Murphy's Law

Journey into the unknown

Well, I'm back from my rather unexpected vacation [Editor's Note: Unexpected? I'll tell you unexpected! He snuck in one day, left me a note saying he was going on vacation for an unspecified amount of time, and left! Well, I've got something unexpected for him when he shows himself next time!] from the capital of academia of North Carolina, Boone.

Anyway, this whole thing started a few weeks ago on a Saturday when an old friend of mine, Sean Hoade (who I'll refer to as Hoade from now on to avoid confusion) called me from Boone. It seems that he moved up there a few months before from South Florida, and he wanted me to come and visit him. I thought it sounded like a good idea.

My mom thought it was a good idea too, as long as I didn't get any hairbrained ideas of moving up there. Well, what she said was that I could move up there, as long as I didn't mind being disowned. Same difference. Oh well.

Since Hoade was coming down here to South Florida to see his sister paroled from Boyd Anderson High School, I decided I would fly back with him. His sister would pick me up, and drive us to the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood Internationally Known Insanely Designed (and overly crowded) Airport for out flight to Charlotte. The flight to Charlotte was uneventful. The car ride to the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood Internationally Known Insanely Designed (and overly crowded) Airport was something else.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:20 a.m. Hoade was supposed to come by at 7:15 p.m. the day before so we would have at least a 40 per chance of arriving on time.

His sister didn't arrive until 4:23 a.m. to pick me up. Mom was screaming that NO ONE, no matter how good the conditions are, can arrive at the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood etc. Airport in only four hours. I kept telling her not to worry. We would make it.

And make it we did! And we even had time to spare. Three minutes to spare, but we did make it. We leaped out of the car, ran into the terminal, and threw ourselves on the desk.

“Yo! The line begins back there!” yelled an old lady with lavender hair. She pointed to a line that extended way down to what appeared to be the Miami Hangout for Hari Krishnas and International Airport. We ignored her.

“Has flight 42 to Charolette left yet?” inquired Hoade, between gasps of air.

“No, throw me your bags, and then run to gate f-433/a, which is down that hall, take a right, thrid left, down, next left, eighth right, second left, up, through the double doors that lead to the X-ray machine, go through, follow the corridor down, take a left, and board the plane,” she said, as she caught my bag in her left hand, Hoade's bag in her right (and his wighed slightly less than the Great Pyramids of Giza), threw them on the conveyor belt behind her, and took care of the old lady with the lavendar hair.

Our run through the airport would have make O.J. Simpson proud! We were on out way to Charlotte.

As I have said, the flight up wasn't too eventful, except when Hoade threw a sprig of parsly at me, and it landed in the drink of the man sitting next to me. He didn't notice. He was either medatating (preparing for a power-lunch in Charlotte) or he was hoping that by ignoring us, we would somehow cease to exist (the Our-mind-creates-our-reality,-and-these-two-moronic-college-students-who-thr ew-a-sprig-of-parsly-in-my-drink-are-a-figment-of-a-deranged-yuppie theory). I don't know, and I don't particularlly care.

Although the flight to Charlotte was uneventful, what happened to us in Charlotte would make a great mini-series, especially now that the writer's strike is going on. That, and other fun-filled things about North Carolina next week (as when Hoade nearly gets arrested, or our roller coaster commuter flight to Hickery).

See you then.


I'm working as a security guard during the summer of '88, graveyard shift at some upscale yuppie development in Boca Raton, Florida when the phone rings.

“Le Jardes, gate house,” I reply.

“Hey Con! Guess where I'm calling from?” It's my friend Hoade.

Now, Hoade and I go back a long time. All the way back to 1979 and 5th grade at Coconut Creek Elementary School. It's been a year since we both graduated (from different high schools) and it's been about that long since I've talked to him.

“Uh … I don't have a clue … ”

“North Carolina!”

Hoade, Mr. Florida Native himself, having never even been out of the state his entire life, is now living in the state I moved from in 1979. Man, life is funny sometimes.

So anyway, he comes down to see his sister graduate from high school and he convinces me to come back with him for a visit (he does not talk me into moving up there like he wanted—he also wanted me to join the Navy at one point, but that's another story).

This was my first multipart column and all the events described did happen. Maybe not exactly as I described, but they did happen. Narrowly getting on the airplane. The little security incident in Charlotte (okay, so 51 government agents didn't spring out of nowhere, but they did make Hoade read the security notice out loud), and for the life of me, I actually believe that our pilots on the last section were actually Sigmung and Freud. And yes, the terminal at Hickory was about as big as a trailer.

Actually, I omitted one of the better stories about the Hickory Airport.

We disembarked from the plane, walked across the tarmac (which was a first for me, having only flown from hub to hub before) and into the terminal to stand on one side of a long table.

We stood there, watching the ground crew unload the luggage, put it on a cart and wheel it into the terminal and behind the table. They then started tossing luggage from the cart onto the table.

I kid you not.

The O.J. Simpson reference is alas, to a Golden Time when he did rental car commercials that had him running throughout the airport, jumping over luggage, they velvet ropes they have to mark lines, small kids, adults and Jumbo 747's in the vain attempt to get somewhere on time. When I wrote this, his “high speed chase” was still another five or six years in the future. Had I known, I might have gotten rich.

And yes, that was the first time I had ever seen self flushing toilets.

And for the terminally curious, Hoade stopped counting the number of jobs he's had at 55 in late 1997 (and he's forced me update this page because he's no longer maintain his own FAQ anymore …)