4.5% ABV bottle-conditioned sixer
My stay in Kansas was never to end! We’d only been there for a mere 15 hours and it felt like an eternity. If you want to become immortal, just move to Kansas and your life will never end. We woke up at 7 AM on Saturday to get an early start on our google-map-claimed two hour drive to Manhattan*. The drive west was generally boring, it was raining torrentially and there was nothing on the side of the road except wastelands and a remarkable amount of halls of fame and museums. Off the top of my head we saw several for aeronautics, one for agriculture, an insect zoo, and a Wizard of Oz museum. Not to mention two wineries. We somehow managed to resist these remarkable temptations and only make two stops along the way.
First, a breakfast run to Sonic. My friends had seen the irreverent commercials for the fast food joint for years up here on the eastern seaboard but had never once encountered an actual restaurant. Suffice to say, we were all greatly pleased by our sublime breakfast burritos with a side of tots. Our other stop was in Lawrence to see the University of Kansas’s Phog Allen Fieldhouse. We struggled to locate it, especially when the only people on campus we could ask directions of seemed to be Nigerian exchange students with no clue about where a “baw-skeet-bol jeem” might be. Nevertheless, we eventually stumbled upon it. And, so glad we did, it was a beautiful facility with an amazing museum that all other college programs should strive to have something as good as. We were in awe at seeing The Big Dipper‘s jockstrap, Bill Self’s spare toupee, and the school’s 2003 second place trophy.
We soon got to Manhattan which was uneventful but the wedding was indeed fun.
Back awake at 7 AM on Sunday, we hungover sped back to Kansas City to catch our noon-time flight. Then, all the trouble began. Getting off the rental car agency-to-airport shuttle bus at our airline, I was stunned to see that my bag was no long on the luggage rack. Some dunce had apparently mistakenly taken my bag instead of his own. My bag was big, black, had Midwest Airlines tags, and had a bum wheel. His was tiny, squat, black, and had no wheels. It was inconceivable to me that he could have mistaken my bag for his. I sprinted down the length of the airport, searching for the stupidest-looking human being I could find. I was finding those wherever I looked however. Luckily the entire length of KCI is shorter than a football field so I could check everyone and every visible bag, but unluckily I never found him or my bag.
I was fuming. Apoplectic. If I had come upon this guy at that moment I surely would have popped him. My flight was taking off in an hour or so but it didn’t matter at this point. Especially since the departures monitor had “LGA – DELAYED (INDEF) on them. The only time a delay has ever been welcomed.
After a four hour circus which involved me speaking to idiots on the white courtesy phone, idiots in the airport police department, idiots in the lost and found department, idiots at Northwest Airlines, idiots at United, and the extraordinarily helpful NON-idiots at Midwest, I finally heard a nearly inaudible public address system announcement (from another idiot natch) that my bag might be at US Airways.
Sprinting down there, I saw my bag, and standing next to it, the doofiest motherfucker the world has ever known. You remember how Gary Larson would draw troglodytic morons in his absolutely brilliant “The Far Side”? Yeah, that’s exactly how this guy looked. Slack-jawed, buck teeth jutting far out of his mouth and over his front lip. Messy bangs down to his brow with a cheap mesh hat on his head and a t-shirt from some vacation decades ago on his torso. He spoke a near foreign language to me.
DOOFUS: Where’s ma’ bag?
AARON: Excuse me?!
DOOFUS: ‘ah got yer bag, so where’s ma’ bag?
AARON: Listen idiot, I don’t have your bag cause I don’t take the wrong bag cause I’m not some dumb motherfucker.
DOOFUS: So wha’ shud ‘ah do?
AARON: I’m guessing your bag is still on the rental car shuttle, taking perpetual loops from airport to rental center and back.
A 5 watt lightbulb went off in his head like the idea had never occurred to him in the previous four hours to call the rental car place.
AARON: Dummy, I just got one more question for you. At what point did you realize you had the wrong bag?
DOOFUS: When ah’ went to the secur’ty line and dey said I had wine and beer bot’les in ma’ bag. I ‘as like, no I don’t…then I ree-lized, hey, this prolly ain’t ma’ bag.
My vices actually saved some retard from unwittingly taking my bag full of an expensive suit, an ipod, and, yes, wine and beer bottles, back with him to Little Rock or Knoxville or wherever the fuck he was from. You see, I had overaccumulated wine and beer to drink before and after the wedding and thus, thinking it a sin to toss the stuff, I had packed it onto my bag which I had planned to check.
Relieved, I went to the shitty airport pub to unwind and wait for my flight to become undelayed. At a certain point, I’d been in the bar so long that I got concerned. I asked the racist bartender*, “At what point of drunkenness will they not let a person on a flight?”
“Yer fine, honey, just don’t wobble.”
I wasn’t, in fact, fine as our noon flight was eventually canceled by 7:00 PM or so. Weather issues in New York. My other delayed friend and I scrambled to find a hotel room to share. Seems the airlines don’t comp you unless your plane is delayed due to malfunctions. At this late of notice, we were only able to get a small single-bed room at the airport Marriot.
We sequestered ourselves back in that room, furious at spending another night in the city, not wanting to ever leave the room til morning. Stripping down shirtless and into gym shorts since it was so freaking muggy, ordering room service so as not to deal with any more locals than necessary, drinking beers and complimentary wine to relax, and watching Olympic men’s gymnastics….well, because there was nothing else on, I swear!. Suffice to say, when the room service waitress arrived with our salads and baked potatoes–us trying to eat healthy after a weekend of decadence and a day of deplorable airport food–she gave a smirk, looking at the two shirtless men watching gymnastics, drinking wine, and sharing a bed. I could tell she thought a lot of sodomy would be happening that night, no doubt taunting the maid on her walk down the hall, warning her about all the anal flowback she would surely have to clean up off the two “New York City fruits'” comforter.
The beer keeping us company and sane was the final Boulevard we tried that weekend, their Lunar Ale. They call it brown beer but everyone else simply calls it a dark wheat beer. I thought it oddly enough smelled, and tasted, like a poor man’s (a very, very poor man’s) La Fin du Monde though. Which isn’t a bad thing to aim for as it’s one of the finest beers in the world and probably one of my top ten favorites. Of course, at a paltry 4.5% ABV, it lacked the potency, bite, and flavor that La Fin has and which all other Boulevards seem to also lack. I really wish the company made beers in the 6 to 8% range cause they might then actually craft something great.
Monday, we were back up at 4:30 AM, trying to get home. Further delays, a plane running out of gas, and later being diverted to Pittsburgh, were all par for the course on this trip, as we finally touched down around 5:00 PM, nearly thirty hours after we were supposed to have seen Kansas in the rearview forever.
*With completely empty highways, speeding along at like 90 MPH in a cheap rental car, we were there in like 85 minutes. I’m sure the record cannonball run from KC to Manhattan is under 45 minutes.
**Indeed she freely tossed around the n-word as if us white folks had some inside joke. When I told her we had gone to the Isle of Capri and it had sucked she said, verbatim, “Well a course it sucked. Dat’s da n***** casino.” Yes, she got a bad tip from me. Fight the power.