This weekend the Weekend Warrior headed down to seminole country to watch the Hokies meet the noles in football, and to check out the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center (pictured), where the Hokies will conclude their basketball regular season slate with a game against the noles on Sunday, March 8th.
If you have seen the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, you basically have the story of my trip to florida state this weekend. And it didn’t get much better after I got there. I would rank it down there with the 1994 Gator Bowl trip as “worst… trip… ever!” Here’s the rundown…
Severe head cold starts setting in during the afternoon. This is great since I have a 7 AM flight on Friday.
5:30 AM – Adios, VA, sunny Florida here we come!
6:10 AM – Through the security line in record time and at my gate, nothing is stopping me now! Also, nothing is stopping my sinuses from getting worse.
7:00 AM – On the plane and pulling back from the gate! I should be at the pool all oiled up sipping bourbon-coladas by noon!
—and here marks the end of the fun part of my weekend—
7:01 AM – The pilot informs us that Atlanta has shut down all incoming traffic due to low visibility and light rain. We will be sitting on the tarmac for at least a half hour until the tower updates us. Considering we are supposed to land at 9 and my connection to Tallahassee leaves at 10, I’m concerned but not panicking yet.
7:35 AM – The pilot updates us by telling us that we will have to sit for another hour with 8:30 as the likely take off time. Considering this puts us in the ATL after my connection is supposed to leave, this seems to be a problem. But, being the optimist I am, I assume my next flight is being delayed also by this “low visibility and light rain”.
7:50 AM – I have now blown through (pun intended) the three Kleenex I brought with me with no end in sight. This is not good.
8:20 AM – I have begun using the air sick bag as a tissue. Not sure if I’m bleeding from my sinuses or paper cuts.
8:35 AM – Finally we are off the ground and headed to the Dirty South!
8:50 AM – I think I was dizzy from meds earlier but I am now noticing an extreme lack of Hokies on this flight. Granted, it isn’t going to Tallahassee, but I would have expected more. And there’s a group of six wahoo fans in front of me sucking back Bloody Marys. All of them appear to be in their 50′s. They seem to think they have a chance of winning at georgia tech, where they are a 14-point underdog. I don’t. Silly hoos! Question: Why does every male uva alum seem to be over the age of 50? Did anyone graduate from 1980 to now? Or is it just a front for elitism and no one actually goes there anymore?
9:00 AM – Dying to man up and have a cocktail, especially since the hoos are calling my bluff, but I can’t do it. The pressure from the flight and my cold has me about to explode. Defining moment: I decide I am not going to drink today and rest up for gameday tomorrow. Ouch. Hurts writing it. I’m hoping the warm Florida sunshine will help my sinuses.
10:35 AM – We are finally on the ground and to the gate in the ATL. I am 30 minutes past my scheduled take-off time for Tallahassee. I check the flight status on my cell phone and see that it has already taken off. Just great, my flight is delayed for 90 minutes because of Atlanta, but my flight out of Atlanta had no delays. There is a 11 AM I’m hoping I can catch.
10:50 AM – I am at the Delta Help Desk and the attendant scans my ticket for the flight I missed. Attendant: “They have you guaranteed on the 8 PM flight to Tallahassee tonight.” Me: “My ears must be clogged because I thought you just said 8 PM, which is nine hours from now.” Attendant: “I did say that.” Me: [mumbling] “I would punch you in the neck if there wasn’t security everywhere.”
11:00 AM – I’m on the phone with Delta. They are going to put me on standby for the 1:30 PM flight. Even the neighboring airports (by “neighboring” I mean Valdosta and Panama City, which are each over 60 miles away and probably the size of rental car shuttle) are booked solid. Who flies to Valdosta???
11:20 AM – I have my standby card. I go up to the gate and talk with an attendant or whatever they are called… gatekeeper? Me: “What number am I for standby?” Delta Dude: “You are #1 for people that missed flights.” Me: “That’s good!” Delta Dude: “But there are 10-20 people ahead of you that are booked on this flight but don’t have a seat assignment, so you are #11 at best.” Me: “That’s bad. How many seats are on this plane?” Delta Dude: “76″ Me: “I don’t like those odds.”
