Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I can still hear myself screaming inside.

Well, I made it home after THE worst travel day I've had in years. Now I regret bitching about most of them, as holy shit, not much went right.

 It started off with promise- we would finish discharging alongside a ship in Pt. Newark, NJ, about 3am on Tuesday, then sail at 4ish to our lay berth in Brooklyn, where we'd lie from about 5-to- 11:30 am, when we'd leave for the next load. About 10am, we'd crew change, and I'd be on my way with about 3 hours to negotiate traffic and get my flight. By Monday night it was all arranged with my relief and my company's dispatcher.

 Tuesday 3:10 AM, I'm finished and ready to sail. But the night dispatcher, for some reason, sent my tugboat to do another job that another boat was supposed to do (the other boat was available, not like it was an issue). We didn't get off that  ship until 5am, and got stuck behind a ship transiting under  the Bayonne bridge.

 FINALLY, at 7am, we're off the dock at the lay berth, and the tug captain calls me and says there's a change of plans, we're going to the next job, right now. I get annoyed, obviously, and call- the night guy says that the terminal wants us at the dock right away.

 So, no shit, we tie up at the dock where I'm supposed to crew change, and the tug shifts position to go into the next dock, and we sail to the dock. At 0730, we're there.

 Oh, along the way, turns out there was an engineer standing by at the layberth in his truck, there to diagnose an issue with a generator we have which likes to die in the middle of the night for no reason. I waited a damn month for the guy to finally get time to look at that thing. He was pretty pissed, too, having set aside time for this.

 And the pisser is that at the terminal, the dockman asks why the hell we're 4 hours early, as they didn't want us there, there was other work to be done. The night guy was just being an asshole, apparently.

       At any rate, my relief rushed in, and got there early because now there's an unplanned-for boat ride involved, and it ruined his morning, and we crew changed, finally. The cab company was pissed off, as I held up their guy for a long time with the change in plans.

    OK, so this sucks, but whatever, it happens when you work on boats.

      I get to the airport, and I'm there earlier than I planned for- 4 hours. OK, no big deal, too. I can have a beer, read my book. But my flight has no gate assigned, so I can't check in. They won't let me. Jetblue is weird. I swore I wouldn't use them after they fucked me in the past, but here I am, and I saved $200 on a round-trip ticket.

 Well, my flight gets delayed 2 hours. The weather is bad, but this happens- rain and fog, and NY's airports are overcrowded and prone to delays anyhow. But they didn't announce a gate until I had been sitting at check-in for 3 hours.

 I get to my gate and play the waiting game. I have a glass of whiskey, and it helps.
     I finally get on my plane, with the insane cattle call that Jetblue likes to use. Waiting to board, there are 20 or so people in wheelchairs because I live in Florida. This takes, no shit, 30 minutes just to get them loaded on the plane. The Caribbean girls who move the wheelchairs are fighting and yelling into walkie-talkies, and also fighting with whoever is on the other end. The ladies in the chairs are complaining, and some of them have little dogs which are trying to escape.

 Eventually, we do get on the plane, and we sit. And sit. Some of a group of ladies behind me, 50-70ish, some of whom were in the wheelchairs, are walking back and forth to the bathroom, and the pilot tells us that we won't move until everyone is seated and buckled in. One of the ladies, who is in the row behind me, Sylvia, is complaining in a very strong Brooklyn Jewish accent, about the delay, to her husband Bernie, who is complaining right back to her, both failing to notice that it is their group who is causing the delay.

       We take off, and it's turbulent as hell- and it stayed that way the entire time. It did calm a little, and one point, enough for the rude and dirty stewards, one very large black lady and two very petite very gay men, to fling doritos and sodas to those what wanted them. I got mine. It was warm.
 Anyhow, about 2 hours in, the turbulence crescendo'd. The ladies behind me were all complaining every time there was a bump, so, call it every 4 seconds. "Ooooh my gawd, this is awwwwwful. Patches, calm down for mommy (the dog was whining and digging for all it was worth, before peeing on the floor and stinking up the place." Oh, baby, you're shaking! Eddie, look at my poor dawg, she's shaking. Ask the girl to turn the heat up, the dawg's cold, and so is everyone."
I was not. But sure enough, the ladies behind me complain, and suddenly I'm sweating.

    Plane full of discontented anxious old people and their dogs. It's about 80 inside, and I'm sweating. It smells of warm used diapers and scared dogs. You know that smell they get? Like ammonia and old bologna.  There's a couple of dogs yipping and yelping and whining because of the turbulence, but it's hard to hear them over the sound of elderly discontented Jewish stereotypes come to life.

 ... and then the announcement that we're only 15 minutes from the airport, but there's a thunderstorm passing by, so we have to wait. Well... fuck.
      We wait. We finally land, and it's a brutal landing, the plane just was getting borked all the way down by turbulence, and the pilot dove for the deck like he was trying to catch the #4 wire before doing a go-around.

 And then we stop at the end of the runway. Because there was a thunderstorm just passed by, they had reopened the runways, but not the taxiways, and, this is no shit, it's 20 minutes before they get us moving to the gate. But there's another plane at our gate. My local airport is a ghost town at night, there are 20 gates, of which usually 3-5 have something happening. I look out the window- there are 2 planes in the terminal, and they want to use the gate that is occupied. It takes 10 minutes for the plane to get out of there.
         We get to the gate. We're here! Oh, wait, for some reason, the wheelchair people get to leave first. No shit. I never saw that before. We have to wait 20 fucking minutes before we can get up and leave the fucking plane. They get off, trailing dogs who are pissing in the aisle because, poor little bastards have been on a plane almost 5 hours  after being delayed for a couple hours BEFORE leaving the ground in NY.

 I've been in Florida for over an hour when I get off the plane. I didn't have a checked bag, I just make a beeline and get my grumpy ass to the curb, and wonder of wonders, I put my bag down, and there's my wife's car swinging to the curb. I get in the car, get a kiss and my wife says "Hi amor, welcome home, why you face is so color purple?" She then wrinkles her nose and says  "Hohnee, you smell no good, like wet dog."
 I got a good laugh out of that, and explained a little- but by then it didn't matter, I was of the plane.

 So fuck air travel generally, and JetBlue specifically. I have to take them back to NY in 2 weeks for the second part of the round trip I paid for.

 Fuck it, there's a reason I guess why other airlines are more expensive. Because they're worth it. I said before that Jetblue is a flying trailer park, and I stand by what I said.

 By the time I got home and into shorts and my bare feet and a beer in hand, I was already calming down. I can still hear the screaming, however, that I was doing inside my own head for about 16 hours yesterday. NOT ONE THING went right, right up until I locked eyes with my wife, but even though It took 14 hours to get home where normally it takes about 5, door-to-door, I mean, it did end very well.


Anonymous said...

enjoy yr time off, paul.

Anonymous said...

Wow. My experiences on JetBlue have generally been positive (even trips to Florida, though I generally go to MCO not Miami). Enjoy your time off.