All posts by Rob Darnell

Ignorant Airport Assistance

Photo by Brandon Decker

This picture is being shared by hundreds on Facebook. It’s a picture of airport employees prepared to assist a deaf track & field team that will be coming off the plane. This reminded me of my own experience with airport assistance.

Years ago, I stayed at my brother’s house in Virginia. Because it would be my first time flying alone, my brother and his wife wanted me to have assistance when I flew home. I would land in Atlanta and switch to another plane. I wouldn’t have been able to hear anyone and my eyes are so bad I have trouble reading the boards.

I protested, but my brother and his wife insisted. The agreement was, when I landed in Atlanta, I was to wait on the plane. Someone would come get me and guide me through the airport to my next plane.

When I landed in Atlanta. I remained in my seat while everyone else got off the plane. I waited, and I waited, and I waited. Finally, I decided no one was coming and got off the plane. When I came out through the gate, there were a couple of airport employees with a blue wheelchair just like the ones in the picture.

There was no one else on the plane when I got off, so I knew they were waiting for me. I walked by them without saying a word. The airport in Atlanta is huge, but somehow I found the gate for my next flight. However, after a while, I figured out that something wasn’t right.

I asked a lady at the desk if I was in the right place and showed her my ticket. Turned out my gate had changed because my flight was delayed. She was very kind and led me to the correct gate.

It wasn’t until I landed in Flint that the stewardesses were insisting I needed help, never mind how much I protested. They even had a security guard run after me and stop me on the gangway.

Jesus Christ, it was Flint. A little ass airport that I could find my way through easily. I convinced the security guard that my dad was waiting for me outside the gate and she let me go.

The moral of this story is, if the airline hears they have a deaf passenger, they assume that passenger is retarded and crippled.

In Chapter Two of The Bourne Identity, there’s a quote I often think of. Dr. Washburn and Jason Bourne are about to go their separate ways. Washburn says to Bourne, “I know what’s going through your mind. A sense of helplessness, of drifting without a rudder to put you on a course. I’ve been your rudder, and I won’t be with you; there’s nothing I can do about that. But believe me when I tell you, you are not helpless. You will find your way.”

I’ve found that to be true for me many times. It was certainly the case when I found my way through the Atlanta airport. I did not panic at anytime during that ordeal.

Oh, and the stewardesses wouldn’t serve me beer. They were serving other people beer. When I asked for a beer, they brought me a chart with sodapop options and told me to pick one.

I wanted a fucking beer.

I did a stupid thing

Between 2002 and 2004, I was writing an epic fantasy novel. I had 491 pages down, and then I just stopped in early 2004. Over the years, I would pull up the manuscript and do some edits here and there, and try and fail to get back into the story. I had not moved the story forward since early 2004.

About a month ago, I started reading it again, and refrained from editing. While reading, I made lists of character names, cities, towns, castles, kingdoms, etc. Anything that had a name went on a list.

I finished reading a couple weeks ago and I’m moving the story forward again. I now have 525 pages down. I’m still not as connected to the story as I was fifteen years ago, but having the lists of names helps.

I had crude maps of the kingdoms, but at some point I threw them away. I just bought this big sketch pad. I’m going to try redrawing the maps from memory, so I can keep track of what’s what and where.

I had also written several spinoff short stories and novellas that were connected to this novel. But I threw those away too. Some of those stories had received positive feedback from editors.

I can’t believe I developed so much self-doubt and threw out all that work. I’m going to finish this novel and the entire series before I start the editing process.

Yardwork Monday

Last year, I put down mulch on this side of the porch, but I just put down a fresh layer. Will probably be doing that every year. I also added rocks.

I turned to mulch because I didn’t like how the flowerbeds filled up with ground cover plants every year. They would grow high and hang over the borders. I just always hated it. Some people have said it looked nice. But to me, it just looked like a mess.

It’s not that I don’t like plants and flowers, I just like them to be more orderly. My plan is to buy flowerpots and strategically position them in my flowerbeds. There will be flowers in the flowerpots.

I’m getting the rocks from this mound around the well. I’m going to flatten the mound and plant grass there. I might put something around the well.