Das Boot
BlogHer: Night One

Dispatches From the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

Well. I am here in California. I survived two flights, including the Scariest Connection Ever at the L.A. airport, where I was quite literally herded out towards a dumpster on the side of a runway and told in Spanish to wait for a bus, a bus that was labeled with every airline that WAS NOT THE AIRLINE I NEEDED, but everyone who looked sort of official just kept nodding and pointing at the bus and I actually thought for a few minutes that I was going to be deported.

I was not deported. In case you were wondering. I am, as I said, here in California. I don't know if das boot is off my car (we had more than two unpaid parking tickets more than 30 days old is what we did, only replace "two" with "seven" and "30 days" with "assorted lengths of time, topping maybe five months or so"), my hotel room smells funny and I don't understand how to work the shower.

I am going to go find the bar. Here is something I wrote many, many hours ago, when the day was young and runway dumpsterless, at the airport in Washington, DC.

All checked in. As usual, I'm ridiculously early, nervous as all hell and regretting my choice of travel clothes.

I'm not a nervous flyer. I'm a nervous traveler. I am a nervous airporter.

Oh. My God. I hate airports. 

I'm actually the person who calms down once I’m on the plane, because that’s the only way I'm satisfied that I really, really won't miss my damn flight.

So I show up hours earlier than I have to and quietly freak out at the sight of any lines, because OMG LINES WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. I'm always totally fascinated by those people who are cutting it so close they have to get called to the front of the check-in line in order to make their flight -- how are they not weeping? Pushing and fighting and biting their way through the crowd and knocking small children over with their luggage?

And also, how dare they get to cut in front of me. You might make me miss my flight, motherfucker. You know, the one that's four hours from now.

The thing is, I've never missed a flight in my entire life, except for one connection in Florida that I knew full well that I was going to miss before I boarded the first flight, yet tried to run for it anyway and then ended up nearly missing my back-up connection, and I would go into more detail about that exercise in terror except that I have a sneaking suspicion that I wrote about it when it happened, like DUDE. I've been blogging so long I've officially run out of fresh life experience to draw from.

Also, talking about that story is bad luck because I have a connection in L.A. today and I may have jinxed myself now and gaaaaaah I will not relax until I’m on THAT flight and that’s not for many more damn hours and I have no Valium.

We also aren't even going to talk about what a wreck I’ll be the first time I fly anywhere with Noah, mostly because the logistics make me twitch but also because WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT NOAH WHOSE SLEEPING, DOWNY HEAD I KISSED GOODBYE THIS MORNING AND WAAAAH.

I'm actually kicking it old school right now, as I'm scribbling all this nonsense down on an actual paper notebook so as to save my laptop battery for the flight.

I hate writing longhand, as my handwriting is really, really slow and I'm invariably tripping over thoughts for three sentences later and I just can't keep up. Plus, when I go to retype it, I'm always a little embarrassed. There's just something about seeing my words written out in my awful chickenscratch that reminds me of the terribly earnest and just plain terrible writing I did back in high school and college.

Plus, I'm balancing the notebook on my lap and my hand is cramping.

There's an empty table over there in the food court, but it's more than my approved safety zone of five feet from my gate and therefore unacceptable as I could totally miss the call for boarding.

The one that should be coming any hour now.



ohhh i have never commented before, and i am probably only doing it now cuz i think i might be first

but anyways,

you are pretty funny i must say. i do chuckle

and you have a cute kid, but not as cute as my nephew of course.

Y from the internet

So, what are you wearing tonight?

Also, man, if you had been deported, that would have been the greatest blog entry EVER.


HAHA. I'm the exact same way at airports. Once, when flying back to CA from TN, I was five hours early. Five. Hours. And I was still freaking out about missing my flight.

Have fun in my home state!


I love love love the Noah Flickr pictures. I just love looking at that little guy and his gorgeousness.


If I have a direct flight, I'm usually pretty chill. If I have a connecting flight and I don't think the window between flights is large enough, I start getting agitated and combative hours in advance. Like, I'll say to my husband, "If we miss this flight, those motherfuckers best be putting us in first class on the very next one and give me good cookies once we're on the plane!"

Also, the thing I don't like about the actual flying is that sometimes during takeoff and landing the pressure in my ears builds too much and I can't pop it. We were coming home from Orlando in March and as soon as we started our descent (which was like, a half hour from landing) the pressure started. I was crying with my head in my lap and trying furiously to pop my ears. I was pushing on them, chewing gum and doing the overexaggerated swallowing bit. Nothing. So I just cried all the way and scared a toddler. And probably the few people in front of me, with my "make it stop! no more!"

