Friday, June 4, 2010

The Albatross of the Air

As the sun rises on another day here in the Eastern Time Zone, my poor bag is now "delayed" to the point that it might soon run afoul of the Feds' well-intentioned if ultimately inane No Child Left Behind Act. Speaking euphemistically, the "good people of Continental Airlines are doing all they can do to locate my bag. "All that they can do". Let that sentiment swirl around inside of your skull cap for a moment.

Yesterday afternoon I had the pure, unadulterated of speaking directly with Roz, one of the stalwarts in Continental's "Delayed Baggage" unit. Dear Roz - out there on the front lines of the war against wayward luggage and, if my conversation with her was any indication, woefully under equipped for the struggle. In order to get the chance to speak to Roz I had to first negotiate the Continental "Delayed Baggage" automated telephone system. Among the options available to you the consumer is to press #2, "If your bag has been delayed for more than 25 days." That is not exactly a confidence-inspiring introduction to this branch of the Continental employee corps; right?

Anyway, Roz gave me the company line that, "Everyone at Continental is doing all they can do to locate your (my) bag." Just for shits and giggles I asked Roz what exactly that entailed. Boy was that fun. Roz practically imploded trying to make Continental's "nothing" sound like something. About every forty-five seconds or so she made a point of telling me how important it was to Continental to recover my bag although she was careful to never tell me that it had indeed been lost. No, not lost. Merely delayed. One wonders if at Continental's corporate headquarters they have a "Lost and Found". Perhaps instead they have a "Delayed and Expedited" bin?

Not since Orenthal James Simpson announced his global search for the real killers has a declaration of intention to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of something inspired less confidence in its listener than Roz's declaration to me did yesterday. The experience of dealing with her directly served to reinforce the image in my mind's eye that Continental Airlines is not an air carrier but - rather - a ship of fools with Gilligan at the helm.

Of all of the things that piss me off about the combination platter of ineptitude and indifference to which Margaret and I have been subjected this week by the jag-offs at this particular airline is the fact that their ability to move an inanimate object from Point A to Point B might in fact have cost me a very cool memento of a once-in-a-lifetime day. You see, when you enter one of these races you are assigned a number and are given a bib to wear. In Monday's Bolder Boulder almost 54,000 people participated. Rob and I ran together - in Wave GD - wearing bib numbers GD 346 and GD 347 respectively. Being the fool that I am, I made the mistake of packing my Bolder Boulder bib in my suitcase for the trip home to New Jersey, which means that now it - like all of the rest of my stuff - is lost someplace. Unlike my running shoes, Margaret's camera and all of the rest of my belongings that Continental managed to lose, my bib is irreplaceable.

The only saving grace - and one for which Continental Airlines neither deserves nor receives any credit - is that the ABC affiliate in Denver (Channel 7) had a video camera set up at the finish line in Folsom Field. On the station's web site they have broken down into 10-minute increments the action at the finish line. At 8:59:00 a.m. Monday morning, you can see Rob and me (he being to my left/your right as you look at the video) crossing the finish line together, clearly enjoying ourselves and feeling pretty damn happy about what we had just completed.

Task completion. A concept wholly alien to the imbeciles at Continental Airlines.


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