Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fishing For Seats, Running For Flights

This past weekend was a somewhat serendipitous affair. The big hoopla was that I was flying down to Atlanta to visit my best friend Matthew, his loverly wife Taz (Latashia), and their newborn son Zach. Our long-time friend Mark--the three of us have known each other since we were three-year-old pissants in nursery school pissing in diapers and on ants--was also down for the ride, though our trips only intersected on Friday and half of Saturday.

Saturday, the 9th of May, was supposed to be the big event: We were going to drive down to Philips Arena to watch LeBron James and the Cavs take on Joe Johnson/Josh Smith/Mike Bibby and their Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semi-finals. Let's rewind a bit to Sunday, when I was having dinner with my folks for my dad's 37th birthday (yes, we like to make our parents feel young). I get a message from Matt to get my tickets for the game ASAP--they had gotten two tickets in Section 109, Row Q. I panicked and started Blackberrying Ticketmaster, trying to procure a sacred, precious golden ticket. After numerous failed attempts and a dash to my PC after returning home from dinner, I finally found one that wouldn't break my wallet (at least, relative to the other ticket prices I had been seeing) in Section 109, Row K. Great--at least we would be near each other.

Flash forward to Saturday. We make it through the crawling Atlanta traffic and come to find out that the tickets which had been sent to Matt were for Atlanta Hawks Home Game 3... instead of just plain old Game 3... which means that he had been given tickets for Game 6.

Well shit, let's confuse our customers by mixing and matching game numbers. Caveat emptor: When buying tickets for sporting events online, and the event is one in a multi-game series that involves different locations, such as the NBA Playoffs in which each round lasts a maximum of seven games and each of the games is played in one of two locations each of which is home to one of the two teams involved, MAKE SURE THE TICKETS ARE FOR THE CORRECT GAME. If they say "Home Game 3", ask them, "Which game overall?" They probably relish the fact that they can confuse consumers this way and rile you up. I swear, companies just like to throw random obstacles your way even though they know that they'd probably make more money if you had just made things easier. Seriously, the iPhone doesn't have a landscape keyboard? Really? Then again, Apple's making money hand over fist already... but I digest.

So we're standing outside the arena like a bunch of wilted asparagus as Matt first tries to plead his case with the unrepentant customer service rep, then with the disembodied voice at the other end of the phone representing (from where he procured his tickets), to finally hear that, yes, he would be getting his money back. So what to do now? I'm sitting here with a $85 ticket ($100 after Uncle Sam and the Internet Surcharge Monster gang-raped my credit card), not willing to sell it because my name's on it (yeah, I'm paranoid, but do you know how much random information someone can get by entering your full name into websites that really should not know or give out the information that they do?). Unrepentant Customer Service Rep (yes, I've turned him into a proper noun) is selling "standing room only" tickets, which means that, for $30 per person, you may be escorted to the back of a section where you may stand and watch the game from high up. The added benefit is that you're in the heavens, and the farther you get from hell, the better, I suppose.

(That's right: Commit all the sins you want, and for $30, you can still get into heaven as long as it's during the NBA Playoffs. Unless you're an atheist or something else. Then I suppose all you get is a shitty view of a landmark basketball game. Which is likely what I would have gotten, except maybe Buddhism has a similar concept to heaven that I don't know about or forgot because I'm not very religious sorry mom and my memory measures somewhere between a brick and a goldfish, but again I digress.)

In any event, I said that as long as we're here, we might as well buy two standing room tickets and Taz could have my ticket and seat. The lady just bore child; you think she deserves to stand on her feet for 2.5 hours straight when she's not even supposed to be jogging yet, even a little? Shame on you. In any event, the idea was sold, and we got onto the Chinese line. Read: not really a line, but a mess of people who try to funnel into a single door and usually end up pushing and shoving to get in--ever been in the NYC Subway?--except this isn't China so instead of pushing and shoving, everyone just slowly merged and tried to inch past each other... somebody probably had his ass groped, and the person groping his ass probably thought he was a she, and the gropee probably thought the groper was a she, but ha ha, isn't the joke on them. Anyway. We separated and vowed to meet each other again, in this life or the next. (Name that movie. Hint: I had to Google it because I forgot where it was from. Well that wasn't much of a hint, was it...) Taz went to the fabled seat of 109 Row K, and Matt and I headed up K7 to watch LeBron execute actions that we wouldn't quite be able to make out because we were standing in the back behind people with bigass heads and a self-serving sense of pride at not having to be a "standing room only" plebe.