Anyway, you'll be fine! Have fun!

Wacky Mommy

YAY you're on the west coast with me! I'm going to make us raspberry vodkas right now, to celebrate. Well, only I'm in Oregon and you're in Cali. But you know what I mean. Glad you made it...

Anne Glamore

You should travel with my husband. We'd both me a lot happier.

Have fun!

Anne Glamore

BE a lot happier. I'VE already started the gin and tonics.


I've recently arrived in the 'Ho (San Jose to the rest of ya'll) myself, albeit via automobile rather than plane (hey, were there any motherfucking snakes on board??). Glad you survived the wait and the dumpster scene. :)

Tomorrow: BLOGHER!


ohh, I'm an early-arriver too. I MUSt get to the airport like 4 hours early. and I'm nervous anytime I walk away from the gate, even though i have THREE HOURS AND FIFTY-NINE MINUTES of waiting... :) So I get you, Amalah. :) You're not alone. ;)


Missing your connection is really fun if you've spent the last 48 hours awake (and freaking out), 19 of those hours in assorted airports on two different flights, with no blog to vent on and ALL ALONE and perhaps throwing up a little from the tired, the food, and the stress.
...I've heard.


Enjoy your trip. You are going to have a great time.

Are you sure we arent seperated at birth I totally have the same anxiety about missing the flight. Must be there hours before any other people as not to miss the flight!


I've been lurking for over a year now and it's exciting to know that AMALAH is in Cali, where I am! Enjoy and drink something for me (preferably liquor and not Pepto, though I guess one would be a sign of a fun night out and the other a sign of the result of said night...)


I flew a lot growing up and did miss a connection in Chicago from PHILA due to fog. I was a bit nervous being 16 and stranded halfway between home and Seattle.

Otherwise, I alwys kind of liked the adreneline from having to run to my gate to make the connecting flight.

Later this year, husband and I will be visiting my brother in FL using guest passes. Which means if we are even able to get out of Seattle we could then be trapped indefinitely in FL. I think that will be nerve wracking.

By the way, have an awesome time!! Can't wait to hear all about it. And please -- drunk posts would be lovely!!


I used to be a nervous traveler. Then, my wife got a job at an airline.


If blogher gets boring (which it won't, bear with me here) I will gladly make the 5 hour drive from Reno to San Jose just to hang out with you. Just email me. Or call. Or drop by the blog, you know, whatever. Or if your flight back gets routed to the Reno airport! Anything! This is the closest you have ever been to my general vicinity!

hah ha haaaa deported.


I understand the nervous airport shit and all the security measures have amped my nerves beyond calculation ... only I am just as nervous on the plane. I'm pretty sure if I move one muscle the whole plane is going down. I got into a fist fight once with a mother whose child was terrorizing everyone in my aisle. And I never get angry and have never had even a public argument with anyone. And when I stood up to clock the bitch I caught my pocket on the arm of the seat and ripped the ass out of my pants.

I hate flying ... there has got to be a better way.


I'm one of those people who cuts it close when flying. Mostly because I usually hope/wish/pray that I will miss it. I never do. Wah.


THE ROOM SMELLS FUNNY?!?!?! i am staying there and i do NOT want a smelly fucking room. do i bring scented candles or what?!?!?!


I agree with Y - while it would be a horrible experience, being deported = great blog material. Glad you made it okay and I hope you figure out how to work the shower. Try pulling down on the part of the faucet where the water comes out. That's what the last hotel shower I used did and it confused the hell out of me before I finally figured it out. Then I didn't tell my husband how to work it just so I could see him be confused. I'm horrible, no?


You so need a top that says "You know I'm gonna be writing about this on my website."

I'm a relaxed airport-er. I lurrrrve airports. I used to get a little bit finicky about not leaving the gate once I found it though. I had a changeover in Colorado once that was pretty close though - I'm from New Zealand and we had an hours stopover or something in Colorado while flying around the States. We went to ride on the trains they have at Denver airport and ended up at a totally different terminal and had to get back in 20 minutes by the trains. That was a little scary.


Oh my God. I am always terrified I will miss the flight until I am also physically ON THE PLANE. Even then I get a bit scared that someone could be booked for my seat and OMG what if they took me off the flight? That actually happened, but they didn't take me off the flight, they just moved me to first class which was awesome, and it was for a 12 hour flight so was even more awesome. I keep missing flights now because of delays and connections. It is ticking me off.


