Kindle FIRE!!! No! REALLY!
Guck had his first bath today, which should explain the unlikely proximity of a wet stuffed duck and a blog post titled Kindle FIRE. Or not. Guck’s bath was the culmination of the day’s whack-ness. Guck and I had a really strange day.
I pride myself on being able to take life in stride. After all, I am a gynecologist, which by default will bring weirdness into one’s life, and I currently travel for a living, and I am a wife and a Mommy. Between all these things is the constant potential for Truly Bizzaro Occurences. Life is always like that. Truth really is stranger than fiction. You just can’t make this shit up.
Today was a business travel day. I was flying from Alabama to Ohio to cover Christmas vacation for an OB/Gyn who is studying for her oral board exams. She has my complete sympathy. I did that once. It was ugly.
Everything was Packed, with only the rigid sameness that complete OCDness can produce. I bring the same things every time. I pack them in exactly the same places. That way I can grab anything without thinking about it, and all my frequently used items are convenient. I have a System.
I have a constant travel companion. You may have noticed him at the top of this post. His name is Guck. He is a gift from my daughter, who has given him to me to travel the world. Everywhere I go, I take pictures of Guck, and I email them to her. Guck, at this point, is extremely well traveled. Guck headlines quite a few Facebook posts also. He has quite a following.
I had to get up at the crack of doom this morning and drive myself to the airport. Usually I have a shuttle pick me up, since my business reimburses me for it, but Christmas madness has ensued, and the only time they could pick me up was 4 AM, which even allowing for my paranoid insistence on arriving hours before a flight, seemed a little extreme for a 7:30 AM flight.
I park in the same row of the airport parking lot every time. That way I always know where my car is, without having to think about it. My husband parks in the same row when he travels. We are crazy. But in a very practical way.
I made it to the airport in plenty of time, checked my bag, passed through TSA with minimal cavity searching and headed to my gate.
I should have known that things were going way too smoothly.
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men… and anal retentive obstetricians.
I had my backpack, packed the same way as always. It contains, among other things, my computer, my birth control (as an OB/Gyn, I can assure you that I am well aware that being separated from one’s birth control is a Bad Idea), charging cords, and a kit for doing beadwork with a stash of beads, so I can indulge my terrifying bead habit on the go. My MP3 player and my noise-canceling earbuds (yessssss) are stashed in a top pocket. Sometimes there is a passport. My jewelry is there, so the nice TSA people can’t “lose” it. Guck lives there, always, in the top of the computer pocket. That is just where Guck lives.
In the front pocket, there lives a receipt bag, and boarding passes, an adorable little wristlet containing my ID, cash and credit cards, and printouts of all my travel info. There also lives a Kindle Fire. The key word here is FIRE.
We boarded the plane. I started taking off my coat, and shifting stuff around so I could sit in my seat. My rollie bag was stowed. Same as it ever was.
Exept this time there was a POP.
Then there was a high-pitched squeaking sound, like a balloon whose neck has come untied.
Then gray smoke began to BOIL out of a pocket in my backpack.
My first thought was, it was some kind of party trick, and it didn’t sink in at first that the party trick was in my backpack.
The smoke was pouring out. When I was a kid, my best friend and I used to light smoke bombs and put them in our mailbox. The effect was the same, coming out of my backpack. Except smoke bombs smell a lot better.
I could hear exclamations all around me. “There’s a fire!” “What IS it?” “There’s SMOKE!”
Let’s just say that a backpack full of hissing reeking smoke is not a hit on an airplane in our post 9/11 world.
The flight attendant hustled over, shoving boarding passengers aside. “It looks like a dry ice packet!” Regretfully I informed her that I was not in possession of any dry ice. I wished I had dry ice. Dry ice does not catch on fire, I can tell you with virtual certainty.
She snatched up the bag and hauled ass with it off the plane. I followed her, squirming against the tide of boarding passengers. What the hell was going on in my backpack??
I met her on the jetbridge and we started ripping open pockets. Everything out on the jetbridge. Computer. Birth control. Guck, who was now gray and smelled as if he had been barhopping all night. Tampons. I told her at least the tampons were not on fire. That would be tragic.
Unzip the front pocket. KINDLE.
The damn thing was on fire. The fact that this was indeed a Kindle Fire was not at all lost on me. Not at all.
The screen was full of gray smoke. Weirdly, it wasn’t cracked and the smoke was just kind of roiling around inside of it.
The captain emerged at this time, to inspect the madness that was his jetbridge. “It’s the Kindle!” he cried triumphantly.
Well, thank God. Seriously. I was dealing with intelligent people who actually understood that this was not a bomb.
The captain was really very nice. He told me that since I lived there, they would take the no longer smoldering but still warm Kindle to the Lost Baggage Area, and I could pick it up when I came back home.
That’s great, I told him. Except I REALLY don’t want it back.
This guy was a quick thinker. I am pleased with that ability in a pilot who is going to fly me around in an airplane. He told me I needed it to show it to the Kindle people so they would give me a new one. At this point, I admired his cool thinking, but I wasn’t really sure I WANTED another one. Ever. But I thought that was really understanding and neat.
They let me back on the plane. THEY LET ME BACK ON THE PLANE! Holy crap, it was so cool that they let me back on the plane. I was fully expecting to be escorted off, at gunpoint, and carted off to Gitmo. That was unbelievably good.
The flight attendant told me as an aside that if the thing had caught on fire when we were in the air, they would have diverted the plane.
I slunk back to my seat with my reeking backpack. I do not embarrass easily but this seemed as good a time as any. The lady behind me said, “Hey, I’m really sorry if I embarassed you by yanking my kids off the plane.” I thought this was also nice. I assured her that I would have done exactly the same thing with mine.
I was sitting next to her kid. When I sat back down, he looked up at me from his video game and said, “DUDE, that was so TOTALLY AWESOME!!” I looked at him. A smile began to twitch at the corners of his mouth. He said, “Hey, was that a Kindle FIRE?????” I smiled at him. Yes, I told him. Yes, it was.