Monday, April 14, 2008

Live blogging the food court at Orlando International Airport

Live blogs from most major media outlets (FLORIDA TODAY isn't major) are pointless and wrought with unnecessary punctuation. I decided to join the cacophony. This is my foray into live blogging (the over-usage of exclamation points)!

8:37 p.m. Co-worker (and friend) Beth needs a ride home from the airport. She's flying in from Kansas City, Mo., via Charlotte, N.C., on US Airways flight 1719 after the national conference of ACES. Before she went airborne, she didn't call and let me know when her flight was due in Orlando, so I, of course, got to the airport two hours early. At the start of this live blog, though, we're less than an hour away from arrival. Her flight gets here at 9:30. So I'm trying to pass the time on The Offlede as my car racks up a charge in the Terminal B parking garage, Level 1, Row A. Don't let me forget that! When I got back from my trip to Denver, I went to the wrong garage. That won't happen this time!

8:49 p.m. I'm a bit slow doing this live blog because of the lack of technology. I brought all of my cameras, but I forgot the cables to get photos off them. So instead, I'm using my poor Motorola Razr phone to take photos and post them to my blog. I'll be back when I figure this out!


8:54 p.m.
I bet you were able to figure out from the above photo that I figured it out (how to send picture messages on my phone). I had to change the entry method on the message. Instead of entering a number address, I had to enter a letter address in order to send it to my e-mail. The photo is of my almost-finished mound of pad thai purchased, with a Diet Coke, from the Zyng Asian Grill in the food court for a hefty $12.12. Maybe if they made the portion size a little more reasonable, the price would be more reasonable, too. $12.12 is a nice number, though, so my budget and I will let it slide. But I've made better pad thai myself. They didn't even cook the carrots and bean sprouts (I removed many of them, as you can see in the upper left of my food tray). Fortunately, they did cook the chicken, but it was $2 extra. I hadn't eaten all day, so I ate the entire mound. I feel sick!

9:02 p.m. A few airport workers are speaking Spanish as they clean around the bar-style eating area where I'm sitting. They're looking at me like I'm weird, probably because I was taking photos of my lackluster food. I whispered, "I know what they're saying," to myself in hopes they would hear me and stop. I don't think they did because they're not stopping!

9:05 p.m. Another technical glitch. I'm trying to figure out why the line spacing in this post is abnormally generous. I don't like it. It's not compact enough. It makes the post look longer than it is. Anyone know Blogger better than I do?!

9:06 p.m. Here's the breakdown of that ripoff of a pad thai plate:
  • Server: James
  • Time: 7:48 p.m.
  • 1 PAD THAI BWL - 6.99
  • w/CHIX - 2.00
  • 1 COKE BTL 20oz - 2.39
  • SUBTOTAL - 11.38
  • TAX - 0.74
  • VISA - 12.12!
9:09 p.m. Security guard just ran by whispering loudly (or yelling softly) into his radio, "Third floor. Third floor!"

9:11 p.m. I just felt like posting at 9:11 ... because I'm at an airport!


9:18 p.m. One janitor takes out the trash in the above photo. Another tries to get a few peeks at my screen. I must look super creepy right now. The good thing about a camera phone is that it's a bit more discreet than a regular one. The bad thing is that it sucks!

9:28 p.m. Plane is almost here. I guess. I haven't checked the arrival time or gate. There are three janitors surrounding me now. Should I move? I'm beginning to fear for my life!


9:29 p.m. The food court has a fish tank. With fish! It's a big cylinder of water in the middle of the action (janitors cleaning and a few people eating). This place is actually quite quiet at 9:29 at night. That's sleepy Florida for ya!

9:32 p.m. An annoying masculine voice keeps booming over the intercom system: Your attention, please. The Department of Homeland Security would like to remind you of the elevated threat level. It is currently at orange. ... Don't leave your baggage unattended. ... Report unattended baggage. ... Blah blah blah. .... The carriage of liquid gels and aerosols is prohibited through the security gate except for 3-ounce bottles in one clear quart-size plastic bag. (The limit is actually 3.4 ounces, according to the TSA agent who confiscated The Offlede's 3.5-ounce bottle of cologne Sunday in Denver. Interestingly, it made it through security in Orlando before the flight to Denver.)!


