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Mix Blog Live: The Power of Chicken Nuggets

July 5, 2019, 11:30 P.M. Mountain Daylight Time

I return to my hotel room after a gig at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson, Ariz. It was one of those days when much of the work was getting to the gig. On paper it looked fairly easy since we’d come from a show near Las Vegas the night before. Easy commute, right? Not a chance in hell.

You may be surprised to hear this but you can’t fly direct from Las Vegas to Tucson—at least not on this particular July 5. I’m not saying that flights were sold out, I’m saying there were no direct flights available, on any airline. I wonder if this has anything to do with all of those grounded 737 Max aircraft. What should have been an hour flight turns into a pain in the arse: Las Vegas to Phoenix, Phoenix to Tucson. Oh, well. We made a 2:00 P.M. load-in.

Traveling was the worst part of the day, and admittedly it wasn’t that bad. The show went well: sold-out house, accommodating crew, and a great audience. Now it was time for some bookkeeping and tour manager stuff before my nap.

July 6, 1:00 A.M.

I’m going to bed. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the alarm is set for 3:00 A.M. Ouch. We’re on the way home, starting with a 6:00 A.M. flight from Tucson to Atlanta. Double-ouch. Very early, but we don’t like to sit around poolside on travel days home. Our motto: Get outta Dodge as early as possible.

3:00 A.M.

I wake up and feel like I’m hung over, except I haven’t been drinking. Ain’t middle age wonderful?

3:45 A.M.

Lobby call. I round up the band, crew and gear. We head for the airport.

4:05 A.M.

We arrive at the airport, check in for the flight and head for the gate.

5:25 A.M.

We board the plane, and I pass out.

7:00 A.M.

I wake up and find that the plane hasn’t moved. We have a connection time in Atlanta of a little more than an hour, which has now all but evaporated. The flight crew informs us that there is an electronic issue that they are addressing. I try my best to stay awake.

7:30 A.M.

We have now officially missed our connections. All of us are automatically re-booked to our respective destinations.

8:15 A.M.

We have now missed the re-booked connections. Tucson is not exactly a mecca of airline activity, and I’m concerned that we may not get out at all today. I call Saint Roy Our Travel Agent and he gets to work on it. In the meantime, we’re receiving conflicting information from Delta via text and on our phone apps. Super.

Read more Mix Blog Live: Resurrecting an Audio Dinosaur.

8:42 A.M.

The flight from Tucson to Atlanta takes off.

2:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

We land in Atlanta. The re-booked connections were delayed but not enough for us to catch those flights. Once again, Saint Roy gets to work on alternatives. He books the New York guys on a 2:58 P.M. flight. One of my guys hightails it off the first flight and makes his connection to Ft. Myers, Fla. Another heads to a different gate to make his connection to Baltimore.

3:00 P.M.

The flight to New York is delayed.

3:30 P.M.

The flight to New York is delayed.

4:00 P.M.

The flight to New York is delayed.

4:30 P.M.

The flight to New York is delayed.

5:00 P.M.

The flight to New York is delayed. Is there something wrong with my keyboard? It keeps outputting the same text over and over. Bad weather in the NY area + holiday air traffic = aggravation.

6:00 P.M.

The flight to New York is canceled, as are many flights into the area (weather). St. Roy has rebooked us but we need to confirm and retrieve boarding passes. The airline app on my phone hasn’t updated in four hours, and some of the guys have blank electronic boarding passes. Yes, blank.

7:00 P.M.

We’ve just spent an hour at customer service ensuring that we are in fact rebooked as our travel agent had arranged. We are, and we all have seats. Yay! Scheduled departure time is 8:48 P.M.

7:30 P.M

The flight to New York is delayed until 9:48 P.M. I hope my keyboard doesn’t have that same problem as last time.

We’ve been in and out of the Delta lounge since about 2:15 P.M, and the food at this one is awful (not that I was expecting Mom’s cooking). It’s time for drastic measures. I ask one of the guys if he’s up for a covert operation: smuggle outside food into the lounge. Absolutely forbidden, and punishable by a fate worse than death: they’ll lock you in a room and make you listen to that crappy music they play when you board a plane.

There’s a Chick-fil-A in the terminal not too far from the Delta lounge, so our Ninja takes his empty backpack and heads there. A few minutes later he’s infiltrated the lounge with an assortment of contraband. We’re like a bunch of little kids in grade school who just broke into the cafeteria cookie closet—covertly eating our food without letting the lounge attendants catch on. Our laughter makes the day feel much better.

Instead of getting home at 5 in the afternoon, we’ll get home around 2:00 A.M.—at which point we’ll have been up for 21 hours. We’re tired, miserable and cranky, but we’re managing to entertain each other and take the edge off. The power of chicken nuggets is not to be underestimated.

July 7, 12:40 A.M.

We land at JFK airport.

1:30 A.M.

Our bags and gear are finally sent out to baggage claim. Holy two-suiter Batman! All the bags arrive. It’s a miracle.

1:45 A.M.

I get into a cab and head home. Here’s another miracle: There’s no traffic. I’m in the door at 2:17 A.M., grateful that my coworkers can make me smile when I want to scream. Maybe next week will be a bit easier.