The story of my first ever bachelorette weekend begins in Jakarta, Indonesia.
I actually had no idea Morgan was even there until she texted me. I learned that not only was she in Jakarta, she was also really sick. The last time I talked to her she was in Singapore debating whether or not it was cool to go to Malaysia. (It was not—State Department warnings of ISIS threats deemed it a no-go).
Morgan has lived in three cities in China. She goes everywhere on her own and for the most part figures it out without drama. Every now and then a credit card fraud alert agent calls my dad asking if Morgan’s bizarre charges in Asia are legit (to him, this is always a sign of success. The fact that your whereabouts are so outrageous that even a computer deems it implausible is the ultimate compliment).
Despite the distance, I talk to Morgan a lot. The 12-hour time difference between Asia and the east coast is actually pretty convenient for insomniacs. Last Thursday night, we were both about to get on a flight in a few hours: Morgan was flying from Jakarta back to Taipei and I was flying to a bachelorette weekend in Lexington, Kentucky. Same thing, amirite?
Stop me if you’ve heard this before …
I was up late packing the night before my 5:40 AM flight (free tip: a pre-6 a.m. flight is never ever ever ever worth saving any amount of money). Naturally, it was 10:30 at night and I had no clean underwear and lacked enough quarters to do laundry. Having carelessly read the bachelorette party emails, I struggled to recall exactly what I needed to pack. Something about everyone wearing a black dress … I think we’re going horseback riding… were we all wearing black dresses while we’re horseback riding? No, no I need close-toed shoes for horseback riding. The weekend agenda escaped me. I also had two work assignments hanging over my head I needed to finish before I left (My boss calls me 11th hour Anderson…”Better than 12th hour Anderson,” I tell him.)
And yet, instead of doing any of the things I set out to do, I gave Morgan a FaceTime call.
Morgan did not look good. Her eyes were barely open and her face had the life flushed out of it as it lay on her oversize hotel pillow. She told me she’d caught some kind of bug and had thrown up 9 times so far that day.
Is there a doctor you can visit? What about over-the-counter drugs? Her answer was “no this is Jakarta and it doesn’t work like that” in as many words. Normally I’d accuse Morgan of nixing practical solutions for dramatic effect, but she looked too miserable to not try to do anything to get better. As I looked at her, I felt that helpless feeling parents feel probably every day when they drop their kids off at school.
At least her hotel room looked nice. Morgan was leaving for the airport in two hours and would be back in Taiwan soon. When I asked her how she was getting to the airport, she said her friend bailed on driving her so she wasn’t sure yet.
“Wouldn’t you just take a cab?” I asked.
“I don’t know, my friend says cabs here can be sketchy.” Some things are best not to know, so I didn’t ask for any more details.
We stayed on the phone. Ten minutes became an hour, and I talked to her while I attempted some laundry. I can’t remember if we talked about anything worthwhile (unlikely), but it was a two hour conversation. I convinced myself that she looked better after those two hours and that I’d made her feel better. I hung up a bit after 1:oo a.m., wished her good luck and set an alarm for 4:00 a.m. I fell asleep instantly.
When my phone went off, and I got right up and headed to my closet to get dressed. It took several seconds for me to realize that my alarm wasn’t going off. I almost silenced my phone. I looked at the time. It wasn’t 4:00 a.m. Is my phone really ringing? It was 1:45 a.m and Morgan was calling me.
In the split second before Morgan could even get a word out I heard a deep exhale of muffled by tears and a stuffy nose. Something was wrong.
In between her frantic sobs I heard plane…they won’t let me on … passport … credit card … Dad … low battery… I just wanna go home, I just wanna go home …
Before my brain processed what she was saying the worst options ran through my head: Morgan was abducted on her way to the airport and was being framed by her sketchy cab driver and accused of stealing something so the police had stopped her at security, confiscated her passport and credit card and taken her to a dark room for questioning. After unsuccessfully reaching Dad, this was her last phone call she was allowed to make before her phone died.