11:35 AM – I am regrouping at Chilis. A warm cup of soup has given me energy and has my sinuses flowing like a geyser. I am checking to see how much a one-way rental car to Tallahassee would be. The answer is $75, which is only $5 more than my rental car in Tallahassee for the weekend was going to cost me anyway (plus the gas for the drive down). That’s it, I’m doing it! I’m not sitting around an airport for 8 1/2 more hours with a head cold. So much for hitting the pool but I’m just 4 short hours away from a hotel bed.
11:45 AM – At the Dollar booth. I have just been informed a one-way rental would include a $70 airport return fee, bringing my total to $216. I am not amused. Before I tell the desk jockey to fornicate themself, she informs me that I’d have to book it online to get that other rate I saw. Really? So that’s how we are going to have to do it? OK, let’s get crazy. Time to take it up a notch!
11:47 AM – At an internet kiosk in the airport, paying $3.60 to book my rental car for $75 just like I thought. Take that, Delta! Take that, Dollar!
12:00 PM – I am now aware that it is pouring rain outside as I get dropped off at the off-site car rental facility.
12:03 PM – In line to get my car. The lady in front of me is trying to pay for her car in cash. This isn’t going well.
12:12 PM – Security has finally removed the lady and I’m walking to my car.
12:20 PM – On the road! Four hours to Florida! Same as driving from DC to VT on a Friday afternoon. Man, it is really coming down hard.
2:30 PM – Our old friend DuffHokie informs me that if you don’t make a connection to your final destination, they cancel your return flight. I might need to check on this.
3:40 PM – I am supposed to be an hour away but I’m just now getting off the highway and into the “rural” part of the trip. Apparently they set up a speed trap every 2 miles down here. I am not speeding, I have no interest in meeting Roscoe P. Coltrane today. I also have a pile of used tissues on the passenger floor 18 inches high (I know you wanted to know that).
4:20 PM – I just heard the same Rush song for the second time in a half hour, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t changed the station. Hair bands are still living large in southern Georgia. My Sebring is the only car I’ve seen for 20 miles that didn’t have monster truck wheels on it.
5:10 PM – Finally in Tallahassee! It took me 12 hours. 12 hours! If I had driven from DC to Tallahassee starting at 5:30 AM like I did, I would have made it in about the same amount of time. No sun, no pool, no fun. Six hours late and six degrees of bitter.
I stop for what everyone buys in Florida – cold medicine and Wild Turkey. Together at last!
5:20 PM – I call Delta. They were about to cancel my return flight if I wasn’t on the 8 PM flight tonight. Good thing I called. That would have really made my Sunday at 5:50 AM, the time of my return flight (weekend keeps getting better). They also say they won’t give me any money or Delta dollars since the DC delay was due to weather, even though it was weather in another city!!!
5:30 PM – Check in at the hotel. Desk clerk: “We have a complimentary happy hour with free beer and wine and meatballs and wings until 7:30 PM.” Me: “All you can drink?” Desk clerk: “Yes.” And I wasn’t going to drink tonight. The gods are against me.
5:35 PM – I inform my buddies of the free happy hour.
5:36 PM – My boys, EB and Bartman, are in the lobby. EB is on his third plate of meatballs at this point and is double fisting.
7:31 PM – We head up to the room with pretty much an empty case on our table. This hotel is the best part of my day.
10:30 PM – We head into Bullwinkles, a bar in downtown Tallahassee. Apparently you pay a $10 cover and then it is all you can drink Captain Morgan or vodka mixed drinks. Seriously, does Florida have any rules??? Free happy hours at hotels and all you can drink deals. Virginia ABC would be imploding if they saw this.
11:15 PM – I notice a guy standing on a picnic table. I decide I want to be up there. I’m up there. I realize I’m a good six inches taller than this Baby D. He is not amused I’m exposing his midget-ness. He talks to his buddy, gets down, and goes up to the bar. Apparently he was trying to steal drinks and the bartender caught him. The bartender tells him to leave so he decides to throw his drink on the bartender.
