“I’m sorry ma’am, we’re overbooked, you’re just too late”.
“But I have a ticket!”, I said. “Why do you issue tickets if you’re just going to kick me off the plane? I have an AirBNB and everything”.
“Sorry ma’am, there’s no more room. Do you really want us to drag someone else off the plane? Violently?”, her eyes glinted, like she desperately wanted me to say “YES”, and she could finally use her strong arms and shoulders for what they were really meant for.
“What are my options?”, I said. “I just spent $200 on tickets and more on hotels, it gets expensive in Vegas this time of the year. I need fair compensation”.
“I can book you a hotel here. Two nights. Free”.
“I live here!”.
“Well, then we’ll have to go for Option B. A free round-trip flight to a random location chosen by our Smart Assistant”.
“Try it. It’s fun! This lady last week got to go to Chicago. She’d never been.”
And she hated it, and cursed you with every atom of her being?
As if sensing my thoughts, she added “She loved it. Sent me pictures”.
“Fine, I’ll try it. But can I just get a cheque if it comes up Gary, Indiana or something?”.
She was already talking to her device. “Siri, what’s a fun airport to go to this weekend on a United flight?”.
“A great destination for Memorial Day Weekend is, Homey Airport, Nevada.”
I froze. I recognized that name from all the hours of reading conspiracy theories online during a bad patch. And Siri knew! I shouldn’t have been surprised, I coded that people-recognition module when I worked at Apple last year.
“Can… can I just take the cheque?”
“Fine, if you want it that way”, she said stiffly, and began shuffling her papers and rummaging through her desk.
I’d have $500 for this weekend. And then I’d go back home. The streets would be empty. No one I knew would be in town. My friends would be in Vegas. Everything would be closed. I’d eat ramen and watch Netflix….
“Actually, I’d like to go. It’s a return ticket, right?”
“Yes, guaranteed return”.
“Great, gimme the ticket”.
I ended up having the time of my life. Mingling with a new people, learning bits of a new language, crazy rides. They loved how different the color of my skin was from theirs, and the little ones asked to touch my hair. When I told them I’d worked on Siri, they wanted to hear all about talking computers. I loved playing with the local critters, and this one little cuddly bunny that glowed in the dark wanted to come back with me.
I really enjoyed my weekend with the aliens of Area 51.