It took some time for me to get the real story out: Eva Air was refusing to let her board because she couldn’t provide the credit card (my dad’s) that she had booked her flight on. I got up and went straight to my laptop.
In between her curses about stupid crappy airlines … never flying them again … I hate this place … worst day of my life … etc., she mentioned they might also accept a copy of my dad’s passport. I interrupted Morgan amid her sobs. “Hey, hang on,” I tried to speak calmly and softly but she kept crying so I raised my voice. “Morgan, Morgan! Listen to me, I have that! Take a deep breath, hang up with me, save your battery go buy a charger and I’ll text and email it to you in two minutes.” I so badly wanted to stay on the phone with her.
It took three years, but I was finally thankful for handling my family’s Russian visas, which was why I had copies of everyone’s passports. I texted and emailed a picture to Morgan, hoped for the best and went back to sleep. It was 2:30 a.m. I was supposed to meet Emily, the Connecticut-based maid of honor/fellow bachelorette-party-goer, at her apartment at 4:00 a.m. which would get us to the airport by 4:15, an hour and 30 minutes before our flight. We were on the same flight.
Not happening. Besides, I told myself getting to Bradley International more than an hour in advance was a cardinal sin and that on principle, I should drive myself and arrive at a more practical time even if it cost me more.
I sent Emily a message on Facebook to avoid waking her at 2:30 a.m. Hey probably not going to make it to your place by 4:00a, I’ll just meet ya there! I tried to keep it casual and cut out the drama. This girl barely knew me, so no need to for her to know she’s in a wedding with a whackjob. Besides, since she was party-planner-in chief of the weekend and had booked this flight months in advance, I could tell she was hyper-organized and had no tolerance for last-minute losers. Worrying about whether Morgan was okay should have made it hard to sleep, but I was too tired to even let my worst nightmare keep me awake.
I opted to wake up at 4:00 a.m. and get to the airport by 5:00 ish. Of course, my clothes had not completely dried on my dryer rack, so I grabbed some damp clothes, rolled them up in a towel in my carry-on, and hoped for the best as I drove to the airport.
Even though I was left exactly at the time I had set, 5:00 a.m., I realized my driving/timing calculations at 2:30 AM are always significantly more ambitious than they are during my brain’s normal business hours. As soon as I got in the car to drive I knew I was in trouble (read: late).
Cue illegally driving in the HOV lane and a frenzied parking job in most expensive parking lot closest to the terminal (“Cheapest is dearest” has never rung more true). Friday mornings are the one time Hartford’s airport has security lines longer than 4 minutes. Given that it was Labor Day weekend, it did not disappoint. Thankfully, I have TSA Pre. I look at my boarding pass. No I don’t. Crap.
I estimated the mainstream security line was about a 20-25 minute wait, in which case I’m missing my flight. I flag down a Delta agent to see if he can add my TSA Pre number to my boarding pass before getting in line. Thankfully, he could. I’m through.
About 14 minutes before boarding for my flight closes, I casually text Emily as if nothing is wrong or alarming. Hey just got here! Did you board yet? As she responds, I spot her across the way and get in line with her to board. I’d made it.
On the other side of the world, Morgan borrowed some pitying lady’s phone charger, eventually got hold of my dad, was granted a boarding pass and cut her flight even closer than I had mine, she made it to her gate with five minutes to spare. She threw up a 10th time on the flight to Taipei. I didn’t hear from her after.
I had a good time in Kentucky but was glad to be back in Connecticut two days later. My second day back at work, Morgan called me at 6:04 a.m. I freak out, answer immediately and start to panic.
“Oh hey, I’m surprised you answered.” Her voice was weirdly cheerful.
The last time you called me at a weird hour you were sobbing and throwing up at an airport, of course I answered. “I’m at work, what’s wrong?” I go into immediate paranoid-parent mode.
“Nothing, I just wanted to tell you I’m trying to get into this Steph Curry showcase, he’s in Taipei. If I get in I’ll send you some Snaps!”
Morgan somehow finagled her way into a sold-out exclusive Steph Curry Under Armour fan experience. “Best day I’ve had in Taipei so far!”