Airport Nightmares and Suicide Rock

this past weekend, i took 4 days off of life and hopped a plane to Salt Lake City! one of my best friends lives out there and i just needed to get away from reality for a few days. you know the times. i had a flight that left at 6 am from ohio, a 2 million hour layover in Chicago then i was on my way. although i wish i had packed a better wardrobe and maybe paid better attention to how my time of the month would start while i was thousands of feet up in the air somewhere over Kansas, it was still a great trip.

 i love flying. i always have. even though i've had some undoubtedly bad luck at it in the past. this one time, my freshman year of college, my sorority sisters and i went to panama city for spring break. that kind of thing was never my forte. i had seen videos of spring breakers getting wasted on beaches and kids falling off of hotel balconies and the whole idea looked awful but i was in a sorority, damn it, and it just seemed like it was what i was supposed to do so off i went with apprehension.  as fate would have it, once i was there, i got really sick. like chills, sweating, wanting to die kind of sick. i called my mom from florida and decided to fly home that day. didn't even get to see the damn ocean! THAT'S how bad it was. 
so my mom booked me a flight from florida to Cincinnati with a connection in Atlanta. the whole traveling process was supposed to take about 8 hours so i figured there was no need to bring any of my luggage since the girls could just drive it all back up with them at the end of their spring break week. to the airport, i wore cheering shorts (you know the little cotton shorts that are super small, and not in the least bit warm) and a tank top. it had been years since i had flown and i forgot that airports are absolutely freezing so you can imagine how frigid i was when you tack on the fact that i was already sick. so i loaded my ass onto the plane but instead of landing in atlanta, we circled it. the terminals were all full and we stayed in the air for about an extra 30 minutes and being 18, sick and never having flown by myself before, i didn't realize that 1. connecting planes will leave you 2. you need a good 40 minutes between flights to make sure you make it and 3. people will not get the hell out of your way on a plane when you need to run out of there. so while i was still stuck on the plane complaining to my boyfriend over the phone about how this landing thing was taking forever, this little old man next to me says "i overheard that you're going to Cincinnati, too. run ahead and tell them to wait for us" i thought he was kidding or crazy. surely they wouldn't leave people! oh. how wrong i was. so once we landed, i did run ahead. i ran faster than i ever have but it just wasn't fast enough. i made it to the terminal just in time to be told that i missed it. my ears got hot, my stomach was in knots and i could feel the tears creeping up to my eyeballs.
looking back now 10 years later, as a more seasoned adult, i would have handled things differently. at the time, i didn't ask for a discounted hotel room. i didn't cause any sort of scene. i didn't ask for any sort of assistance. i just sat down in a chair and cried. by this time it was about 8 o clock at night and the next flight to Cincinnati wasn't until 10 am the next morning. oh, and remember how i was dressed? yeah, by this point i was freezing. so i ran into an atlanta airport gift shop and bought a $60 hoodie. it read "ATLANTA" in big navy blue letters across the front and i kept that damn thing until about a year ago. sort of as a souvenir for surviving that night, i guess. 
at this point, i was upset and annoyed but wasn't really worried about my overall safety. i had this preconceived notion that airports just stayed open all night long like a casino or something and that people would be coming and going all the time. nope. wrong again. those airports shut down and everyone goes home. i called my mom and she was, of course, sick with worry because i was trapped somewhere and she couldn't do anything to help me. she made me keep my phone flipped open (yes, this was in the days of flip phones) all night so that she could hear if anyone came near me. it sounds a little dramatic looking back, but on this particular night that i was trapped in Atlanta, there was a construction crew roaming around the airport all night. yes, the construction crew. as fate would have it, the universe chose to leave me alone and sick in the Atlanta airport on a night where construction crews of giant men were walking up and down the hallways all night, cat calling and whistling at my 18 year old self. a mother's nightmare. the next morning, i got on my flight to Cincinnati and took a personal vow that from now on, i would book connections with plenty of time between them for the rest of my life. and now i book flights with 4 hour layovers and don't even think twice about it. i'll happily sit on the floor with my Mcdonald's and a gossip magazine right in front of my terminal, confident i'll never miss another flight. 

 this story got away from me. 
anyone still left out there? 

Back to the story! I made it Salt Lake safe and sound and was picked up by Kassie, the friend that I went out to see. I hadn't seen her in months and it was nice to finally hug her in person. She picked me up with a friend she had made while she lived out there and i instantly fell in 'friend love' with her, too. before we even pulled out of the airport, i liked the girl. don't you love when that happens? it makes me wonder how many friends i have out in the world that don't know that i exist yet. but i'm here! and you're gonna love me! her name is Alisia (pronounced Uh-Lee-See-Uh. I practiced before meeting her) and she was funny and smart and gave a mini tour of Salt Lake before dropping Kassie and myself off at Kassie's car so we could make our way on our trip. 
See, the plan for the weekend was to fly into Salt Lake, be picked up at the airport and then drive to MOAB with Kassie. (More on that beautiful place later) then we would spend a few days in MOAB with 3 other girls and return to Salt Lake. I had a rough idea of the plan but wasn't entirely sure what was going on. Looking back, I'm proud of myself for staying so relaxed while being so uninformed on the weekend schedule. But that's just how it goes when you run around with Kassie. She's one of those people that doesn't plan or look ahead or worry. Her life motto is "We'll figure it out" and that's what she does. it's good for me to be around her and people like that because I could use a little more of it in my life, as i plan things down to the wire and lose my mind when there's a hiccup in the plan. she has the most easy going, fuck it, no worries, whatever outlook. she just rolls with things and i love her for it.  i mean hell, the girl visited Salt Lake just a few times before deciding to move out there. She can make friends for life wherever she goes and is full of so many experiences. If i could get her to sit still long enough, or chain her to a chair, i would love for her to write. Write about what she's been through, what gravitates her to certain people and places and what drives her to be who she is. But like i said, she's wild. Sitting isn't her forte. 
So after a stop at a place called In-N-Out where we got burgers and fries (if you ever get a chance to go, ask for it "animal style". it's not on the menu, but holy shit it's amazingly good) and another quick stop at the gas station for Tylenol, marlboro lights and a car charger, we were on the road to MOAB! A good 3 hour drive made longer due to ridiculous weather. it stormed most of the way but the scenery was gorgeous. mountains and canyons and cows and sheep. we sang along to Jo Dee Messina, smoked cigs and talks about everyone we knew back home and what they've all been up to since Kassie left Cincinnati. It was good to spend a little one on one time with the girl before we finally made it to the cabin where the rest of the ladies were waiting for us.
I have another post coming up about MOAB so that this one can not be anymore annoyingly long, so for now just enjoy these photos that were taken in Salt Lake City right before we left for MOAB. This is called Suicide Rock and, although I'm not sure how it came to be exactly, I'm glad we got to stop here. Kassie posted a snap chat of her here a few weeks back and i made sure to text her immediately to let her know I wanted to see it in person. I love graffiti. we all know that. it was kind of rainy and gross in SLC so i didn't venture to climb the rocks, just admired from below. But isn't it sick? I wish I had brought spray paint with me! 

SLC, you're too cool. 

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