Best Worst Trip Ever, Part VI

If you’re just finding my “Best Worst Trip Ever” series of posts, be sure to read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.

Compared to the previous forty hours, the events of Wednesday, November 18, were pleasant.

In the morning, I showered, and then Marina drove me to the Porter stop on the Red line. At Downtown Crossing, I transferred to the Silver line without incident.


When you’ve spent the last forty hours oscillating between Murphy’s law—“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”—and a new law called “Austin’s law” that I discovered—“Anything that can go right will go right”—you no longer know which one to expect. All you can do is try to enjoy the journey, including its detours.

My U.S. Airways flight was scheduled to depart at 8:00am, and I made to the airport and through security with time to spare.


I boarded the flight and settled into my window seat, a relief after my interaction with Tony Soprano the day before.

After we taxied out onto the tarmac, the pilot came over the PA to inform us that due to a low ceiling in Charlotte, pilot-speak for bad weather and low visibility, we would be grounded until further notice, which translated into “You could be sitting in comfy seats in the terminal in close proximity to an abundance of food, beverages, and bathrooms but instead you get to tuck in your elbows and grapple with anxiety about missing your Charlotte connections.”

Ah, there it was. The wrench in the gears. The black fly in your chardonnay, as Alanis Morissette sang in my youth.

Welcome back, Murphy.

I’ll just read this book and pretend to be unconcerned.

We did actually take off a little over an hour later, which matched the pilot’s estimate. The flight attendant tried to reassure everyone that if our flight was delayed, other ones probably were too. We should be fine. People at the gate would help us find our connections as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, by the time we touched down in Charlotte and taxied to our gate, I had about eleven minutes before my next flight was supposed to take off.

I lost three minutes while people took their bags down from the overheard. When I’m about to miss a flight, I hate people’s smiles. They stop gathering up their things to say goodbye to their new best friends. “Yes, this is my last stop. Good luck to you too. Yes, it’s so nice to be home. I’m glad I don’t have another flight to catch.”

Flash wide, toothy grin. Ah, it’s so great to be me!

Disgusting. I want to punch their silly mouths. I feel a roar coming on. I will walk over bodies to get out of this wretched plane.  I will use profanity, humiliation, and violence. I will threaten your spouses and children. I will crush your spirit.

If your beefy face and Samsonite carry-on don’t disappear within the next three seconds, then you’d better pray that I don’t get ahold of a meal tray and pot of coffee.

Get moving, you miserable, vomitous mass, before I roll up this copy of SkyMall.

The twits at the front of the plane continue to move in slow motion, but finally disembark.

My turn.

I already know my gate, and I am running as soon as I cross the threshold of the terminal.

When I reach the desk, two U.S. Airways personnel, a man and a woman, look up at the same time.

“Mr. Church?” the man asks.

“Yes. Did I miss the flight?”

“You’d better hurry,” he says and smiles.

People shoot me dirty looks as I walk the center aisle.

Whatever. I don’t control the weather, only my response to cretins like you.

My seat is on the next to last row. Window again.

I was the very last person on the plane. Austin’s law in effect. Thank you, Jesus.

The pilot puts the plane into reverse. The middle seat is empty. I strike up conversation with the woman in the aisle seat. Her husband was supposed to be sitting in the middle seat, but he broke his leg. Her family is spending the week at the all-inclusive Sandals resort on the opposite side of the island from The Tuscany on Grace Bay.

She’s very nice and not too talkative: the perfect two-hour friend.

I’m so relieved to be on a plane headed to Providenciales that I don’t sleep. Statistics are on my side: we won’t crash. I take out my laptop and read all the Tuscany materials again. I type nine pages of notes and to-dos.

I look out the window and realize I have nothing else to worry about. I started feeling so good that I ordered some chicken-flavored ramen noodles for $3.

Word to the wise: When traveling to Turks and Caicos, don’t check the “Business” box on the customs card unless you have a visa.

No one had signed any documents or transferred funds, but I still felt like I was on business. Besides, I had never been “on business” in another country, and I felt important. That is, until the woman asked for my visa then called over her manager.

They discussed my lack of appropriate documentation while I stood there and listen. I told them I was a writer here to do research, which was true.

Do you realize that your Premier was recently ousted, that your country stands on the brink of bankruptcy, and that the U.K. is now attempting to clean up systemic corruption?

So I checked the wrong box, what’s the hassle?

They made a note in the computer that I was a “Business Visitor” and told me I wasn’t allowed to work while on the island.

Perfect. I’ll just talk to people and work on my sunburn instead.

I walked outside, and Paul Hassell and Elizabeth Campbell were waiting. I’ve never been happier to see two people in my life. We drove the fifteen minutes to the Tuscany. I’ve spent time in 20 countries in my 27 years, and the beach outside of the Tuscany was the prettiest beach I’ve ever seen. What a ride.


I finally arrive at Providenciales International Airport.

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