The Californian PART I: "I'M GOING, GOING, TO CALI, CALI!"
It’s 2:30am and I am still up, doing some last minute packing, cleaning my house, and running around like a chicken without a head. I’m somewhere between very, very excited and very, very anxious. I keep going through my mental list of items, in a very particular order. Start at the scalp and work your way down. Hair products? Check! Make-up? Check! Bra & Panties? Check!? 2- oz toiletries? Check….yeah….you get the point. I still haven’t gotten any sleep! Mind you, my subconscious might already even be knocked out because I feel like a dead man walking (ya know, when you walking but you don’t feel like you are) but I’m still going.
It is now 4am and I am finally finished packing! Synchronize watches *in my Spy Kids voice* for T-3 hours. I took a shower and went to bed. I am pooped! Flight leaves at 9:13am. So the goal is to be up at 6:30am, leave my house at 7:00am, & be at the airport at 7:30am. Because I know myself and my awful time management abilities, I set an alarm for each of these instances, to ensure I get myself there! Now, in a perfect world, this is perfect timing and a perfect plan. Only…we don’t live in perfect world, and I am the protagonist in my Frankie Tale, so something must always go horribly wrong…
TIC- TIC! TIC-TIC! …*Opens Eyes* Ahhhhhh…..it’s 7:30AM!!! (Before I go on, take a moment to imagine what my face looked like.) I screech a loud “F*CK!!!!” What the hell happened to my other 3 alarms?? Ughhh….thankfully, I kinda prepared for the worst…and slept in my travel clothes. (What? It’s cozy clothes & a morning flight…ain’t nobody dressing up for Spirit Airlines.) I wake up my cousin frantically- which if I may add, was totally uncool of me; considering he is a war vet who suffers from PTSD. Like what if the man woke up actually scared or worried!? Luckily, he woke up much calmer than me. “Chezka don’t worry, we’re gonna get you to California!” Man, at a time like this, those were the most comforting words.
It is now 7:47am and you can officially say we’re racing against time. But no need to fear….cousin Joel’s fast ass Mercedes Benz is here! As soon as we get on the road, this man starts to freaking REV! And I mean like BUCKIN’ IT REV! All I am praying for is- we don’t get pulled over. Because if 5-0 come, I definitely missed my flight. We get to I-95 and traffic is moving rather slow. (Listen…what I am about to share with you is NOT me condoning reckless driving….unless you’re rushing to catch your flight to your first time to California!) So what should I do at this point? Accept the fact that I have missed my flight? SKKKKKKRTTTT….“omg! Joel, what are you doing?” He smiles like a psycho killer and says, “Getting you on that flight!” At this point, I feel like I am in my own movie re-make of ‘Taking Him to the Greek.’
So this man says ‘bump that traffic jam’, and rides the whip on the SHOULDER!! Yes….the most illegal thing you can do on the highway. Like, if this don’t get us pulled over….man we are some lucky mofo’s. I think he must have been driving at least 100 miles an hour. Which of course leads us to our next tragedy…the gas light turns on! WHAT? Ain’t nobody got time for gas. (Haha…see what I did there.)
Seriously, it felt like I was in a Fast in The Furious movie. Now not only are we rushing to make my flight, but now we are aimlessly looking for a gas station. Things couldn’t have gotten any worse. In fact, if you tuned into any of my LIVE vlogs on social media, you would have noticed I actually looked totally unbothered and phased by the time or my circumstances. Lol. You would think the way I was being my regular, shmegular self, nothing was going wrong. But no friends, #ISSAFront. I just had to create a distraction for myself by talking to my followers because this was all too much for me to handle.
By the grace of God and my cousin’s drag racing abilities, we made it to a nearby gas station and then finally the airport. It is now 8:01 AM! I have exactly 12 minutes to check-in, before the system says it’s too late to board. (If you’ve ever had this happen to you, you know how bad it really is.) As I enter the through the Spirit entrance, I see a rush of folk and a longgggggg ass line. Now, I’m really panicking. I had no checked bags, but still had to print my boarding pass at the kiosk. As I stood in line, I must have looked down at my watch at least 20 times. I was so incredibly scared and nervous.
It’s finally my turn in line. I get to the kiosk and can you believe Spirit was trying to charge me $25 for a carry-on bag? Keyword: TRYING. I don’t care what their rules are, I’m a hustler first! So I click no, continue through the prompt screens, purchase advance TSA (that was my last hope to make-up a little time) and finally check in at 8:12am! Guys, I can’t make this stuff up. This day was cutting it close from every angle- I literally checked-in 1 MINUTE before it was too late. After I print my ticket I see another line for folks with bags? Conscious: “Nah Red! Skip the sh*t out these people!” So I listened. Spirit employee was like, “do you have any checked bags mam?” As soon as I said no, I hauled ass. Conscious: “Breathe girl! You gonna make it!”
