This trip started out like any other, last minute packing and a dozen calls to and from “Gennie”. Our anticipation increased with every passing minute. Flying out of the Charlotte airport entailed a 90 minute drive from Columbia SC. Gennie called me with updates on her progress as she traveled. I’m 30 minutes away from Cleveland Hopkins airport so my trek started later. My husband and I decided to have dinner on the “west side”, closer to the airport, in an effort to avoid the freeway rush hour traffic. After my bag was checked and I was safely through the security check, I called her for an update and learned her flight was boarding. Once I found my departure gate I let her know my flight was on time and we continued to chat. It was then that the first bomb dropped, an announcement was made informing Continental passengers that their flight was delayed by 2 hours. We both were silent, with only a few minutes before her plane took off, Gennie said “I’ll meet you at the Flamingo”. We quickly changed our meeting plans, said our good-byes and ended the call.
I felt dejected, the growing anticipation diminished like a punctured balloon. So with 3 hours to kill I headed outside to have a cigarette and let my husband know my flight was postponed. Soon I was joined by fellow travelers who decided to take out their frustration by consuming nicotine. Since I was able to conceal my lighter when passing through security, I soon found myself at the center of a huge smoke plume and new-found flameless friends. Following the nicotine feeding I passed through security and again the lighter was not found. (So much for competent TSA agents) Once we were air-bound, the time passed quickly. The excitement was back and people were again enthused.
Upon exiting the plane, the four and a half hour journey compelled me to search out a Plexiglas oasis where I could again deliver the much needed nicotine. The sanctuary was full of like-minded addicts. I lit my cigarette and check my voice mail. The second bomb was then dropped. Gennie, in a frantic voice, informed me the plans I had to gamble in the mid-strip Flamingo Hotel pool were changed. We were now staying at the Sahara Hotel and Casino, the second from the last hotel on the strip. I deleted the message and called her. Knowing the disappointment her mistake would cause, she apologized profusely. She told me how the Flamingo Hotel clerk told her we did not have a reservation and pointed out on her Expedia confirmation email the Sahara Hotel would be expecting us. I finished donating $20.00 to Clark County Nevada, put out my cigarette and headed to the baggage claim.
The 1am (Vegas time) cab ride felt almost as long the flight. Once I was in Sahara Hotel room 1591, Gennie told me of her escapade. I assured her the accommodations were fine and let her know she would never book another vacation for us again.
The 6 days passed quickly and before we knew it we found ourselves saying good-bye. Laughing, crying, eating and gambling. Sorting out of emotions, weighing of options and putting things in perspective. The escape proved to be just what the doctor ordered. With a new out-look and enhanced plan for recovery, she departed with higher spirits.
We talked a few days after returning and she said her husband too had reflected. Coming to the same conclusion, realizing his sinister mistake, he was eager to embark on the road to restoring their marriage.