Last week brought with it all the magnificent wonders of Rhinebeck, and what a great time it was. I can’t tell you how much I love that time of year, and the people I spend it with. Both days of the festival turned out to be sweater weather, brilliant for people watching (I took a lot of notes about the beautiful things I saw people wearing) and for wearing my own sweater – finished and blocked on Rhinebeck eve.
I did the festival with a bad cold this year, and though I fear I was patient zero for the annual Rhinebeck Crud that seems to make it’s way around every year, me and my box of tissues managed to have a pretty good time. (Apologies to any of you I met on the weekend and refused to hug or shake hands with – I swear I was just trying not to spread it around. Extra apologies if it didn’t work.)
Sweater: Little Wave, Yarn: Blackwater Abbey in Pippin. (5 skeins) I love how it turned out – it’s a bit big, but I wanted a workhorse of a sweater, a cozy grampa kind of thing, and it suits perfectly. (Photo Credits to Caro)
(As an aside, I didn’t know my hair was that grey until I saw those pictures.)
When Rhinebeck was all said and done, I went back to Boston with friends, and awaited some papers that need to come through before I leave the US. I had big plans to rent myself a cheap spot for a while, hunker down and work, and have a good look at Boston. I thought it would be lovely. Apparently I’m not the only one who thought so, because when I went looking for a place even slightly affordable, it was a total bust. I got on the phone with Joe, and while we were chatting, we had a crazy idea. We looked for cheap flights and cheap hotel rooms, and well. It was Las Vegas. In a move that was totally and completely unlike me in every way, at 3pm I bought a ticket to Vegas that departed at 6pm, booked a hotel that had a sale, and left for the airport.
All the way to the airport, I couldn’t believe what I was doing. I’m a planner. A person who thinks ahead, a person who absolutely doesn’t buy a same day plane ticket and who certainly doesn’t buy a ticket to Las Vegas. Still, there I was… the plane was a little delayed leaving Boston, and I worried about missing my connection in LA- but we made up the time in the air, and landed in plenty of time to make it, and I would have made that connection too, except there was no gate to pull into. We sat there on the tarmac, with me anxiously checking the clock every fourteen seconds, until I watched the plane I should have been on push back from the gate, taxi away, and take off without me on it.
Now, despite lacking spontaneity as a personality trait, I am a pretty seasoned traveller, so I didn’t panic straight off. Heaven only knows what time the last flight goes to Vegas. I’ve seen lots of movies and it seemed to me like anything would be possible. I sat there on the plane for 75 minutes, until we pulled into a gate, and I disembarked, and hustled straight to the help desk. I won’t tell you the whole thing, but suffice it to say that it had been the last flight to Vegas that I’d been booked on, and they were very sorry, but there were no flights with room on them the next day either – the best they could do was to bump me to another carrier, and put me on an 8am flight out. I sighed, accepted the vouchers for the shuttle and the hotel, and went to find my luggage.
Things got worse from there. It took a long time for them to retrieve my bags. There was no shuttle, and when I got to the hotel, there was a problem with the voucher that took a while to resolve. I stood there, leaning on the desk and finally convinced the guy that maybe he could work on the problem while I was sleeping? If I gave him a credit card as insurance? He agreed, and I fell into a bed of questionable quality at 2:30am.
When my alarm went off at 5:45am – just three hours and 15 minutes later, I couldn’t help but wonder if spontaneity was for me.
Back at the airport, I lined up for my new flight, and when I found myself at the front of the line, I presented my ticket, issued the night before, and stared blankly and somewhat dumbly at the clerk as she told me I wasn’t booked on that flight at all. I showed her the ticket again – pointed at the place where my name was clearly indicated, showed her the time… and she agreed that all of those things were right, but that there was no record that matched. I’d have to go back to the other airline and figure out what happened, she couldn’t help me. I went outside the terminal and waited for the bus (because I am of course, at the wrong building) and thought about what my approach would be when I got back to the offending airline. Would I start with the gate delay that had wrecked the connection? Maybe the problem finding my luggage, or the 3 agents that were there to help 40 people who missed connections, or the vouchers for the shuttle that wasn’t running, or the messed up voucher for the hotel, or would I just focus on the fact that they’d not properly fixed any of that. I got angrier and angrier as I wrestled my two suitcases off of the bus, and was close to tears of fury when I finally made my way to the right desk.
Unbelievably, right when I was about to lose it all over this unsuspecting clerk, I remembered that she hadn’t done anything wrong at all. She’d just gotten up and gone to work, poor lamb, and here I was, about to rip the living snot out of her. None of this was her fault. I took several deep breaths – literally, and then I told her that. I told her that I was so sorry. I told her that I’d had three hours sleep, and that I was going to try and be as nice as humanly possible about the problem I was having, but that I couldn’t have any more problems. I really needed help, I told her, and then I blurted out the whole thing, inserting as many apologies as I possibly could, sprinkling it with as much gratitude as I could find, and generally tried to be as charming as I know how to be. She listened carefully, and then she said “that sounds like a pile of ****.” (Accurate.) Then she apologized, and started typing and making phone calls and figured things out, and I kept thanking her and telling her she was wonderful, and somehow, magically, I was on the 8am flight to Las Vegas that they had told me was impossible the night before.
I could have kissed her on the mouth, and if I didn’t still have a cold and there wasn’t a counter to tall to scale between us, I probably would have. I’m so glad I managed to contain the rage that was seething inside me, heard my mum’s voice telling me that you catch more flies with honey, and remembered what it was like to be in the service industry when someone was feeling … like I felt. It paid off.
So… long story short, greetings from Las Vegas. I’ve got a couple of days on my own here, and then Joe’s taking the plunge and meeting me for an adventure, and bringing some more appropriate clothing, which will be a huge relief, because I packed for autumn in Boston.
Until then, if you see someone knitting, wearing jeans, wool socks and boots while googling “what do you do in Vegas if you don’t gamble” know that I’m doing the best I can. There’s four sweaters in my suitcase. It’s hard to fit in.
(PS to Joe: Bring sunscreen.)