9:47 p.m. The Offlede has used his expert journalistic skills to expose airport pad thai as a sure trip to the airport bathroom. In an attempt to reduce the graphic nature of such a disgraceful abuse of the public's trust in food, the above photo is just of the sinks the men's room, rather than the business end of it!

9:51 p.m. The janitor is mopping around my feet and over my laptop power cord. Where is Beth? Get me out of here! I cannot get my feet wet! I'm in an airport!

9:54 p.m. It should be noted that this is the first blog post on The Offlede that has gone unedited for such a long time. I apologize for all the errors. All entries were written without a single edit. If I had more time, I would have looked up style questions such as, "Should the 'thai' in 'pad thai' be capitalized when it refers to a food that has no obvious connection in looks or taste to the country of Thailand?"!

9:57 p.m. I'm too lazy to get off my butt and check the arrival-departure status boards. Instead, I checked the airport's Web site for Beth's flight. Here's the line: USAirways - 1719 - Charlotte - Mon 21:31 - Mon 21:40 - Arrived - 20 - 57. Beth has to claim her checked baggage before texting me. But the plane is nine minutes late. What's the deal? This is yet another airport disgrace! US Airways will be the next to go bankrupt!

10:02 p.m. McDonald's, Sbarro and Chick-Fil-A are the only restaurants still open. Nice to know you can't eat great, even late. Where's Dave Thomas when you need him?!

10:04 p.m. I'm beginning to wonder what Beth will think when she reads this post!

10:04:30 p.m. I'm beginning to wonder why the line spacing has gone back to normal generosity. It looks better, though. Life is good!

10:06 p.m. The team at Facebook just informed me via e-mail that I have been tagged in a photo of the ACES national conference in Denver. 'Tis great to feel a sense of belonging when all the janitors at Orlando International Airport hate my guts!

10:09 p.m. I just realized that it is my brother's birthday. I should have called. He must not have that same sense of belonging I just achieved!

10:10 p.m. Hey, 10:10! It's almost like my pad thai bill ($12.12). But this time, it's time, and it's tens!

10:11 p.m. OK. Seriously. Where's Beth. Growing impatient!

10:12 p.m. It seems that they have turned down the heat in here for the night. It's a chilly 70 degrees outside! I'm going to freeze my butt off in here if they don't turn the heat back on! Yet another disgrace!

10:16 p.m. Beth sent me a ton of text messages. I didn't hear my phone buzz. Oops!
  • 9:53: Going to baggage
  • 10:02: Bag soon, at 20 (gate)
  • 10:15 p.m. Where are you?
10:17 p.m. Called Beth. She was outside waiting in the cold. Poor Beth. She's coming in now to meet me in the food court. Less walking for me is good!


10:23 p.m. During my waning hours in the food court, I feel like eating a nice and hot glazed doughnut. Oh, but wait! Krispy Kreme is closed! Yet another disgrace!

10:24 p.m. I found out why I didn't hear Beth's text messages. I had turned my phone ringer to "All Off." Yet another oops!

10:25 p.m. "Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention please." I'm getting fed up with that stupid security warning every 30 seconds. I hate this food court! I hate this airport! Beth, WHERE ARE YOU? Perhaps I should go look for her.?!

10:28 p.m. I see Beth over near Sbarro. Should I say something? She looks like she's looking for someone!


10:29 p.m. I snap my fingers to get her attention. How rude, me thinks. Beth doesn't seem happy. She won't let me take her picture, so I photograph her baggage. Yay!


10:35 p.m.
We take the elevator to "Ground Transportation," but it's not the "ground transportation" we're looking for: It's the rentals, not the parking garage. We backtrack and find the sign that says, "Parking." Who would have thought this was the correct way to the parking?!


10:44 p.m. Found my car with relative ease. In the spirit of full disclosure, this was taken with my Canon point-and-shoot digital and taken off the camera after getting home!

10:46 p.m. $11 is the damage for parking in the garage for just more than three hours. Got gouged at the food court and again in the airport toll lane!

10:47 p.m.
The eastbound on-ramp onto the Beachline to Brevard County (home) is closed by the Florida Highway Patrol because of construction by the Florida Department of Transportation. Glad to see our state agencies collaborating to cost the general public even more money. I had to go west, pay $1.25 toll, take the next exit, go back east and pay another $1.25 at the same toll booth. I'm sending the FHP and FDOT the bill for $2.50. They will take years to figure out how to split it. Joke's on them!

