Friday, December 21st, 2007
The last time I had a bra fitting was at Marks and Spencer in England. A middle aged Irish woman had me doing some kind of military drill/bra gymnastics (“bend forward, stand up, pull the shoulder straps up and the back straps down…”). There were way too many instructions. The woman was rough, yanking straps and pulling me around with little regard for the fact that I was getting my tatas out in front of a complete stranger and may not be all the way comfortable with that.
While living in New York, I had piled on a few pounds as a result of my *ahem* enormously healthy diet. A good portion of that weight seemed to have settled in my chestular region, so I figured I should invest in some new boulder holders.
I took myself to Victoria’s Secret, fought through the crowds and picked out some styles I liked. Once in the fitting room, some 19 year old from the Bronx threw back the curtain and barges in with her tape measure. She threw the tape around my back. There was that awkward moment when your personal space is invaded, the tape is brought to the front and comes to rest in the centre of your bosom as the measurement is read.
She engaged in idle chit chat while I ‘uh huh’d my way through it, looking at the ceiling trying to pretend her face wasn’t two inches from my tits. Then she scurried off to get me the styles I liked in the correct size.
As I tried on the different bras, none of them seemed quite right. I couldn’t figure out if it was the sizing, the bad lighting or the tacky techno music blaring from the speakers that was throwing me off.
I stood there in my jeans and bra, hands on hips, head tilted to the side, trying to figure out whether or not I liked the undergarment, when the 19 year old Bronx assistant peeked around the curtain.
“How is it?” She asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said, contemplating.
Then, all of a sudden, she came up behind me, shoved her hands up my bra, engaged in full on cuppage of my fun bags and pushed them up and together. Before I had a chance to protest, her hands were out and she was looking at me in the mirror.
“See, much better,” she smiled as she flung the curtain back and jetted off again.
“Ummm” was all I managed to say as I stood there wondering what the hell had just happened.
I was more than a little thrown off by the fact that I’d just been molested by a 19 year old in a Victoria’s Secret fitting room. But once the smoked had cleared and I looked down at my girls, I realized that she was right – they did look pretty spectacular.
Thursday, December 6th, 2007
I make it through a crazy long check in line at JFK and move on to security where I’m chastised by a guard for not having my hair serum, deodorant and moisturizer in a clear bag. “Really,” she tells me “I should confiscate these right now.” “Why?” I ask. “What am I gonna do? Makeover a stewardess to death?” She lets me past, but not before taking my brand new Victoria’s Secret body spray and throwing it in the trash in front of me. There’s $12 I’ll never see again.
I walked (what felt like miles) to a packed boarding lounge. It was teaming with people. I found a seat, pulled out my book and started to kill the 30 minutes before my flight. 15 minutes passed and they still hadn’t made any announcements, so I got up to look at the board. Apparently, my 5.25pm flight had been pushed back to 9.30pm. In fact, everything on the board had been either cancelled or delayed. This basically meant that I was in a room full of very pissed off people. And I couldn’t escape. Everyone wanted to share their personal travel tale of woe.
“I’ve been waiting since 8am.”
“Well, I’ve been on the go since yesterday.”
“Well, I left my house in ’98 and still haven’t reached my destination.”
I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to listen to variations of the same tale for the next 4 hours.
Every once in a while, I’d look up at the board and a few more flights would have the dreaded red letters that read ‘cancelled’ next to them. My flight had been pushed back to 10pm. At 9.30 I checked again and it had been pushed back to 10.45. I started to get that sinking feeling. Sure enough, not long after that, the red letters showed up next to my flight.
I mosey on over to the cancellation desk where a riot is on the verge of breaking out. People crowded the desk, shouting at the staff and pounding on the counters. I waited patiently in line, remaining calm, deciding I would use the ‘kill ‘em with kindness’ approach when I got to the desk, that way, they wouldn’t be able to resist putting me on the midnight flight to Toronto.
I make it to the desk. ‘Hi! How are you?’ I chirp at the Delta rep. He snarled and stuck out his hand. I gave him my ticket and he typed away in silence for 5 minutes.
“We have a 6am flight to Cincinnati,” he says.
“That’s nice. Why are you telling me?”
“You can connect to Toronto from there.”
“What about the midnight flight?”
“Cancelled, “ he said as he handed me my new ticket.
“Um, OK, so I take it you’ll be arranging a hotel for me?”
“No, the delay is due to weather conditions, which isn’t Delta’s fault.”
