March 13, 2008

Unfinished Immune System

Before I begin this story, I feel a brief introduction is in order. I am “Unfinished Dad’s” seventeen-year-old brother in-law, and when the opportunity presented itself for me to take a trip to Louisiana for a week to visit with my siblings and niece I gladly accepted. As soon as I made my arrangements it seems, I came down with mono and was bedridden for three weeks. Luckily my symptoms subsided not long before my scheduled trip down south. So this brings me to my story, which I am going to present to you through metaphor. I ask you to think of this story as a sandwich, with a great, satisfying center trapped between two awful slices of bread.

Slice number one: My journey starts with me leaving Atlanta after visiting my other sister and flying into Memphis. Every flight taken on this trip makes a stop in Memphis, which clearly makes a stunning amount of sense. So I arrived in Tennessee around seven in the evening with my flight to Shreveport scheduled to depart at seven-thirty. Time passes slowly, as it usually does while waiting in an airport, but seven-thirty eventually rolls around. The ticket agent began to call passengers up by rows, and the masses moved toward the gate. Suddenly, she explains that there was a mistake and that the plane has mechanical problems which will soon be fixed. She is sorry for the inconvenience. Frustration begins to set in after three hours pass and I’m still sitting in the Memphis airport. But finally, the agent explains that we will be moved to another plane, but of course that plane is on the other side of the airport. She is again, sorry for the inconvenience. So through the deserted airport, the twenty or so passengers, including myself, walk to their new gate, united through suffering. We are then seated by our flight attendant who showers the passengers, excluding myself, with free liquor. She too is sorry for the inconvenience. As we ease onto the runway the pilot’s voice mumbles over the loudspeaker. He explains that this plane too has mechanical issues, and we will have to fly with the landing gear down, but it’ll be fine, just louder and slower than normal. He is sorry for the inconvenience. Now I know why they gave out free liquor. Finally, at one in the morning I arrive in beautiful Shreveport Louisiana.
Delicious center: Relieved to be far away from planes for the time being I take in all Shreveport has to offer, which is limited, but satisfying nonetheless. I spend time with Joe, Kristen, and Annie and am taken back to the days of us living together, a great feeling. Joe and I instantly center our plans around experiencing all of the food found in the south, and not back in Jersey. We indulge in the delicacies of Sonic, the finger-lickin’ goodness of local barbeque, and the store-bought satisfaction of Oh’s (the greatest cereal ever) and Girl Scout cookie ice cream. After doubling my daily food intake, I begin looking for other things to do. The two of us later decide to find Joe a cheap guitar, so I can teach him a few things. I come up with the plan to look into local pawn shops to supply us with our instrument. Joe is skeptical seeing as neither of us have ever been to a pawn shop or know what to expect. But of course, that’s where we find the guitar. We also stopped in on a record shop in town, and get to talking with one of its employees. We discuss our similarities in music tastes and he let’s us in on his secret of taking all the good albums for himself before he puts any on the shelves. It’s true what they say about southern hospitality, everywhere we went we found someone to talk to. The week passed by quickly, I seemed to be enjoying myself too much to notice how much time had gone by.
Slice number two: Friday rolls around and I am to head back north at five in the morning on Saturday. So for my last night in town, we all go to Kristen and Joe’s friend’s house for crawfish, the last southern dish on our list. The night ends and everyone is happy, that is until around midnight. I wake in a sweat and proceed to get sick, and I mean sick. I’ll spare you the details. So ultimately I end up on the bathroom floor from midnight until seven in morning, the only sleep I get is with my head resting against the toilet seat, of course this results in me missing my flight. Exhausted, sick, and delirious, I sleep for a full twenty-four hours, no exaggeration. In comes Sunday, and I’m feeling like I am able to move with out vomiting, so I book a flight for that evening. We arrive at the airport and I say all of my goodbyes, only to discover my flight had been cancelled. The airline is sorry for the inconvenience. I spend one more night in Louisiana and finally, fly out on Monday. This time, I flawlessly make it to my connecting flight without any delays, mechanical issues, or cancellations. But wait, I must have gotten too cocky, for when I sat on the runway waiting to leave for New Jersey, the pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker. He tells us that maintenance has to clean out the septic system, and it should only be twenty minutes. He is sorry for the inconvenience. At this point apologies are becoming an inconvenience. An hour later, we take off for Newark, and I’m on my way home.

Despite my tragic mishaps within the two slices of bread, I had a great time. But would I go back…that baby’s first words better be “Uncle Steve is the greatest” if there’s any hope of that.


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