10:56 p.m. Beth tells me during the trip home that I was lame at the Denver conference. I wasn't lame: I was SICK. I don't have much fat on my bones, so the cold tends to get to me. But with that pad thai tonight, I'm working on upping my fat content!


10:22 p.m. I'm relying on the GPS unit to get to Beth's friend's house in the sticks of Port St. John, where her car has been sitting since last Monday!


10:23 p.m. Among the circuitous back roads of PSJ, a Brevard County gah-hetto (ghetto), are dozens of speed humps. As opposed to bumps, which are shorter and steeper, humps are longer and not as steep (go figure). They are both equally as annoying. I think humps are easier on the car, though!


10:54 p.m. I ran into a backlog on Interstate 95. A cop has an ess yoo vee pulled over near a traffic sign. The sign says that it's 15 miles and 15 minutes to the next exit. A minute per mile is the usual, free-flowing traffic rate. Brevard County must have these signs just for show because they definitely don't help commuters while they're stuck in traffic. Farther down the road, a cop has a bulldozer pulled over. I'm not kidding!


11:25 p.m.
I took my time, but I finally get to Wal-Mart. It was the plan to go to the airport, pick up Beth, get to Wally World before 9 and return a movie rental to avoid a late fee. Thanks to an inaccurate traffic sign, a nine-minute flight delay, a blocked highway on-ramp and indigestion from pad thai, I'm stuck with the $1 fine. What a disgrace!



Anonymous said...

In fairness, here's my side of the scoop.

8:37: Pretty sure I told you before leaving when my flight would arrive, but I also remember giving you the flight number and landing time when I called you from the Charlotte airport.

9:28: Most people check the arrival time and gate. So many did that I scanned the crowd for you when I saw all those folks assembled. Silly me, I thought you'd even bring flowers like one guy, or at least a ray of sunshine.

9:47: About the time I was walking through the gate and looking for that familiar face of yours.

9:51: Walking down the escalator.

9:53: Sending a text message to alert you to pull up to the curb if you're circling.

10:02: Sending a text message to remind you to pull up to the curb if you're circling.

10:11: Sending you another text message because where are you and I've seen the MiniCooper drive by twice now. I'm getting agitated now; I'd really like to go home. Why aren't you answering your phone? Did I pass you but not see you because I'm not wearing my glasses?

10:16: I have to walk to you? What? I can't figure out how this map in the middle of the terminals relates to real space because I'm so tired. Does that line represent the escalator or the moving sidewalk? Why the hell can't you just walk to me? You've had a day of rest!

10:25: I finally figure out how to get to the D$%$%&^ FE#$%^#$%^$%^ Sbarro to meet you. But I have to walk a damn mile with three heavy bags and two coats. And did I mention that I was tired? And why didn't you come look for me? Why is it always about you?!?!?!?!

10:28: Everything's a little fuzzy without glasses, but I should be able to recognize you. Why do I have to walk around this entire food court? Why can't you see me? You said Sbarro; where is it? Too bad Krispy Kreme is closed; a hot doughnut would rally my mood.

10:29: You were snapping? I thought you were waving. I'm tired, hungry, pissed off and want to go home. I want to see my cat. Let's go. What do you mean take my picture? I want to go now. Why did you sit all the way back here, so far away from my gate? I don't care how long it took you to find an outlet. Unplug, for gods sakes!

10:23: Speed bumps.

10:54: Obviously your phone is still turned off. I called to ask if you had trouble on 95 around the Fiske exit, but you didn't answer. Why was I surprised?

10:56: Mandy said you were lame. I said it was odd that you were sticking to my side.

Sometime later when I was trying to fall asleep: Did I bring my heavy coat in? Did I leave it in the airport food court? I'll send a text message to Andrew ... who is calling right now to tell me the coat is in his car. How odd.

Andrew Knapp said...

Yeah, I rarely hear my phone in my car. I'm usually singing to loud music.

You said you were tired, but I didn't hear "hungry." We were in the food court! A missed opportunity! Horrible!

At least we all made it home.

As I said, we should do it again sometime. What are you doing Oct. 2?