Saturday, August 30, 2014

Space-A and the Holograms

Mail Online
I simply could not get to Guam. At least not without going another stretch of days without waves of nausea, a fiery sunburn and more disappointment as military 'space available' flight schedules were both announced and tweaked. But let me start at the beginning if you're interested.

Cary was tottering around the ocean over here, over to southwest Honshu, Japan, then south to poor man's Hawaii (read: Guam). We had decided before he left that I would try and meet him there since he would be shoreside for a week for some special exercises, in which they did things like test giant fog machines for a professional party on the Pacific.

Base flights to Guam are happening all the time. And Guam's not that far away. I was up for it like the great, free trip to Seoul and the random, surprise trip to Hawaii when I got to see my parents. Plus, these things break up deployments like nothing else.

By the time he was underway and I was about to join him, I really, really wanted to see him in person.

Most people are good people, wouldn't hurt a fly or litter without feeling guilty. But when you're shooting for a seat on a Space-A flight, you suddenly wish horrible things upon other would-be travelers. Anything to simultaneously increase your chances of seeing a loved one and sticking it to the man. But no matter how hard you wish, prepare or analyze, this is what can happen - and I'm sure others have stories to boot...

Flight attempt one: Show up. Flight's cancelled. (They forgot to update the Facebook page.)

Flight attempt two: Show up. Wait. Flight's cancelled. (But there's another one in two days. Hmm.)

Flight attempt three (decided not to wait and drove an hour to the Air Force base for a flight to nearby Okinawa, where there are a bunch of flights going to Guam): Arrive on base. Kill four hours with an inhuman amount of nachos and the purchase of some comfy clothes from their huge Exchange. Wait. Roll call. (There are 20 people waiting to get on and five seats.) But I get a seat! (Pays to be traveling by yourself, so you can squeeze into that last seat while others have whole families in tow, mwooooohahahahahaha.)

Flight attempt four (a few hours after arrival in Okinawa; the wee hours of the morning): Flight's cancelled. Scramble for a room. Take taxi to base hotel.

Flight attempt five: Wake up. Check Facebook. Intended flight's cancelled. I've got a day to kill in good ol' Oki.
At this point, I commit to enjoying this Blue Zone. I hop the free shuttle to the base beach - I soon get on a first-name basis with the driver. I intend to purchase sunscreen and a towel at the beach shop, but it doesn't open for another half hour, so I make myself as comfortable as I can lying on a picnic bench with my Kindle.
Pinterest user since mine sucked.
There's one kind of beach towel in stock. It's $50. And the tiniest bottles of thick sunscreen. I get both, soon covered in expensive towel nubbles and not enough sunscreen as the day progresses and I can't resist swimming my screen off to get to the mysterious little island just out from the beach. There are tiny, electric blue fish and sea cucumbers which I can't get to throw up their innards.
In the evening I watch 22 Jump Street in the base theater while itching my sore stomach and eating a greasy slice of weird movie theater pizza.
Flight attempt six: Flight looks to be on. Shuttled to terminal for the last time hopefully. Wait. Roll call (wish bodily harm on other travelers except maybe besides the one girl with a little one who I watch Sleeping Beauty with in the lounge). I GET A SEAT!!!!! Check bags, wait and watch more Sleeping Beauty with them. Announcement: The plane is broken but they're trying to fix it and before they run into crew time - when operators need sleep. Second announcement: Plane is too broken.

Flight attempt seven: A flight has popped up, back to the Air Force base in an hour, and there's room, so I forget about attempting flight eight the next morning - and trekking in the humidity with my backpacker's backpack to the hotel in town I'd have to switch to - and take off with my nausea, sunburn and other ailments in tow.

But I may have extended my life while somewhat blue zone-ing it, and I have this "great" souvenir beach towel. And for one reason or another, the mirage that is Space-A sometimes just wasn't getting me down. Because I just wanted to tell Cary that our kid was finally on its way.

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Note: Space-A isn't going to be the only hologram out there in society today. The hit 80s cartoon 'Jem and the Holograms' is going to be made into a...wait for action movie!