Florida Or Bust

This was a Daily Prompt, but Daily Prompt removed it from their blog. I guess it was such a touchy subject, “Tell us about the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home.” I can see how that would hit on some nerves.

The farthest I’ve ever been from my Cincinnati, OH home has been to Florida, twice. The first time when I was 2 years old my parents took me to Disney World. Cause you know, that was the perfect age to take me so that I would NEVER FUCKING REMEMBER IT. There aren’t even pictures of it, so thanks parents for taking along a camera.

The second time I do remember, although it wasn’t to Disney, which frankly I’m fine with. I had been working in radio for 5 years and then suddenly I was no longer working. For a month. I decided in that time that I would go see my dad in Florida and since he was about to drive back here I decided I would fly down and ride back with him. Awesome possum.

I went online and booked my flight. I discovered the best option for me was to fly from Dayton, OH with one layover in Atlanta and then on to Jacksonville. Since this was the first time I had ever flown I was a little green with experience and I found the quickest layover in Atlanta was just a half hour. I figured I didn’t want to be hanging out in Atlanta all fucking day, right? Get me to Florida already.

Because of our new security measures at airports they suggested I get to Dayton’s airport 2 hours before my plane left. I did. For those of you who have never been to Dayton’s airport (which I’m guessing is ALL OF YOU) there aren’t many people there, ever. This is especially true for when I was there. I went through security in ten minutes and was sitting, twiddling my thumbs the remainder of the time I was waiting for my plane.

Just kidding. I decided I wasn’t going to sit and wait for 2 hours so I found a bar. I ordered a long island iced tea. I drank it. I ordered another one. I drank it. I ordered another one.

Two hours went by pretty fast at that point and I wanted to smoke but couldn’t in that airport. I started to head back to the main entrance so I could smoke, saw the lengthy hallway and decided against it, so I went back to the bar, ordered another long island and drank it.

By the time my plane was boarding I was sitting in a chair patiently and drunk, because I had run out of money. As it turns out I had left my house without the money I was going to bring and had to make due with the money in my pocket which was just a little over how much 4 or 5 long islands cost at that airport bar, which was, as I found out, highway robbery.

I was so drunk I didn’t hear them announce my plane was boarding. Lucky for me they knew who was supposed to be on the plane and when I didn’t show up they announced my name over the speakers. I stumbled up to them, laughed, gave them my ticket and boarded the very first plane I had ever been on.

It was a small plane with one aisle and just two seats per row on either side of it. I had the aisle seat and I slept. When we got to Atlanta I left the plane and was awestruck at how large Atlanta’s airport is. It’s actually just three feet smaller than all of Dayton, Ohio. When I entered I realized two things.

1. I was lost.
2. I had a half hour to figure out where to go.

As it turns out there’s one really long hallway in that airport. And it was so long I couldn’t see the other end. I read some signs and discovered that I needed to be at the other end of the hallway. I was at one end and I had to be at the other end. In a half hour.

Important life lesson: Never schedule a half hour layover.

I discovered this subway system used to transfer idiot passengers like me to the other end of the place in a hurry and I jumped on. When I got off I realized I should have stayed on, because I was only halfway down the hallway and had the other half to go. I decided to walk, because I can actually do that rather briskly for a fat guy. Plus I decided at that point I needed to burn off some of the alcohol that was seeping through my pores.

As I walked I noticed a ton of cool restaurants, shops, bars and places for people to smoke. Oh how I wanted to smoke. But I didn’t have time, not even to bum a cigarette from someone, because I was on the clock and time was ticking away. I forged ahead.

Finally completely out of breath and wore the fuck out I arrived at my boarding zone as the plane was boarding and I was the last to get on the plane, yet again. Only this time they didn’t have to call my name like it was third grade roll call.

This was a big plane. It had two aisles and a bunch of seats, but I had booked another aisle seat and I was sitting on the side with the window, there were only two seats there and nobody was sitting next to me, so I thought it would be awesome to actually see take off and look at the ground while up in the air.

I scooted over to the window seat and fastened my seat belt. I was giddy, not as drunk as before and was about to experience my first ever take off (I was actually passed out before we took off on the first flight).

