Wisconsin: Day One

On Wednesday (the 15th), I hauled myself out of bed at 3:30am, showered, and trudged the mile uphill to the bus stop, dragging my suitcase and cursing at being up and about at such an early hour. Mind, it was my fault that I hadn’t gotten to bed until midnight as I hadn’t even really given a thought to packing until that very day. I firmly believe that the best work is that which is done at the last minute, even if it means accidentally forgetting items like deodorant and cell phone chargers and needing to acquire these items on the other end of the trip.

I had expected the bus to be rather empty at that early hour, and was shocked when I stepped onboard to see that there was only one seat left, way in the back. Tired, large people were spilled out into the aisles, and I smacked every single one of them with my suitcase en route to the back and received more than a few glares for my efforts.

At the airport, tiredness flipped into irritation–the e-ticket machine wouldn’t allow me to check in, the United woman treated me like a moron when I told her the error message I got, even after she received the same error, and, predictably, my midget fury rose when I had to pay $15 to check my bag, and was even denied the pleasure of doing so by check so that I might’ve written ‘extortion’ in the memo field. Granted, I knew that one was coming beforehand, but it seems silly to me to split flights into ala carte selections–bump ticket prices by $50 and it covers luggage and meals both ways, and then you get to project the image that you take care of your customers instead of attempting to stick it to them in every way possible. I also take umbrage with paying specifically for checked luggage when the airline still refuses to take responsibility for taking care that nothing is broken or stolen, so in essence, I’m paying for the privilege of having someone paw through my personal belongings like some sort of starving raccoon. I practically snarled at the TSA agent who checked my ID, and I think the only thing that saved me from a cavity search was that I wisely stepped in line behind some guys in turbans, who took the honor for me. Profiling much?

After replacing my belt, shoes, phone, wallet, and pocket change, and repacking my liquid items and electronics into my carry-on (seriously, the terrorists have won), I headed downstairs where I got to take the subway train to the N terminal. When I flew to Taiwan, the flights were San Diego to Seattle to Tokyo to Taipei, and I’d had to take the subway at that time as well. I thought I’d misremembered it as I’ve flown out of Seattle many times since and hadn’t even seen signs for it…which explains how I very nearly missed the flight to Tokyo because I couldn’t find my terminal.

I slept through most of the flight; I had some talk radio programs on iDirtyRobot, which work better than white noise for snoozing, let me tell you. After the flight, I ran to grab my bag and hauled tail outside to find the Wisconsin Coach bus that was to take me to Milwaukee’s Mitchell airport. I actually SAW that bus pulling away, I ran in front of a bunch of cars to stop it, and when the driver opened the door, my brain stopped working and I asked him if he was going to MIDWAY airport. When he said no, I walked away, and as soon as he drove off, I realized what I’d done. I didn’t want to go to the rinkydink airport in the middle of a corn field where the air traffic controller is a Mexican waving around two carrots, I wanted to go to MITCHELL…where they don’t even have the carrots. I attempted to run after the bus again, but my suitcase flipped off the curb and I nearly went flying over it…so I decided to just wait for the next one.

My bus driver was, well, a character. He made it quite clear that he didn’t want to be driving the bus, but if he “fucks it up enough, they won’t ask [him] to do it again.” Within a minute of pulling away from the station, he claimed to be lost. Angry and befuddled: I hadn’t realized that John McCain drives buses these days. He alternated between cursing at the road and traffic and construction workers, and having a conversation with the dude across the aisle from me, who was gnawing down on an entire pizza and explaining the intricacies of operating Walgreens stores, and that Pick & Save had bought out Jewel-Osco and blah blah blah. This was a guy who took his grocery and drug stores SERIOUSLY.

The first stop was at the Brat Stop in Kenosha–I was surprised to see that the nearby outlet mall had been knocked down, as I remembered how big of a deal that mall was when it was first built, which doesn’t seem to be all that long ago to me, but I suppose is something like twenty years ago now. True story: during one of their tent sales in the late 80s/early 90s, I bought a black t-shirt with the word ‘NOT!’ printed on it in bright neon bubble puff-paint letters, which I wore with one of those t-shirt ties that easily facilitated stretching out and wrinkling your clothing on one side. Oh yeah, you bet I was cool!