Then it happened. We were looking cross-court at Section 109, where Taz was sitting, trying to scope out seats, when we saw an entire half-row of seats waiting to be stolen one section over in 108. She then sent us a text message, saying, "Whole lotta seats down here." I, with beer in hand, followed Matt with--well--nothing, since he actually takes care of his body while I'm a slug, and we head down and around the arena to the fabled emptiness. We walk in but waited a bit too long to make our right turn, though I have an excuse in that I simply had no goddamn idea where to go, and the result was that Friendly Seat Guardian guy asked us, "Excuse me, where are your seats?"

Foresight rules, though original intent doesn't reflect actual use. Basically: I had printed an extra copy of my ticket in case I misplaced the first one. So, while I had given Taz the original printout, I had the Xerox (ok nerds, I know the correct term is "photocopy" because "Xerox" is a brand name, just like it's "tissue" and not "Kleenex", but "Xerox" is faster to type than "photocopy" so I guess this whole parenthetical was counter-intuitive to my goals; just shoot me now). This magical XEROX was used for a purpose for which it was not originally made: It was shown to Friendly Seat Guardian guy, who deemed me worthy of entry. Since Matt was with me, he assumed that we were together, which was a correct assumption. We made our way to Section 109, went across the stairs to 108, and claimed our rightful spots in the half-row free in 108, around 100 feet away from the basket. Taz later joined us, and though my head darted around looking for security or the "true" owners of those seats we were in, we were able to sit through the entire game as LeBron James made a whole shitload of what would normally be ugly jumpers en route to a 47-point, 12-rebound and 8-assist thrashing of the Hawks. Zaza Pachulia got thrown out for menacing the refs, and even though the Hawks tried to play him (and the team) up to be Rocky Balboa (clips of Rocky followed by Zaza in a hoodie quoting Rocky with his charmingly/disgustingly [depending on whether you love or hate him] crooked Slavic accent), people apparently forgot that Rocky actually loses in the first movie. But all that is irrelevant. This was about the great seats.


If you know me on Facebook, you can see some (shitty) action shots I got. If you don't, well, too bad.

In any event, Monday was a sad day as I had to leave Matt, Taz and little baby Zachary Austin (yeah bitches, I was honored and you weren't, which also means that if I gave the entire family Swine Fl- oh, I'm sorry, H1N1, then I'm the most rottenest person in the world, but I'm already qualified for that moniker so the joke's on you) and head back to New York City for Episode 22 of 24 (the television show 24, not 24 total episodes, even though 24 the show does have 24 total episodes a season--so I guess that works out).

My flight was at 2:40 PM.

Matt and I left the house at 1:37PM.

Now, when you go to the airport, there are numerous obstacles that could cause you to miss your flight and look like an idiot with your pants pulled down at the terminal because you tried to run past security and then they found that you forgot to take the screwdriver out of your messenger bag so now they're patting you down for drugs and threatening a Rob Lowe in Wayne's World-style enema. But none of that happened to me that day. It was just your usual mundane bullshit: tires needed air; the Kia needed a full gas tank; the Atlanta traffic stunk; and at 2:21 when I bolted into airport security, the line was slow; yadda yadda.

When I finally got out of security because slow-ass air travelers who are slow-ass asshats at the retrieval line where you're supposed to quickly put on your shoes and shove your shit into your luggage and then put on your belt later or at least just wait until you're off the line, but oh no I dropped my ziplock bag with all my makeup in it or I forgot to drink all my water so now I have to drink it or throw it away, but hey I paid $1.50 for that water and I can't drink all of it right on the spot or I'll throw it up and the water's like $4.79 in the goddamn Hudson News in the airport, no liquids my ass, it was already 2:37. By the time I reached the appropriate concourse, it was 2:42.

Flight missed.


So I grumpily stomped towards my gate, likely scaring people in the process with my crude language and backwards hat, only to find that my flight had been delayed.

Until 3PM.

It was 2:49.


Now that I'm recalling all of this good fortune, I've got a nasty feeling that karma is a sumbitch and that I've got a really rude weekend waiting for me. I'll let you know how many times I get peed on by a drunk guy using his window as a urinal.

1 comment:

artemis said...

wait. but why did you leave at 1:37 for a 2:40 flight? that's even worse than me.