I Need a Vacation
I wish Mauna Lani Bay would stop sending me those email equivalents of Homer’s sirens – first a photo of sunset from the beach and followed by one of empty hammocks swinging in the breeze with the Pacific Ocean in the background. Enough already.
I know I need a vacation. I always need a vacation. I’m wired to get away. I have Getaway DNA and have had it all my life. Travel is enticing enough without my favorite places sending me seducing photos wishing I was there.
So, to satisfy the wanderlust and not break the budget, I’m headed instead to New Mexico next month on Southwest. My airfare by today’s standards is okay but would have been skyway robbery 10 years ago. Still, it gets me to Albuquerque. I get to visit with my Dad, my brother, my sister-in-law, my neice and nephew and their amazing kids. I even get to go see the incredible Jane Monheit in concert.
But, alas, it does mean flying Southwest.
Fly the Komen Express…No Thanks!
There’s probably the same fare on American, but seriously. Fly American? Flying bankrupt airlines is a bit like investing with Bernie Madoff. Who needs the surly employees, mechanical problems and delayed flights? And, besides, I might end up on one of those planes painted with the pink Komen ribbon. I’m brainwashed enough without flying on the Komen Express. Who knows, the right-wing vibes from that paint job might having me watching Fox News or listening to Rush Limbaugh when I get home. Nope.
Not that flying Southwest is a travel treasure. Well, the flying part isn’t that bad assuming you can embrace the whole cattle car gestalt. Actually, I’ve started to pay the extra 10 bucks for early boarding. The alternative is sitting at my computer exactly 24 hours ahead of my flight time in order to click “check in” precisely at the right moment – and still ending up with something like the B44 boarding position, which on most Southwest flights virtually guarantees you a middle seat.
I’m convinced that middle seats are a perverse punishment for my sins. The cramped feeling of the aisle seats on Southwest is bad enough. So, would it kill them to buy a software program to assign the freaking seats in advance? It’s cool that they are have funny announcements and this laid-back ‘tude, but I’d settle for just a little less cool in exchange for an advanced seat assignment.
Cut the Cool, Okay?
IMHO, “cool” and “travel” just don’t belong together. Like the first time I walked into the W hotel in NYC. The thumping bass beat, the mood lighting, the sight of people hanging out swaying with this hip vibe that wasn’t irritating the first few times you saw it – all that cool would have been just fine if the desk clerks had been even fake nice or the rooms remotely big enough to fall down in without hitting a wall. I asked the front desk once if my room was perhaps a converted broom closet.
But, the W was cool. It was the place to be seen.” I’m staying at the W” was the response you wanted to give if asked. They finally built a W near Broadway that had rooms large enough to open your suitcase, though you still had to leap over it to get to the bathroom.
So, I’m planning this trip to Albuquerque for family and jazz. It’s a month away. I booked it yesterday. Today, I get an email from Southwest telling me that my trip is rapidly approaching and I need to get ready. Puh-leeze. Don’t tell me it’s rapidly approaching when the real point of the email was to sell me early boarding and rental cars and hotel rooms. Don’t get me all anxious about a two-hour flight that is a month away and only rapidly approaching in the most cryptic sense.
And, never mind that the computer system that can’t assign seats also can’t remember that I already bought early boarding. Yikes. Are those the same computers flying the plane?
Get My Hammock Ready, Please
But, I guess the reminder did serve one useful purpose. I now have one month to figure out how to divert that Southwest flight to Kona, scoot up the Kohala Coast to the Mauna Lani and climb into that empty hammock in time to watch the sunset. I can listen to Jane Monheit on my iPod and send my family a text.
My 91-year-old Dad won’t care. He’d do the same thing if he could. After all, he passed down the Getaway DNA to begin with.