You would have totally not done well with my family when we flew from Shannon to London to make our connecting flight home to Chicago earlier this month.

And let me say that I am very much like you - I've considered spending the night at the airport just so I can make sure I make my flight that doesn't leave until 2 p.m., and I live mere minutes from O'Hare!

Nothing But Bonfires

The first time I missed a flight, it was like THE WORLD ENDED. I specifically remember wailing and banging on the glass that separated me from the waiting airplane outside, WHICH I COULD SEE VERY PLAINLY HAD NOT LEFT YET. And yet they would still not let me on it! And because I missed the first flight from Charleston to Detroit, it was also fairly obvious that I was thus also going to miss my connecting flight from Detroit to SINGAPORE, which meant I had to go home, go to sleep, get up in the morning and come BACK to the airport and do the whole thing all over again. My cats were so pissed with me for messing with them.

And here is the worst part: when I missed that plane, I had already BEEN AT THE AIRPORT FOR THREE HOURS.


Delurking! to say, Welcome to the Bay Area, Miss Amalah! We are glad you are here. :) You all just missed the yucky heat wave and have arrived in time for a lovely cooling trend.

Have fun at Blogher. I'll be at work, then practicing for acting class, so I will be jealous of you all getting to hang out and talk and stuff.

If you get a chance, swing by SF. Sweet shopping and sites up here!

mary margaret

HaHaHaHaHa! Delurking here to tell you that indeed it is hard to be apart from your BABY (even if said baby is 22 or 19, or whatever--STOP LAUGHING AT ME!) Seriously, have a great time--Noah will be so glad to see you when you return. I promise!


Wow! If I was ever that early for a flight I would have to drink gallons of airport coffee in order to ensure not falling asleep at the gate. Because if you fall asleep, they don't wake you up and you miss your flight! (just ask my sister-in-law).

mama kelly

glad you made it safe and sound and only somewhat frazzled

have a wonderful time

I personally can't wait to read all about it and then pretend I was at BlogHer too

Mama Kelly


I understand completely. I've got a flight in one month and I'm freaking out about it already. I spend the hours when I should be sleeping mentaly packing and running through worst case senarios, like what happens if the public buses go on strike AND all the taxis break down AND the subway stops working? What then? How will I get to the airport then? I know! a bike. I will buy a bike and cycle the 14 kms to the airport. It's not the flying that freaks me out it is catching the plane/train/bus/taxi.
The worst part? I'm a travel agent.


I am the same way, the early arriver. My husband, on the other hand, is a nervous flyer. We're quite the pair.

A couple months ago we were in the Boise airport, flying back home (Las Vegas). We got there really early, like usual, and were waiting by the gate when some person asked us what our vacation plans for Vegas were. We told them that we were actually going home and a group of people surrounded us like we were on display. "Oooh... look, these people actually live in Las Vegas. And they don't even work at casinos!" Too weird.


Geez - and I thought I was a bad airport traveler. When traveling - I must leave for the airport exactly 4 hours before my flight is scheduled to depart. And I only live 12 minutes from the airport! And I too am totally anxious until I am seated on the plane.

Have a great time in CA!


Our airport behavior is identical. I am reminded of the time that I was flying with a friend who decided it was time to mosey off to the bathroom just as the plane started boarding. When the plane is boarding, you GET IN LINE THAT VERY INSTANT. YOU DO NOT TAKE A SHIT. YOU SAVE SAID SHIT FOR THE PLANE. He just didn't get it. It was a year ago and I am still pissed. As a matter of fact, emboldened by your post, I think I hate him.

Daily Tragedies

Oh Lord, I am a compulsive must-not-stop-for-anything-until-I-am-safely-at-the-gate person.

And then I realize it's 5 am, I need my coffee and to pee. So then I leave the gate, CAREFULLY, and get my caffeine from the nearest vendor. And then immediately return to the gate, lest they decide to start boarding soon, despite the fact that our aircraft is actually still airborne and three states away.

Once on the plane, I promptly put on my headphones and fall asleep. All that worrying is exhausting!


I view airports JUST. LIKE. YOU. I also don't mind asking any stray person wearing ANY kind of uniform for help. I usually start every question with the phrase, "Hey...I'm a complete idiot and I'm terrified to fly and before I take my flying medication and drink these two martinis, could you tell me how to....?"