Delta’s customer service never fails to amaze me. The only reason I was even flying with these fools was because I had written several complaint letters after a particularly shitty flight from Japan and they gave me a $100 credit.
So, it was now 11pm and I had no choice but to bunker down in Terminal 3. Around 11.40pm, they started calling the midnight Toronto flight to board. But wait a minute – hadn’t that little Delta runt told me that flight was cancelled? I grabbed my LeSportsac, put on my game face and marched over to the gate. I explained my predicament to a staff member and she got on the computer to figure it out. There were five other people surrounding her all vying for the last remaining seat. I had two American dollars in my purse and was prepared to use them to bribe her. After much typing and murmuring into walkie-talkies, she tells me the flight is full.
Ten minutes later, a Chinese man who was also trying to get on that flight and whom I’d been watching become more and more irate all night, came over to me. He told me a woman who was behind me in the line for that standby seat, got on. He was ready to take it to the streets. I just shrugged. More power to her – at this point, I would’ve jumped the line with a blatant disregard for everybody else too.
The Chinese man got on his cell phone and was cussing people out in Mandarin, kicking chairs, walls and trashcans and repeatedly throwing his bag on the floor. I guess I should have felt bad for the guy, but it was actually pretty comical. The next flight outta there was at 6am and no amount of chair kicking would change that. Still, the Chinese dude wanted to start a revolution. He found an ally in an equally pissed off Italian guy who couldn’t speak any English. They had an intense discussion in their native tongues. When they realized they couldn’t understand a word the other way saying, the Chinese man tried to find an Italian interpreter. The best he could get was a Romanian woman who spoke Spanish. So, the Chinese man complains to the Romanian woman, who in turn relates this in Spanish to the Italian man, who incidentally didn’t speak a word of Spanish. I felt like I was on Candid Camera. I left the Terminal 3 United Nations at it and tried to take a nap.
Airport floors (well, floors in general) are not comfortable. Particularly when it’s freezing and you’re trying to ensconce yourself in what appears to be a Delta Airlines baby blanket. The noise of Larry Birkhead on Larry King talking about the joys of fatherhood was competing with, what seemed to be, All-Maroon 5-All-The-Time FM and they were drowning each other out. So, as I always do in times of turmoil, I whipped out my iPod and threw on some Jigga. Hell, he’s from Marcy y’all. He knows there ‘ain’t nuttin’ nice’. I felt he could identify with my Delta/Terminal 3 airport woes. And just like a lullaby, Hova rocked me to sleep.
I awoke at 4am, slightly rested, with sever back pain. I finally figured out that the guy sitting opposite me had kind of a Robert Downey Jr thing going on (I’d been trying to place the face all night).
Around 5.30am, they started check in for the morning flights. I see people at the check in desk who had slept there all night and were now being turned away from the flights they had been booked on the night before. I really didn’t have the energy for this.
When I get to the desk, the girl tells me my flight is boarding now. I didn’t second-guess her; I took that to mean I was actually on the flight. She tells me I need to hurry but she just needs to print my boarding pass. Her long acrylic nails, complete with florescent green paisley design, are slowing down this process no end. She’ll type for 30 seconds and then spend 30 seconds hitting ‘backspace’. Finally it’s done and I make it onto the Cincinnati flight.
I had no idea where Cincinnati was. Strange things were afoot when I boarded the plane and saw a white Sikh family. First time for everything I guess. When I arrived at Cincinnati airport, the place was swamped with people wearing fanny packs, ill-fitting jeans and visors. My God – I was in Middle America. Three hours of bad fashion and intense boredom later and I was boarding my connecting flight to Toronto.
I land in T Dot, the home stretch. At this point, the 18 hours of delays and no sleep was catching up with me. I had just enough energy to stumble into a cab. But not before customs decides to pull me aside and root through my bag. He pulls out all my Victoria’s Secret garb for the whole world to see. Nothing so secret about it anymore. A couple of bras and panties and this guy’s acting like I’m the biggest smuggler of the 21st century. My friend in New York had given me three pairs of shoes. I was trying to explain to him that they were a gift, hence I don’t have receipts or know how much they cost. He threatened, quite seriously, to cease them. But when he saw a single tear threaten to roll down my cheek, he let me go with a slap on the wrist. Men will never understand the intimate relationship between a woman and her shoes – especially ones she got for free.
And so finally me, my Secrets and my shoes walked wearily out of the airport and got home only a mere 20 hours after I was supposed to.