How to Return from Seattle, the Stupid Way

I was out in Seattle visiting my buddy Isaac for a few days and I drank way too much, but that is not surprising. What is surprising is the amount of stupid shit that happens to me all the time. So Isaac dropped me off at the airport and having already printed my boarding pass, I headed straight for security. After about 20 minutes in line, I got to the front, only to discover that my wallet, with my ID, was not in my pocket. Frantically searching, I explain to the TSA guy that “it was here a minute ago”. He looks at me suspiciously. I accuse the people behind me in line of taking it (I may or may not have been slightly drunk from the night before). He looks at me more suspiciously. I accuse him of taking it. He is not amused. I then get yanked out of line and taken to a small room with a low ceiling fan where a French guy demands to “see my papers”. Okay, I made that part up, but I did get taken to a room where three TSA guys started quizzing me on why I don’t have an ID. Surely I am not the first person to ever lose a wallet at the airport, am I? Perhaps not, but this is apparently dangerous, deviant behaviour and I should be treated as such. They began with a pat-down. After my first boner comment, I graduated to strip search (Once again, running my mouth gets me naked and no sex). It wasn’t a full-on body cavity search; they just made me pull down my pants and bend over while some dude took a peek up my works. However, the joke was on them – I hadn’t showered in two days. After I came out clean (so to speak), I had to answer a barrage of questions regarding my relatives, residences, education, etc. I thought about telling them my real name was ‘Tater Salad’, but thought better of it. Somehow I managed to recall the addresses of the past four apartments that I have lived in, my mother’s foot size, and my third grade teacher’s name, so they let me through, after I signed a paper indicating that they can do a full search of my luggage. Whatever. As soon as I get past security, I look for a burrito joint or something; I am hungry and hungover and dehydrated and now violated; I need something in my belly. Then I remember that I don’t have any money because I lost my wallet. Shit.

I have a layover in Phoenix. The ride there started off fine – I got an exit seat which is accomodating to long legs, so when I sat down, I was quite comfortable. Then, the biggest dude I have ever seen in my life sits down next to me. I don’t mean fat; I mean this guy was either an NFL player or perhaps the Colossus of Rhodes. His huge shoulders mashed me aside and into the corner. Not a big deal – I can zone out. I’ve got my laptop, my iPhone and my Palm Pre, all loaded with awesome movies. I can do a few hours. So I startup the laptop and notice that the battery has only about 10% left in it. With dawning horror, I realized that I forgot to charge all three. They will get me to Phoenix, but not DC.

After my devices died, I had nothing better to do but root through my briefcase. You know what I find? No, not my wallet. My checkbook! At least now I can get some food when we land. However, when we get there, I ask the first cashier if they accept checks. She looks at me like I asked her if I could take a shit on her counter. Same with the next cashier. The third one makes me repeat ‘check’ four times before asking what that is. Really? At this point, because we were out boozing the night before, I really haven’t eaten anything since yesterday’s lunch, so I am going on like 24 hours with no food. Fuck it – I can suck it up until we get home.

I had an exit seat on the flight to DC, too, but I was by the window and it was one of those stupid doors with the slide, so it was sticking out and into my knees. I had no electronics to keep me company and no wallet so I couldn’t buy any magazines, so I figured I would just stretch out and try to sleep the whole way home. No such luck. Right before takeoff, the stragglers come in, and sure enough, the last person in has a seat next to me, and she is a fatty boom-bah. She settles in by shoving my arm off the arm rest and making this side-to-side motion like she is literally trying to screw herself into the seat. I cannot get comfortable to sleep, so I decide to check out SkyMall magazine. For four hours straight.

I am no longer feeling hungry by the time I get to DC, but I am starting to feel really tired. Then, I am presented with another problem – how the fuck am I going to get home? My metro card was in my wallet. I decide to go to the station manager and see if I can purchase a fare card with a check. She looks at me for a second and tells me that “they only accept money”. No money = no metro. Both phones dead = no friends to call. You know what that means? Time to panhandle! I go up to the first two guys and explain my situation and ask if I can borrow $2.00 to get on the train to get back to Alexandria. They get smart and say, “Borrow? You mean you’re actually gonna pay me back?” and I reply, “Yes, you stupid mother fucker – give me your email address and I will PayPal you tomorrow.” The did not give me any money. The next lady simply ignored me so I called her a bitch, but only in my head because she was scary looking, and the third dude that I attempted to borrow money from then told me that he had no money either, and asked if I could spare some for him. I decided to head back into the airport. Desparately looking around, I see that the only place still open is Dunkin Donuts (it is almost midnight) and I asked the young lady if I can buy a donut with a check and write it for $2.00 over and get cash back. She seems confused so I explain my situation to her and do you know what she does? Bless her heart, she reaches into her purse and hands me $3.00 and tells me it’s no problem, that I can have it. She brightened my whole day. I thanked her profusely and left to jump on the last train before they shut the station down.

I got off on King Street, and since I have no loot, I am not taking a cab, so I decide to hoof it. My apartment is only about a mile from the station, but I am tired. And hungry again. And I have two big, dumb bags on my shoulders. And I’m wearing shorts. And the temperature has dropped to the 40’s. And it’s raining. Am I being punished for something? So I take off and start my long, slow crawl back to my apartment. I really am starting to feel faint from the hunger – this causes me to trip like three times and drop my bags everywhere. Or perhaps it was my big feet and lack of coordination. Either way, I finally made it home and immediately ate a bunch of White Castle burgers, fed my frogs, and went to sleep. I made a mental note to never go anywhere or talk to anyone, ever again.

Epilogue: I felt better the next day, and the first thing that I did was take a $20, put it in an envelope and mailed it to the Dunkin Dounts at Reagan National Airport, addressed to the nice, young lady who was working on Tuesday night at 11:30 PM. I hope it finds her. I also found out that I had left my wallet at Isaac’s house, on his dresser, and he has generously offered to FedEx it to me so that I am not destitute. I hope it finds me. I don’t know about never going anywhere again, but I have decided to quit drinking so much that I forget important things, such as my wallet. Hahaha, just kidding – drinking rocks.

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Aside from being a champion yo-yoer, I am the full-time computer geek at the American Society of Nephrology. I recently completed my MBA from George Washington University which I am hoping will enable me to finally afford my own bad habits. I also do freelance design, specializing in Flash, PHP, and ASP/ASP.NET.

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