You know, I am not a nervous traveler at all UNTIL I am at the airport, then, like you, I have to have visual contact with the sign at my gate that says when its leaving, boarding, etc. And they don't serve cocktails at the gate.

So I bring wine in a sports bottle. :) It's brilliant. then I am drunk, relaxed AND have visual contact with my gate. hee!


I'm here too. My flight was delayed and I hate this hotel but don't tell anyone because I dont want anyone to think I'm a snobby bitch.

But dude. It STINKS.

Ms. Huis Herself

I delurking to say I am so with you all about the nervous airport syndrome. I recently flew from Ireland (where we live now) to MN and back... alone... with a 22 month old.

Now THAT is when you really start panicking and wondering about making the connection in crazy Chicago O'Hare of the many terminals and having to go through security again any time you change from one to another! 'Cuz while you've got lots of toys, presents, books, diapers, clothes, snacks, juice boxes, etc. along... you just don't know if it'll be enough if you miss that connection (ARGH!)!

(Fortunately for us, even though our first plane was so late that it left us only an hour to switch terminals, go through security again, and find our gate before our next flight left, that second flight was also delayed... by 3 hours. I was so happy!)


Glad to know I'm not the only one who is always painfully early and always, ALWAYS freaking out about missing out.

Paranoia is love!



Too funny! I discovered, 13 long years ago, that I am a nervous train stationer. I was gloriously in Europe for a three-week vacation with a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend and a Eurail pass. And a screaming case of the jittery heart palpitations until we were on each. and. every. train. the whole time. Which meant about 15 episodes of high anxiety. Including the time we literally had to dash for the train in Venice and forgot to pay for our ticket down the Grand Canal.

I'd do it all again in a second.


Oh, and I *totally* need Ativan to fly. I'm just like you about the airport and the gate only with the fear of flying on top. Can't wait for August (flying to Detroit)!

Silly Hily

I love to fly but, like you, I get a little anxious while waiting at the airport. Maybe it's the anticiption I have for the upcoming flight. Don't know. Glad you made it there safely.
You thought you were going to get deported? Baa-haa-haaaa!


Do you bring a snack for the airport - you know, while you're waiting for your flight to even hit the big board? I do. I also sit and worry that my flight might not hit the big board at the actual gate I've been told to wait at and that it'll be moved to a gate at the other end of the airport on a whole other concourse that you have to navigate a shuttle to get to that is never running on schedule so I never really settle in for that wait for the boarding call.
I hope (for my sake, not yours I really wouldn't wish this on anyone) that maybe you're that kind of neurotic like me.

Real Girl

I completely feel you on writing longhand. I realized a couple months ago that my pen-in-hand writing skills have devolved to chimpanzee status.

I'm always SO embarrassed when I have to sign my novel for anyone. I feel like instantly apologizing for my monkey handwriting.

Have a GREAT time at the conference, and I can't wait to hear more!


You're only an hour away from me right now, drive to Sacramento and stay in my good smelling house and I'll make lemon drops!

I have to tell you I'm a total hotel snob and I would be SO grossed out about now.

I was going to blogher but we have to fly to L.A. this weekend--wish me luck that I don't have any dumpster incidents.

Teacher Lady

I love exploring new places, and BlogHer sound so exciting but I hate "travel". The actual getting somewhere. Which is why I never go anywhere. I am so lame. But this is about you. Have fun!


I travel the exact same way. Must arrive ridiculously early. Prefer to be dropped off as hate goodbyes so spend a lot of time sitting alone trying to read but always nervously checking for my boarding pass every 15 minutes. Go to the bathroom like 5 times because must pee before flight to avoid plane bathroom. And must, must, must definitely be at the gate or within sight and sound of gate so I don't miss the boarding call in an hour. Thank god I am not the only one.


Delurking to say I am so with you guys. Only I will not relax until the plane is actually in the air. Because there's nothing worse than actually sitting in the plane for over an hour and then having to get off again wait for another 6 until the replacement comes in....


Wow! I never knew so many people had my same neuroses about travelling. I actually have nightmares about packing and missing planes, etc. I'm a total freak in airports. My husband is designing a Tshirt that says, "Type-A People: Making Travel Horrible for Everyone." Not kidding. I feel your pain!


OMG you just mentioned deportation. As I am in the middle of my own drama about having to deal with the US INS to get my work permit that they never ever EVER turn anyone down for (TN status for Canadian RNs), but I just know that they are going to refuse me. Just because it's me. And because they have to set some kind of record for refusing one, ya know?

The INS terrifies me. TERR I FY.

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