She shuffled through her carry-on trying to find extra batteries for her soundproof headphones. Her trademark oversized sunglasses cloaked her face as she stood near security.
“Ugh,” she grunted with exasperation, unable to find anything at the bottom of her bag. “Fuck it, I’ll just buy some by my terminal.”
At this point, her hangover had not only set in, but it had completely taken her over. Three nights (and days) of drinking in San Francisco with her girlfriends was not how she pictured what was to be a relaxing, calming, and life-changing yoga retreat in Big Sur.
Standing behind two businessmen in the TSA Pre-Check line, she leaned to one side in an effort to see what the hold-up was. She audibly groaned in an attempt to hurry the line along. “What the hell is taking so long,” she said under her breath while also loud enough for others to hear.
She took one step forward and was officially second in line. Through her sunglasses, she stared directly at the TSA Agent who was clearly taking much too long looking over the driver’s licenses and tickets of the men in front of her. “This isn’t Iran,” she thought to herself. “I didn’t get TSA Pre-Check so I could wait in lines.
Another step forward.
With her arms crossed and her bag resting on the ground next to her, she tapped her foot and shifted her eyes between the TSA Agent and the Starbucks in the background just beyond security. When it was finally her turn, she approached him quickly and handed over ID while setting her phone on top of the scanner.
“Can you please remove your sunglasses?”
She, again, audibly groaned and looked at him with disdain.
“Thank you,” he said while handing her ID back to her.
She approached the conveyor belt where she looked at another agent with eyes that said, “Don’t you dare tell me to take my shoes off or remove my laptop.” Reaching down and grabbing her bag, she hurled it onto the belt and pushed it forward against the briefcase in front of her.
When a third TSA Agent signaled for her to walk forward through the detector, she stepped forward and heard an immediate buzz.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” she said to the agent, a female who seemed to be in her mid-40s.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but can you step to the side?”
She stepped to the side, but in the most obvious way she possibly could. When approached, she immediately asked, “What could possibly have set this off?”
“This is just a routine check, ma’am,” the agent further clarified.
“Yeah, I’m hiding so much in my yoga pants and tank top,” she said to herself, but not to herself at all.
“I should’ve just gotten the later flight with the other girls,” she thought to herself while she got pat down.
“All good, ma’am,” the agent told her, pointing her towards her luggage. She walked over to the belt and grabbed her phone and sunglasses out of the smaller tray that trailed her bag.
Her hangover, made worse by the shuffling of the security, amplified when she saw the depth of the Starbucks line that extended about thirty people.
“You’ve got to be fuckinggggg kidding,” she mumbled next to another girl who appeared to be in a similar state. She opened her phone to see if she was able to order through her Starbucks app. Apparently in airports, specifically at airport kiosks, being a Starbucks Gold Card holder didn’t mean what it means at a brick-and-mortar location. All she wanted was a Venti Iced Americano, but after looking at her Apple Watch and seeing the time, she knew she had no choice but to walk to her terminal.
She held her head down and speed-walked from the overcrowded Starbucks to E34 in hopes of seeing another coffee spot where she could attempt to re-boot (or at least buy batteries).
“You’d think San Francisco’s airport would be a step up from a third world fucking country,” she thought while looking at a Hudson News where there was no defined line, but simply a mass of people attempting to buy candy and magazines. “Ew.”
As she passed E28, she still struggled to find anywhere worthy of stopping. In a world of Cinnabon’s and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, she yearned for a Jamba Juice (or, at the very least, a Starbucks that wasn’t overridden with non-Gold Card holders).
Quickly approaching E34 with a headache and shortness of breath, she sat down near the desk where noticed her flight was delayed 20 minutes. “Because of course it is,” she thought.
Her phone buzzed five consecutive times, all from a group text titled “Namaste In SF Forever,” a name Caroline had given to the text drunkenly the night before.
“Ughhhhhhhhhh,” one of the messages said.
“Did you make your flight?” another asked.
“Can we get brunch at The Grove?” Alex’s message asked.
The buzzing on her phone infuriated her for two reasons. Primarily, she wanted brunch at The Grove. But she also awaited a response from Todd who she’d exchanged a few messages with the night before. The messages didn’t do anything to help her hangover, and were the main reason she took half of a Xanax en route to the airport in her UberBLACK.
“How’s Derby?” her original message asked, only to get en equally generic response, followed by an even more generic exchange of pleasantries where Todd asked how their yoga retreat was going.
But from 10 p.m. until that morning, their communication had halted.
The plane began boarding, which caused her to wonder why families with young kids got priority over A-List members. “Fuck it,” she thought before standing up and approaching the woman checking tickets. “I’m going now and staring down anyone who stops me.”
In a move that worked, she found herself to be one of the first people on the plane in her upgraded seat window seat. She looked out over the tarmac and debated sending a double text to Todd, who she knew was in worse shape than she was in.
“Hey,” she typed into her phone before deleting and considering sending something more playful.
“Hungover?” she again typed, deleting for fear that it was too generic and demeaning.
She checked her Find Friends to see where he was, only to realize that they had agreed to turn it off during their break. Meanwhile, a petite woman sat in the middle seat next to her. She grabbed the woman’s arm playfully and remarked, “Ugh, thank God.” They both laughed before she diverted her energy back to her phone.
Her finger brushed over the keyboard only to finally settle on what she considered to be the perfectly appropriate message.
“I know this may sound awful because both of our lives are in hungover shambles, but drinks this week?”
She pressed send, only to feel her heart drop.
“Fuck,” she mumbled while bringing her hand to her forehead. “Who the fuck gets hungover when they were supposed to be on yoga retreat?” .