Once there I was told that my flight was jam-packed and was asked if I wouldn't mind taking the 12:00 flight which still had 25 seats available. I agreed and THAT was the moment that everything else went to hell in a handbasket.
The TSA confiscated my makeup box, which has always flown in my carry-on luggage for the last 5 years.
Why is my makeup in my carry on bag? Because ALL of my costume is in my carry on bag!
If I get to town and my prop case doesn't arrive I can always head over to Home Depot or WalMart and scare up what I need to fill out two or three ring gags and some walkaround but if the costume, shoes, wig or makeup aren't there then I'm royally screwed, so they always fly with me. Those things can't be easily replaced in Anytown, USA.
Well, the makeup box doesn't fly with me anymore. It has been thrown into the trash in the interest of National Security. It's greasepaint, neither a liquid nor a gel, and all less than three ounce maximum.
Whatever. It sucks, but whatever. I can always go out and buy another box, brushes and makeup.
The gate for my flight changed three times before we finally were allowed to board. We left the gate and then sat on the runway for the next THREE hours before the pilot told us that the flight was being cancelled due to severe storms in Newark.
No one from American Airlines could be bothered to tell us anything more than "Try again tommorow."
Nothing about how to get on another flight. Nothing about how to retrieve our luggage. Nothing about who to call at American that MIGHT be able to answer our questions. Nothing.
I quickly realized that if NO planes were leaving Chicago for Newark for the rest of the day that getting a hotel room or flight was going to get really ugly, really quick. I tried to get a rental car and simply drive home but none of the car rental agencies at O'Hare allow that sort of thing.
So I grabbed my bags (more like stole them back as I got to them before American put them in their storage room, assuming that we'd all be giving American a chance to screw us over again on Wednesday) and caught a cab for the Amtrak station downtown. About an hour and fifteen minutes away from O'Hare in busy, rush hour traffic.
I was able to buy a ticket to a NY bound train that would more or less be taking a direct route (as appossed to the first train the agent offered which went from Chicago to NY by way of Washington DC and would require me to leave my prop case to be sent later as I was only allowed two pieces of luggage) that left Chicago at 10 PM, giving me 5 HOURS to sit in the bar and play trivia games since there in NO WiFi in Chicago's Amtrak station.
Five hours later I boarded the train, plugged in my iPod and tried to catch some sleep. Fat chance. You ever try to fall asleep on a passenger train? It ain't easy, even with a handful of Xanax.
So after not sleeping the night before, I spent another sleepless night on the slowest moving train in the Amtrak fleet, one that, after CRAWLING eastward across Ohio, Pennsylvania and Upstate NY, arrived a New York's Penn Station a staggering FOUR HOURS LATE!!!
Oh, and 19 hours into my trip I discovered that the train I was on had SLEEPING cars. Of course no one had bothered to tell me that when I purchased my ticket and now an upgrade was not available.
What a suckfest!
Something like this ALWAYS happens to me after the last show of the season. One year it was a blowout in the middle of nowhere in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, usually it's a late night speeding ticket from a hardass cop who spots my out-of-state plates. But it's always SOMETHING. I should just PLAN on a major headache following the end of a tour so that I can begin to take some level of pleasure in watching what new method fate has come up with for testing my spirit and resolve.
So to recap, 2 days of no sleep following a "nine pack" weekend. Three hours on a runway and then a slow, expensive cab ride to a slow, expensive train ride which really made me wonder if I couldn't have gotten there faster by jumping off the train and simply walking home from Chicago.
And I lost my makeup box.
SO REMEMBER KIDS:
1) Don't EVER fly American Airlines if you can avoid it. There is a reason they are less expensive. It's because they suck. Hard.
2) Don't fly with your makeup in your carry-on luggage. Make sure that you travel with the phone numbers of distributors you can rely on to FedEx you makeup and/or brushes overnight in the event that the airline loses your luggage.
3) Trains still have sleeper cars, remember to ask about them.
As for me, I'm going back to sleep.