TSA here I come!....NOT! I am running to the TSA gate entry when the Spirit Pre-TSA employee stops me and says I have “too many bags.” I look at her like she’s crazy because I only have my small purse backpack- which is my personal item and carry-on bag. So wtf is she talking about? “I’m sorry mam, they will only allow you to take one, unless you can fit your purse into your bag.” Conscious: Fit my purse into my bag? Is that a joke? Can’t you see how full my bag is?
I tell her (in the nicest tone possible, because I’m really not trying to hear it) there’s absolutely no way that going to work, because it simply won’t fit. She responds in her very cheery, Spirit Airlines fake forced smile, “unfortunately mam you’re going to have to pay for a bag in order to bring that onboard.”
Now I am absolutely having an internal seizure. I still haven’t made it passed TSA and my flight leaves in less than an hour! Eeekk! Thankfully there was a little convenience baggage kiosk right next to the TSA entrance, so I didn’t have to go all the way back to where I came from. Or worse, wait in line to see a travel associate at the counter. But wait….it never gets better!
As I am rushing and bustling to pay for this bag, and be on my way- my freaking Ca$hApp Card IS NOT READING! (What!? Not reading??...yes, it never ends.) Of course ca$h does me no justice in an airport. You would think ca$h will save the day huh!? It’s real money. Nope! [Stupid rules] Thinking quickly on my feet AND with lots of help and direction from Sprit Employee, I convert my cash into a temporary debit card provided by the kiosk. (Yep, yet ANOTHER process.) THIS debit card is supposed to solve all my worries. We’re good! Until….
…Now the machine won’t accept my $5 bill. And of course no one is around me to change it. The only solution is the counter, and that is simply NOT a solution right now. Not with that Drake concert looking line. Conscious: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I’m trying to contain myself and spare myself of the embarrassment, but all the odds were truly against me. Nothing…and I do mean nothing was going my way at all.
10 minutes later *In my Spongebob Narrator voice* …. I finally get the dam kiosk to accept my form of payment. (I even tried to max out a card. Anything to make that flight.) Yay! PRINT & GO! I felt so relieved. But right when I was about to bust out in my happy dance, the kiosk prints me a receipt stating I cannot board this flight at this time. “Please see travel agent at the counter.” My heart dropped.
I quickly ran back to the Spirit Employee and showed her the receipt and explained to her I already checked-in and I’ve been battling this dam kiosk. Thankfully, she had a big heart and saw the sincerity in my struggle. She gave me sneak advice to hide my backpack underneath my jacket to get pass TSA check-in. Immediately I thought, “Okay, come through Hunchback of Notre Dam meets Ninja Turtles.”
As I am gathering my belongings and adjusting my wardrobe to go through the gates, a young man comes by in the same exact situation as me- a ticket stating he couldn’t board printed. He was going to Cali as well actually, same flight as me. He nearly begged the Spirit employee to let him through, and he was graciously rejected. Dam. I really felt for him. I felt like I was witnessing an angel, because I truly couldn’t wrap my head around how similar our stories were.
A rush of folks came by, the Spirit employee shoved me among them to and told me to blend in. She even said “act natural.” Lol. Yep, because hunchback looks are totally normalized.
I get through TSA like a breeze and now must HAUL ASS! My flight leaves in 15 minutes dude! Let’s go! Ever watched Home Alone 2? That is exactly what I looked like. A crazy person (okay…a flyy crazy person) running through the airport, trying my best not slip in these sandals, with a big ass duffle bag across my shoulder…..all while capturing it on SnapChat and IG of course. Lol. You know I do. Oh my! I see heaven ANDDD I’m out of breath!
After running through 17 gates, I finally reach mine and bum rush the counter. I MADE IT! Literally, 2nd to last passenger on the flight! I am still in shock. As much as the odds were forever in my favor, somehow I persevered through every obstacle and in the end- that is all that truly matters. This is one trip I will never forget! Crazy from start to finish and the craziest part...is I'm not even there yet. It's kinda crazy to think about what your ideal day will look like, but then really experience this shit called life. It's insane to think I actually made it. California better be soooooo good to me after this, I swear! Lol. Because if not, then Houston (speaking Texas as my next stop into existence ) we have a problem! Oh the palaces I'll go.... _Dr. Seuss.