While we stopped at the Brat Stop, I asked the driver if we could also swing by Mars Cheese Castle, and that’s when he finally perked up. “Yeah, we should go on a big shopping trip! That’s one thing you don’t have to ask me to do twice, I love shopping,” which were honestly the last words I expected to hear coming from him.

Eventually, we arrived at Mitchell airport, I hopped off, grabbed my suitcase, and hopped into the car with bellachiara6, who went on to cook me One Damn Fine Macaroni & Cheese. We then watched what may be the worst Bruce Campbell movie of all time, and then I crashed out for the night at something like 9pm.

Day one: fin

13 Comments Wisconsin: Day One

  1. apestyle October 23, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    We then watched what may be the worst Bruce Campbell movie of all time,

    …what Spider-Man 3?

    1. admin October 23, 2008 at 6:32 pm

      “The Man with the Screaming Brain”. NOT RECOMMENDED.

  2. scearley October 23, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Here’s what is ridiculous about TSA checks –

    If I go through with something that can be a serious problem, like, say a gun or knife, then you can be sure that there will be a large heavily armed man at the other side of the security checkpoint waiting for me to take me away for at least a while.

    If I go through security with a tube of, say, denture cream, they confiscate it and throw it away, and….send me away. There are no legitimate repercussions for ‘violating’ the security in that manner. So I’m left to make notes and report on it. “Denture cream didn’t work this time, try again in Memphis!”

    Obviously I’ve had my troubles with TSA in the past. And obviously when I do things like point out that they had a retard (a legitimately retarded person, not just me calling names) working security at the Denver Airport. Especially one who insisted on talking to me about how much better board games are than video games.

    1. stationary_jew October 23, 2008 at 7:40 pm

      Denture cream wouldn’t work in Memphis, because people who have dentures will starve to death while trying to deal with ribs without permanent teeth. Such people will never make it back to the airport, so that tube can’t possibly be dental cream. So what’s really in there, ma’am?

      1. admin October 23, 2008 at 8:40 pm

        Hemorrhoid cream. 🙁

    2. admin October 23, 2008 at 8:39 pm

      I had to argue that my makeup products were solids and not creams. Is it a crime to want to look presentable? Potentially. Especially if you’re also wearing a turban.

      1. scearley October 23, 2008 at 9:21 pm

        I don’t understand. It is as if they have not, by this point, already seen EVERY GOD DAMNED VERSION OF COSMETICS AVAILABLE ON THE PLANET EARTH. Who can tolerate stopping and having someone justify it each. god. damn. time???? What kind of mental state are these “security agents” in? How do they not go batshit insane? Are they all buddhists? Or just morons? Both?

        1. admin October 23, 2008 at 10:10 pm

          My guess is that turnover is high, because you and I can’t be the only people who give them shit.

          1. xaotica October 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm

            i never give them shit but solely because after years of working customer service i feel sorry for them. everybody hates the retarded security restrictions enforced by our post-911 government which don’t really make anything safer for anyone and solely serve to make the airline travel experience miserable for everyone involved.

          2. admin October 24, 2008 at 8:08 pm

            I justify my wrath by remembering the swath of christmas presents that TSA destroyed out of my bags and never paid the claim.

  3. poetrix618 October 24, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    I looove that bus driver…and the summary of the bus conversation is priceless! It really is different in the midwest.

    I was listening to a Steeler game on KDKA (a local Pittsburgh station) last weekend, and just the commercials were enough to give me an idea how different it is there: a commercial for the coal industry, a call for union membership, and a PSA for local women’s shelters. (Yet Pittsburgh still made it into MSN’s list of the most recession-proof cities–go figure.)

    Oh, and speaking of busses, WTF was a Seattle Metro bus doing full at 4 AM?! There’s your proof: Seattle hates the poor and/or carless. When people have to get on a slumberbus to get to work on time, that means we need more busses and hours of service.

    (But you know my soap box well…)

    1. admin October 24, 2008 at 8:14 pm

      Every Wisconsin station seems to have ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ on a constant loop.

    2. admin October 24, 2008 at 8:18 pm

      Also! There is a measure we’re voting on in November to raise funds for increased bus service and expanded light rail service; it will raise the price of car tabs ~$30 for every 10K worth of car value. I’m not certain why automobile owners should have to fund services they’re clearly not using but it seems worthwhile to me.

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