The plane took off and suddenly I was completely reclined and in the woman’s lap who was sitting behind me. The chair I was in was broke, which made sense why it was the only available seat on the plane. I looked up into her upside down face and apologized. She laughed. I still missed the take off through the window.

As soon as we got up in the air and I could raise the seat, I looked out the window and enjoyed the scenery. I was thirsty so I licked the sweat on my arm and I was immediately drunk again. Those airport bar prices were high, but damn they made a good drink.

The in flight movie was Bio-dome with Pauly Shore (Weird Al fans, get it?) and it didn’t take long to get to Jacksonville.

I found my luggage, found my dad who was there to pick me up and we made our way to his van. Now let me tell you, this may not be a big deal to those of you who travel a lot, but when we stepped out of the airport and I saw a palm tree, I was fucking geeked out. I was like a little giddy bitch. I was in Florida.

We got in my dads van and his windows were down because he didn’t have air (he still doesn’t, this was over 10 years ago) and I almost put my arm out the window until I noticed a web with a giant spider on it. Much bigger than those spiders I see here in Cincinnati, and I hate spiders. My dad told me that it was dangerous and would probably kill me if it bit me. He then told me everything in Florida is poisonous and to not get near anything. I believed him.

The drive from the airport was awesome. I got to see Florida! We got on this gigantic bridge to go over this gigantic river that was easily twice the width of the Ohio (maybe bigger) and when we got to the middle of the bridge there was a sign that announced the flowing water under us was a creek. Damn, things in Florida are big. I currently have a creek in my back yard and it’s about 10 feet across. That’s a creek. What we crossed was a fucking river, no matter what their sign said.

Our first stop on the way back to his place was a bar, and it was an awesome bar. We got extremely drunk. We went back to his place after stopping at a store to get more beer and drank more. I was there for 2 days and we were drunk the entire time.

On the last night I went into his buddies place to watch TV and he had a cat. I had one of the worst allergic reactions to cats I’ve ever had and I had to sleep in my dads van that night, barely able to breathe.

The next morning we set out for home, never took the highway, so we saw plenty of really awesome stuff state to state, and I had to deal with my allergies the entire time. Unable to breathe the whole time. No inhaler with me, and Benadryl wasn’t helping at all. It was horrible. But the drive was nice, and I tried to sleep most of the time so I didn’t have to deal with the allergies.

The only two cool things that happened on the way home happened in Georgia. We stopped for the night in this little town and after checking into the motel my dad told me of a really good little chicken shack down the road we could get dinner at. We went down there, were the only white people there, and as we were waiting I looked up on this pole and saw a piece of paper taped to it. It was for a religious gathering and told of the pastor and when and where it was taking place. At the bottom it said, “Please join us to give our farter in Heaven some praise.” I looked around and copies of this paper were taped all over town. I laughed so hard I shit myself, and then I took it down from the pole and brought it home with me. I still got it somewhere, but you may have seen it on this blog before…

Farter In Heaven Fail

The second cool thing that happened was, before we ventured onto an extremely long drive with absolutely nowhere to stop for anything on the way, my dad said we had to fill up with gas or we would surely be stranded until we die if we ran out. We were on 27, which runs from Florida to Ohio and incidentally right past my house in Cincinnati, and 27 through Georgia is an experience. Anybody traveling that way should be given an award upon completion.

We stopped to ask a guy if he could tell us where a gas station was and while we didn’t understand a thing he said, we followed where he was pointing and went that way, down an old gravel road through a patch of woods that looked completely out of place. We finally got to the gas station on the corner at an intersection and the gas station was literally these old ass gas pumps from 1950 placed in the front yard of a house. It was totally legit, we filled up with gas and was on our way.

It took us 3 days to drive home on 27, the scenery in each state was amazing and I’m saddened to think that I may never take that drive with my dad again, but I sure would love to.

Oh, one last thing. In my life I have never seen the ocean. I would love to, just once to say I have. I was in Florida then, right? Yeah, still never saw the ocean. It was on my to-do list, but we never found a time to make it what with all of the drinking we had to do. I guess that gives me a reason to go back, eh?

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