Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Houston Ft Worth?

I've been meaning to tell this story for a while. It's embarrassing, but it's still pretty funny, so I think it's worth airing out (before someone else does.)

A couple of months ago I flew to visit FUNimation in Ft. Worth Texas for an as-yet unlaunched project for work. I was jonesing pretty hard to get the project approved, so as a cost-cutting measure I decided to fly out there, get what I needed and fly back in the same day. I had done it once before, in my Behind the Scenes of Fullmetal Alchemist feature and while I'm pretty sure I had thought it was a bad idea then, I did it again anyway.

To start with, this was the worst flight I'd ever had in my life. I'm a big guy, 6'6", not skinny by any stretch, and the plane I was flying out seemed like it was built for Kentucky Derby jockeys. I had to duck and lean my head 50 degrees just to walk in aisle. I had a window seat, which I usually like, because I can rest my head on the wall (I'm too tall to be able to comfortably use the seat pillows) but the slope of the plane side was so sharp that I had to continue to bend my head the wrong way at an unnatural angle. Plus, of course, no leg room and a pretty robust seat neighbor, and I was getting pretty claustrophobic.

Then the kicking began.

Oh, the kicking. This kid, around four or five I guess, was directly behind me, kicking in sophisticated, asynchronous rhythms on the back of my seat. And chanting. Chanting. "Oom ba doom ba doom ba doom!" And this kid had endurance. She had a methodical persistence the snare players in the New York Philharmonic would have envied. The entire flight. Two whole hours. To the apparent delight or apathy of her mother, who must have learned to tune it out months ago. Then finally, great hulking relief! The pilot announced that soon we would be landing in the Houston airport.

Wait. Dallas/Ft. Worth!

Flashback. Me booking the flight in my old cube pausing briefly to call to my cube neighbors "Hey. It's Houston/Ft. Worth, right?" and having received no answer, assuming I was right.

The agony of turning to the guy next to me: "Erp. Um. Where uh...where is Ft. Worth? From Houston? Is it close?"

"About four hours north."

Yes, I'm the biggest moron on the planet. As soon as the plane set down I saw that I had a message from Jill at FUNimation, who was picking me up. "That flight number you gave me is going to Houston. I hope that wrong." No. No, Jill. It wasn't. And I was supposed to meet with the core group of people I'd be working with at two and here it was, noon. And more good news! They can't find the bag they had made me stow, which had a lot of expensive equipment in it! Thankfully they did find it (a tag had ripped off of it) and I could finally leave the plane after about ten minutes of arguing that I had indeed boarded the plane with just such a bag. I frantically booked a connecting flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth, called my wife to tell her what happened, endured her laughter, picked up my oddly soaked bad from baggage claim (it had been raining in Atlanta, but bright and sunny in Texas) and rechecked it at the gate next door. Fortunately this plane was much nicer and I was comfortable enough to be able to think clearly about what a moron I was.

I met with everyone at FUNimation just in the nick of time and the project went pretty smoothly, if hurried. They had a few jokes at my expense, but I deserved them. After only about two and a half hours I had to leave once again to catch my return flight, only to find out that the flight was delayed two hours. At this point I welcomed the rest and broke out some of the advance screener DVDs they'd given me (the job does have its perks.) The flight boarded and everything went smoothly going back.

Once I got back to the office I was surprised to find no one making fun of me about it. I mean if anyone deserved it, I did. So I thought it was over with until Keith Crofford (the big business guy of Adult Swim) saw the extra flight charges on my expense report. He then spoke to Karen, our then-supervising producer and asked what I'm sure was on everyone's mind: "Is he a moron or something?"

After I heard that I sent an apology to Keith and offered to pay for the difference myself, but he was cool about it in his stern way and just told me to never let it happen again.

You better believe I won't. I'm flying to San Francisco in March and you can be sure...I checked the name of the city twice.


itsacoaster said...

Hahaha. Do you consider yourself lucky that Keith didn't make a bigger deal out of it?

Chris Pasley said...

Yeah, he was great in not pushing what an idiot I was. Could have looked even worse than it did.

Josh (matrixman124) said...

Seems like you got pretty roughed up. Thank God you managed to survive that experience.

Odetta said...

Well said.