11:15:01 PM – Dude is in a headlock and being escorted out. I guess he had a Napoleonic complex. I’m still King of the Table.
4:00 AM – Most people have one “snore”. My buddy could put out a CD with his variety of snores. He’s a tuba! He’s a trumpet! He’s a flute! No wait, he just farted. He’s like a human beat box. Cranking up my Advil PM dosage.
12:35 PM – We are now tailgating outside the Civic Center! I’m feeling great thanks to my Theraflu-coladas – 2 parts Theraflu, 1 part bourbon. Kids: Do NOT try this at home! I’m a professional.
1:00 PM – I notice the Tallahassee State Capitol and Government buildings are behind the Civic Center. For those of you that have not seen it, it looks like… hmm… how do I say this: male genitalia. A tall tower with a dome on each side. Check it out. Seriously, did the architect not realize this? I wonder which ball Peter Boulware might be working in some day (see below).
2:35 PM – Walking to the stadium… Apparently “Marcus Vick” is the heckle of choice today. Seriously, I never understand why people pick on things that have nothing to do with the game. If I won the lottery, would someone start teasing me about the wart I had when I was a kid? A much better heckle would have been mentioning the ’99 title game or the ’05 ACC title game. FYI: maryland hecklers are the worst. And by worst I mean least knowledgeable. I have had terps tell me VT will never beat md in basketball just months after we DID beat them, and another guy heckle me about playing in the NIT when md had also played in the NIT that year.
3:05 PM – I find a Peter Boulware for Florida House sign. He’s a former (recent former) fsu football player. Seriously, he’s running for office? Are you kidding me? The best part is we saw a negative ad by his opponent the night before. They were criticizing something he said in public. Why? Why not just say: “He’s Peter Boulware for cripes sake!” Enough said. fsu is not known for their fine, upstanding athletes or ethics (see suspensions for cheating or Dillard’s trips).
3:30-7:15 PM – We know how this went. The football team’s Saturday afternoon was very similar to my Friday. It stunk. They do throw flaming spears into the turf and their male fans go “wooooooo” like a feminine Ric Flair after they spell their name, which is impressive that they can spell it.
7:20 PM – I get heckled by a cop on my way out. His partner apparently heard my “baby d” comment and me making fun of his firefighter-like accent. But they leave me alone.
8:30 PM – Post-game shower nearly becomes the demise of the Weekend Warrior. Upon getting into the shower I stepped on the side of the tub and it didn’t have traction, so my foot shot out from under me and I fell like a ton of bricks. As is human nature, I reached to grab something on my way down. It happened to be the shower curtain. I won the battle and it ripped off the rod. I must have looked like a skydiver trying to open a parachute with three feet to go before crashing to the ground. There I was, laying in the tub naked except for a shower curtain on me. Not my finest moment. Just really went along with the theme of the weekend: if it could go wrong, it did.
After I finished the shower, I walked out and EB goes, “You fell in the shower, didn’t you?” Thanks. That would have really been helpful if I had hit my head and been knocked out. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!
4:00 AM – I am up and out of the hotel. Why? I have a 5:50 AM flight. Awesome.
9:10 AM – I am finally back in DC. Smooth sailing today, but what a waste of a weekend. I should have just stayed home and paid day-workers to kick in me in the jimmy for 36 hours.
MVP of the Weekend
This wasn’t even a contest. The MVP of the trip was Lee Ray Seamon. You may be saying, “Who is Lee Ray Seamon?” Well let me tell you a little bit about the man:
- Graduate of Rickards HS in Tallahassee
- Graduate of Leon University (not affiliated with Bovine University)
- Executive VP of a major bank in the Tallahassee area
- Volunteer firefighter
- Likes mustache rides
Wait, I think it is pronounced “Selmon”. Sorry, Lee Ray, see you in March for the basketball game. I hope it goes better than this. I guess it couldn’t go worse.