I have a laundry list of flaws, but nearing the top of my Get Your Shit Together For Chrissake list is my absentmindedness. I misplace (every)thing(s). I lose iPhones. I screw up reservations. I forget birthdays. I just wish I could be thoughtful and considerate like all those other people in the world who are mature and productive and do things like write hand-written notes and send birthday cards on time and send birthday cards at all and remember your mom's name and that you don't eat pizza because the cheese makes you gassy.
But I do take comfort in knowing that there is one person who is significantly more absentminded than myself, and that is my husband. I mean wow. Sometimes even I'm amazed. Other times I'm downright horrified. What happens when you put two absentminded people in a house, add a whining dog, a few dozen bottles of alcohol, and stir? I'll tell you what. Actually, I don't know what, but it's certainly not world domination and it likely ends in flames and/or water damage.
Perhaps our absentmindedness has never been more clear as our history with tickets. Case in point: B once tried to buy us tickets to a Ray LaMontagne concert when we were living in Philly. He accidentally bought two tickets for a show on a Tuesday in Cincinnati. Cincinnati? When you accidentally purchase tickets for an incorrect city can you at least make it a city worth visiting? How about New York or DC, Charleston or Chicago? But Cincinnati? No offence, Cincy, but ew. I think it goes without saying that those non-refundable tickets went to waste.
"Wait, wait, how is that even possible?" my friend Lisa asked. "You have to go through like eight confirmation pages to buy concert tickets."
Yes, Lisa, you do. That's like eight opportunities to realize you're wrong before you hit purchase. But on we go!
Since then, I've largely been in charge of ticket purchases. Unless B is trying to surprise me, like he did recently with a pair of tickets to see La Cage Aux Folles. There's nothing that gets me going quite like a bunch of beautiful men in drag kicking their legs higher than your dad was for most of the 70s. But imagine our surprise when we got to the theater will-call office the night of the show to discover that the night of the show was actually the night before.
Lucky for us a woman -- who just happened to be entering the theater at the same time we were being regretfully informed by the staff that B had mixed up our dates -- paused just long enough to ask us if she heard correctly that we had tickets to the wrong date, and hand us two eighth row tickets as she shout Merry Christmas over the din of other theater-goers. Merry Christmas, indeed. And a happy drag queen!
Now normally, I will jump all over B for forgetting to pick up a gallon of milk and some dog food for the fifth day in a row or for stepping over the bag of garbage that I pulled out for him to take to the dump three days before he remembers to pick it up, but when it comes to tickets, I just don't have any ground to stand on.
That's because right before our La Cage incident, I booked B a plane ticket from Philadelphia to Boston for Thanksgiving weekend. Yes, that's correct. Philadelphia TO Boston, not Boston to Philadelphia. The argument could be made that there are probably like eight confirmation pages you need to get through before purchasing an airline ticket too. That's eight opportunities to realize you're an asshole. So B took a bus. And as B's luck would have it, the bus hit a little traffic and an extra three hours or so was tacked on so that trip that should have taken 45 minutes on a plane took nine hours on a bus. My bad, B.
Interestingly, that very same weekend I had also screwed up my own tickets for my trip home for the Philadelphia marathon. When I booked my trip this past summer, I chose the cheapest flight possible, which got me into Philly around 10 p.m. the Friday before the race. As race day got closer, I began to get nervous. Friday's an important nutrition day. I really ought to have a well-balanced dinner with lots of carbs. I need a good night's sleep. Ten o'clock is too late. TEN O'CLOCK IS TOO LATE. I WILL RUIN FOUR MONTHS OF TRAINING IN ONE DAY TEN O'CLOCK IS TOO LATE.
So I switched my ticket to an earlier time, paid the $40 for choosing a more expensive flight and let it rest. Until the week of my flight when I got a confirmation for my flight that landed in Philadelphia at 10 p.m. Turns out I had gone through every step of changing my ticket, got distracted on the last page (likely by something shiny), never hit purchase, and walked around for a month thinking I had changed my ticket like the jackass that I am. Naturally, by this time those flights the weekend before Thanksgiving weekend had tripled in cost. MOTHERFLIPPER.
So you can imagine how nervous I was when purchasing tickets this fall for a trip that B and I are taking next month to Guatemala. Oh, by the way, B AND I ARE GOING TO GUATEMALA! But buying these tickets, with all of our other ticket flubs in hovering around the back of my mind, was incredibly nerve-wracking. I put it off for weeks. I hemmed and hawed over every detail. It took me a solid two hours to hit purchase because I reviewed my dates and numbers and prices and times and airlines at least 68 times before I felt that I had in fact selected tickets to the correct country on the correct date during the correct year at the correct time and is this in the same time zone and do we have enough time during layovers and what about the time and is everything right and where are we going again?
I immediately started pacing around my living room while waiting for the confirmation email to hit my inbox. I was convinced that despite all of my quadruple times five bazillion checks, I had selected something incorrect. When I didn't receive a confirmation email after five minutes, I called the airline.
"Hi, I haven't received a confirmation email yet."
"Oh sure, I can help you. When is your flight?"
"And where are you going?"
"And when did you book the tickets?"
"Like, five minutes ago."
"Just five minutes? It usually takes a few minutes to get through the system, you know..."
"Right but I haven't received my confirmation and nothing has been charged to my credit card yet and what if I hit purchase but they actually didn't purchase because I've done that before and can you just tell me if it went through because oh my god what if I thought it went through and then the week we're supposed to leave I realize it didn't go through or that I actually booked us tickets to somewhere like Guam when I meant to select Guatemala and I've been planning a trip like this for YEARS AND I WILL HAVE RUINED EVERYTHING."
"Can you just check?"
"You're all set, ma'am. Enjoy your trip."
WE'RE GOING TO GUATEMALA, MOTHAFLIPPAS!