Escape from New York and Southwest Airlines
In the 1980s, I repeatedly watched a recorded copy of “Escape from New York” on my family’s Panasonic VCR — complete with tuning knobs the size of caps.
Little did I know I’d be playing the movie version of myself (as a tamed, tattoo-less, slightly skinny version of Snake Plissken) on a recent vacation in the Big Apple.
Of course, my family and I chose to travel to New York City during one of the coldest Christmas seasons on record – so cold that even the subway rats were wearing The North Face.
One of our most exciting adventures while visiting NYC as a family of five was finding public restrooms, which apparently require reservations and require a tour guide. This may explain why, when nature calls, some people simply use the floor of subway stations.
The NYC subway system is a veritable masterpiece of all-encompassing filth – to the point where it makes my daughter’s biggest, most expensive bedroom look positively pristine (and that’s saying something). Every time we had to enter the subway, I felt compelled to apologize to my germs.
Despite the dirty and cold, however, I’m glad I finally made it to this iconic city and thawed my retinas enough to see the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the interior of several malls. of high-end retail where I melted my needles while my three teenage daughters asked for our credit cards.
Although getting to New York and going bankrupt was easy enough, leaving was a completely different matter.
On our drive from Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport for our departure, my wife checked our flight status online and informed me that our flight had been canceled. At first, I wasn’t too alarmed, assuming we could catch a later flight and undergo a more relaxed search in the TSA line.
However, when we saw the desperate crowd at the Southwest Airlines kiosk, I knew something was up and it wasn’t airplanes. We found out that all Southwest flights were canceled for the foreseeable future, and up until that point, we hadn’t received so much as a text message from the airline confirming the cancellation and offering us a monogrammed airsickness bag as consolation. .
And speaking of airsickness, as we neared the back of the customer service line, a mixed-race customer from Southwest rushed out of line to throw his New York cheesecake all over the check-in lobby (three times ). For a second, I thought the crowd might applaud him for expressing our collective feelings so succinctly. But no one seemed to notice much. (They had probably ridden the subway recently.) To make a long story short, we managed to finance another night in a hotel in NYC, booked an American Airlines flight to Arkansas for the evening next, we ate at Taco Bell twice, rented a car and drove to Dallas overnight to pick up our car, then headed home to East Texas and somehow survived it all – including Taco Bell.
The trip was truly an adventure that brought our family together through shared trauma, and we are still hoping that Southwest Airlines will reimburse us for our additional expenses. Maybe they’ll even throw in a monogrammed airsickness bag.
Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have appeared in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal and the Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected] sbcglobal.net.