307, 316, 246, 602, 524: The hotel rooms I’ve occupied over the past month. It got to the point where I was confusing one for the next. A waitress at breakfast would ask me for my room number and I would just start spewing numbers at her like Rain Man. 16! 316! No, 224! Yeah, that’s it! No wait…
It was time to be home. Where I am now. Huzzah! Huzzah!
Not without a minor detour.
Thursday, the day we were due to head back to New York from Raleigh-Durham, I was instead routed to Orlando for an impromptu client meeting. Poor Nate had to fly home alone with the now shrieking baby. And the golf clubs. And the stroller carrying case. And the backpack. And the diaper bag. And the 35-pound suitcase. And the 75-pound suitcase. Let’s just say that we’ve now decided to will 50% of our estate upon our deaths to the person who invented curbside check-in.
I wasn’t happy about the diversion, but I found the silver lining: 2.5 uninterrupted hours in a nice, air-conditioned, employer-paid business class airplane seat on the way home. After all, I had just come off of three weeks of absolute work madness, followed by one of those “I need a vacation from my vacation” vacations, straight into client meetings, a client dinner, a few hours of sleep, and client meetings again. The nap would do a body good, to say nothing of the cocktails.
The Delta jet still had that new plane smell–I half expected to peek into the cockpit and find one of those little green trees hanging from a control knob. I settled into my lovely bulkhead seat, stretched out my legs, took a few sips of deliciously mediocre white wine and shut my eyes. Bliss.
I had fallen asleep maybe five minutes when suddenly…what’s that smell? Oh GOD the smell.
“I don’t get paid enough for this,” I hear a flight attendant mutter under her breath as she tears past me towards the coach cabin. I glance around and the entire cabinet is wincing at the fetid odor that’s hanging in the air like August humidity. Two more flight attendants race up the aisle, one wearing a surgical face mask, the other snapping on a pair of rubber gloves. They each clutch wads of napkins in their hands.
Just then I remember…
The dogs. The therapy dogs in training. Two of them. First row of coach as we boarded the plane.
Oh dear lord, that odor can only be one thing: Canine intestinal distress. Doggie diarrhea. Stinkin’, rancid German Shepard shit. On the plane. The plane with dozens of windows, not one of them able to open.
“Well,” Nate said. “At least it happened to a writer.”
“A writer with a blog,” I said.