Thursday, June 26, 2008

Zen and the Art of Sleep Deprivation

Subtitle: The Epic Tale of a Traveler's Homecoming

Welcome back to the United States of America, Molly Bryant.

I arrived at DFW Airport after 17 hours in the air. I was feeling pretty good, I had just traveled to Africa and back by myself with no problems. All was going well, and it looked as if I would have no traveling woes at all. Too soon? Yes.

I bought a round trip ticket from Dallas because I am a cheap, savvy traveler who likes a good deal. And this was the best I could find. So when I left for Ghana I did not have a way to get from Dallas to Tulsa but I was not concerned. I had my mom purchase the cheapest ticket she could find which so happened to be on another airline. No problem. I would just get my luggage and then re-check my luggage with Southwest. Right? Wrong.

Molly: Excuse me, can you tell me how to get back into the DFW terminal? I have to check-in with Southwest and I don't know where to go.
Immigration Officer: Oh sure. Well, isn't Southwest at Dallas-LUV?
Molly thinking explitives but saying: Hmm, yes I believe it is. Well, maybe not.
Immigration Officer: Maybe there is one here.
Molly knowing that there is not one there: Yes, maybe there is. Thank you.

I then proceeded to calmly go through immigration and walked up to an old man at the information booth to make sure that I was indeed at the wrong airport. Sure enough, yes, I needed to be across town in roughly one hour to board my plane. I needed to get a taxi or shared transportation to take me. So I went outside to find my way. No one knew how to get there and no one really cared to help.

Most would have had a breakdown at this point. I had just traveled from Africa to America by myself. I had been awake for 32 hours straight. At one point, I attempted to cry but my eyes were so dry from being awake for so long that nothing came out. That was only my only breakdown, it was about 5 seconds and I just made a weird face and then gave up.

I found my shared taxi cab, hopped in with three businessmen who looked absolutely disgusted at me. Here I was, the hippie with hair legs and an African dress and messy hair, sitting next to a man that did not hide his utter disdain for my appearance. I really could not have cared any less. I had reached the point in sleep deprivation where one becomes delusional. I sang along with the radio, I sneezed and then somehow felt that I needed to justify my sneeze by saying "I've been awake for more than 30 hours straight, sorry," I did not care. And more than that, I was having a relatively nice time because I had refused to freak out. I also think that I like myself a lot more when I haven't slept. I am more daring and I can make myself laugh a lot more.

After we dropped the businessmen off at their swanky hotel, the driver and I proceeded to Dallas-LUV. We chatted about my sleep deprivation, the humor in being at the wrong airport after traveling so long, his children, my family and then he gave me a tour of a fancy neighborhood where the Dallas Cowboys owner lives. Stellar. He told me that it would have been very expensive to get a taxi by myself, good thing this is a flat rate for everyone.

Molly: By the way, how much is that flat rate?
Driver: $21.00
Molly: Okay, cool.

I did not have $21. I did, however, need to be at Dallas-LUV ASAP. What's a girl to do?

I got out of the car at LUV, handed the man all of my money which did not quite reach the flat rate, rummaged through my bags to see if maybe I had anything else.

Molly: Well, I have a Euro and some Ghana Cedis?
Driver: No worries, love. Consider it on me.

And the tale ends at hour 45 (of being awake) with the woman next to me saying "Wow, it will feel really great to get off this airplane." We flew from Dallas to Tulsa and the total flight was 38 minutes. If there was ever a time that I was to punch a 65 year old lady in the face, it would have been then. But I did not. I went home, ate chicken and went to get some much needed sleep.

P.S. As this whole thing was playing out, I was thinking "What a great blog!" And I had all these quips and silly comments but they are lost on me now that I have slept. Too bad. I am a lot cooler without sleep.


Annie Parsons said...

I love this story! You are a rock star for figuring it out, for traveling from America to Africa to America all by yourself, for charming the cab driver into a less-than-the-flat-rate fare. Welcome back!

lt said...

This made me laugh really hard.
I love you, Molls Balls.

Lesley Watson said...

Molly, you are cool sleep or no sleep. And I love your travel story. It sounds even worse than having to unpack and repack your entire suitcase for the security staff at the lovely Frankfurt airport...