in my own bed.
Thus ended my 3 day whirlwind tour of hell lead by a certified minion of the flaming underworld. I want to go back, not to hell but to the Bay Area. I want to spend a day at the aquarium. I want to walk through China Town and experience Napa valley as it should be experienced. I feel so cheated. Jonette never contacted Alice again. Alice sent a few holiday cards in the following years. I am not sure she ever understood why Jonette cut off contact. In defense of Bob, he did everything he could to make our trip a decent experience; he just could not overpower Alice. Every time I tried to have a conversation with Bob Alice would get annoyed and take over the topic of discussion. I spent the entire time in the Lexus quietly looking out the window.
The lesson learned was “always rent a car”. And whatever does not kill you eventually makes a funny story.
Sorry about the lack of pictures in this post. I always try to put pretties in but could not find any for this one L