Thank you for flying Continental. My ass.

My fourteen year old daughter, Amy, arrived yesterday from San Francisco. I haven't seen her since last Christmas, because I live in San Antonio, Texas, due to a remarriage and relocation.

Amy's plane ticket was purchased by my former best friend, the one who snatched my second husband out from under my nose about a year and a half ago. I think this was a guilt offering on their part. Fine, I'll take it. Without them buying the ticket, I wouldn't be seeing Amy for God knows how long. The friend told the airline that Amy was fourteen, they said no problem, and the purchase was made.

So Amy and her father Koji arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 5 AM yesterday and are told that Amy, as an unaccompanied minor (most airlines consider them such until age 12. Continental, however, has to be unique), owes another $75 - EACH WAY! Koji is flat broke, in the middle of moving, and could not afford the $150 so he paid the one side, I'll need to cover the other when she goes back next month- on an income of $840 a month for a family of five. Ow.

Could they tell this to the ticket purchaser? Hell no. That would involve being responsible and require that you do your job properly. Anna and Isaac would have paid the $150, and on an income of nearly $200,000 a year, they can afford it. Instead, two very broke parents get shafted by the airline.

But wait, there is more. Koji called Continental a week ago to ask about weight limits on baggage for San Francisco to Houston flights. He was told seventy pounds per bag. Arrived at the counter and they say "No, that's only international. Domestic flights are limited to fifty pounds per bag." Another $50 in overweight fees. As Koji put it, if he had been accurately informed he would have stuffed the bags to the gills and sent me some of the stuff I had to leave back there when I moved.

The plane was an hour late leaving SFO, and arrived in Houston late. They raced my daughter to her connecting flight, only to have her sitting in the plane on the runway for nearly two hours. Meanwhile, Sam and the boys and I are heading to the San Antonio Airport to pick the girl up.

We get there twenty minutes before the plane is due to arrive and see that it is running 45 minutes late. Okay. We sit. We wait. At exactly the time the plane should now be arriving, they put up a new time. Another hour and twenty minutes. Shit.

At this point I have a starving seven year old and a voracious nine year old. Of course there is no food at the arrivals section of the airport, only past security, so we get in the car and race to the nearest fast food joint. Wolf down the food, and race back to the airport, where the plane has arrived twenty-five minutes before their last posted notice. My daughter had already been placed in the unclaimed luggage section. Okay, not really. She was at the security office. The passengers had disembarked less than five minutes before we got there according to several passengers I asked, and the luggage was still being off-loaded, but you know, for $75, they can't wait five minutes for the parents who had to go feed the other kids.

When we finally got home, I noticed the voice mail flashing, checked it, and who do you think it was? Continental. And were they polite? No. "Your daughter is waiting for you here at the airport. She is at the security office. If she is not picked up within ninety minutes, child protective services will foster her temporarily until arrangements can be made with a responsible guardian for her pick up and return to San Francisco. Thank you for choosing Continental." Yes, they honest to God said that, I just transcribed it word for word from the recording.

Continental can lick me. Hard.

But my kid is here, and that's what really counts.

Templeton, darl and I met at Washington, DC's Dupont Circle this evening for dinner, cigarettes, and a few pleasant hours of conversation.

It was a fetid evening, reminiscent of templeton's time in the Big Easy. We found a cheap hole in the wall restaurant where we could have gyros and stuffed grape leaves and beer.

Templeton is a good looking woman of indeterminate age with tanned face, tight skin and good bones. Darl is one of the UK's finest, being educated at Oxford in English literature. He just turned 21. His cherubic face and curly hair and his damned british accent makes him a babe magnet, or will in the future. The man fairly bursts with intelligence.

We decided to meet after darl and I chatted in the catbox about a young graffiti artist in the area who was recently caught in the act. Borf had been stenciling anti-corporate, life-affirming messages all over the city. His appearances were distinctly artistic in nature, and he'd achieved mythical status. Turns out the artist was an 18 year old rich kid from a design school. darl's been interning at the Washington Post for the past few weeks and seeing the local American sights. We found out we were close to each other and decided it would be fun to meet for drinks. Templeton joined the group when I learned she was living close by as well.

Templeton has an English Lit degree as well. I was their token stupid friend who listened a lot.

Over drinks, we discussed:

  • the recent Columbus, Ohio nodermeet which was hosted by ccunning and karma debt, and what magnanimous people they are
  • how we found out about Everything2
  • its early history - templeton's been here over five years
  • borgo's recent health blip
  • darl's life in the UK. templeton and I are both closet anglophiles.
  • His future. He'd like to stay
  • templeton's life in New Orleans
  • Adbusters
  • darl's eye-opening adventures at a West Virginia flea market. He'd never seen so many guns and knives in his life. (The locals weren't packing. These were for sale.)

darl is writing an article on cultural movements people his age would be in touch with. He asked templeton a lot of questions about Adbusters and the "Andre the Giant has a posse" memes. Can't wait to see the article! He has until Wednesday to finish it.

Harry Potter VI was being sold in bookstores. It was the first evening of the book's release, and bookstores were jammed at midnight. We headed to Kramerbooks, a Washington institution beloved for the fact that it's one of the last independent bookstores in the region. darl got his copy of the tome, being very plugged into the JK Rowling addiction. We walked outside the book store to find a bit of borf graffiti spray painted onto a gray concrete planter. I managed to talk them into having their photo taken while sitting on top of the planter. If there's a way to post photos to an E2 photo web site I will.

  • Nota bene: JohnnyGoodyear has offered to post the photo for a while.
  • Even cooler nota bene: The Washington Post published darl's article on Borf! "We're all Borf in the end," by Claude Willan, Sunday, July 24, 2005
  • Regarding the shoehorned mention of Everything2 into the article, Halspal sez: "Oh, yeah. The E2 reference is totally out of left field, and my homenode. A masterful work of promotional wedgery."

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