Alyssa Monks is an American painter born in 1977 in Ridgewood, New Jersey, who specializes in hyperrealism. She began oil painting as a child and earned her M.F.A from the New York Academy of Art in 2001. She uses filters such as glass, vinyl, water, and steam to distort the body of her subjects placed in shallow spaces, most often bathing or pushing against the glass window.
Photo taken July 21, 2014 in Florida, Fort Lauderdale.
On Saturday July 19 flight 700 to LA delayed, and then finally canceled. All of the passengers from that flight were then given other booking options. I chose to try my luck on a Virgin America flight set to depart at 7:00 pm the next day.
Once I had a new flight situated, I called my uncle who lived nearby the airport. He had been the one who had dropped me off initially, so since I am technically a minor, I was his problem. He picked me up at around 6:40, a little more than an hour after he had dropped me off, and he took me to his house; the place I had took residence in the past two weeks. Before I had left the airport, I had said my goodbyes. My cousin, her grandmother, and her mom were very surprised to see me again.
They were already planning to do stuff that night, and luckily for me I was already supposed to be with them. They had unknowingly gotten tickets for a show weeks before thinking that I would be able to go. They didn’t look at my flight, so when my flight was actually canceled, I still had my ticket. What show exactly? The semi-entertaining American Idol Live Tour. A show that over the past 5 years, nobody really watches. I mean why would you? There are shows like the Voice and the X Factor. Poor old American Idol is only watched by the elderly and 12 year old children.
The show was not terrible. There were some good singers, but also some singers who just had the ability to sing. A few of the contestants had no actual unique artistry with their singing. The one that sticks out in my head is the pretty boy. I don’t remember his name because he wasn’t very good. He possessed a nice voice, but it was very,very boring. He sang “karaoke” as Simon Do well would have said, but all the 12 year old girls loved him. Throughout the concert his apparent artistic inability made him stick out like a sore thumb. Besides that, it was rather enjoyable.
After the concert, we went and ate at a very tasty burger joint, the name of it I can’t remember. Then further after that, at around midnight, we went to go see The Purge: Anarchy. My review of that? Slow at the start, but the concept is just so incredibly stupid, it’s hard not to like. I am not going to spoil it, so I am just going to move on.
The next day I waited eagerly to leave to the airport. My flight was at 7:00pm, so I planned my arrival at 5:00. That may seem a bit early, but I HATE being late to places. Being late is my least favorite thing to be. I checked in, went through security, sat at my terminal, and waited. I started to read The Giver, a book I had never read before, and was delighted to find it as amazing as others had said it would be.
Boarding started at around 6:30, and ended around 6:55. While boarding I spoke with an older couple who were also on the JetBlue flight that had been canceled. By happenstance, my seat was in the same row as theirs. I had the aisle seat, and they had the window seat and middle seat.
If you have never flown with Virgin America, let me tell you something. It is extremely nice. The seats were comfortable, the lighting was not harsh, each seat had a little touchscreen monitor in front of it so that they could watch movies and do other things, and there was even a remote for the monitor. Things didn’t start going downhill until about 10 minutes after boarding.
It started off with me doing a simple favor. An elderly woman approached me in my seat and asked if I wanted to trade. She told me that she knew the couple sitting next to, and that she would very much like to sit next to them. I didn’t see a problem with a simple trade, so I went ahead and swapped seats. When I sat down in my new seat, a new couple instantly began to thank me. According to them I had saved them from the old lady who “could not shut up and stop bitching”. Apparently the old lady had also been on the JetBlue flight front he day before, and according to the couple sitting next to me, they had been sent to the same Hotel by the airlines. The couple next to me began telling me how from the moment they woke up and went to the lobby to check out, they had been tormented by the presence of a bitchy old lady. It felt good knowing that I had helped them out.
After about 20 minutes of sitting in my new seat, a flight attendant approached me. She asked me if I had traded seats with the old lady. I told her that I had. She then told me that the old lady wanted her seat back. This conversation was audible to almost the entire back row, and the general consensus of the back row was that they did not want her near them, so I told the flight attendant that I would not be trading seats again. Following this, there was a lot of attention given by the staff to keep the tantrums of the old lady under control. They finally managed to calm her down by doing a number of complex seat trades between nine other passengers. The row in front of us moved, but was replaced by a new set of three passengers. Thankfully, the old lady was nowhere near us by the end of it.
Two hours after we had boarded, we had yet to take flight. Since it is illegal to hold passengers for more than two hours on a plane, we had to be taken off the plane. The backup flight had broken down. Two different planes form two different airlines had broken down on me in just two days. I was slightly frustrated.
10:30pm ,I called up my uncle once more, and again, if I did not say this before, had to wait for my luggage at the baggage claim. This time, when I was picked up, we just went straight to their house, and I went directly to bed. The flight had been moved to 9:00am the next morning, and I wanted to sleep away my worries.
I woke up the next day. Put my shows on. Got dressed. Took a shower. And then headed for the airport. I took my time this time, getting there 30 minutes before boarding. Everything seemed to be going smoothly. Third time is the charm, right? Wrong.
Canceled at around 10:00 am.
It took me until 2:00 pm to get a new flight. There is a funny story behind that too.
A huge line formed behind the Virgin America terminal gate because people wanted to get a new flight paid for by Virgin. The line itself was about 3 hours long. By the time I was getting serviced, it was noon. The airlines lady, Thelma, seemed very nice. I asked her if she could out me on a flight from Miami to San Diego, or from Miami to LAX. She told me that there were no flight today to those destinations; which actually was a huge ass lie. Since I did not know that there were direct flights, I had to book a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas, and then from Dallas to LAX. The flight would have left at 2:00pm and arrived at midnight, remember to take time change into account.
I was not very satisfied with the flight, but it was the best I could do to try and get home. It’s Monday the 21st, I have stuff that needs to be done back at home.
Knowing that my luck was on the bad side, I went to the American Airlines check in desk to ask about my new flight. According to the very kind man behind the desk, there was a direct flight from Miami to San Diego tonight at 7:00pm, and another direct flight from Miami to LAX at 8:00pm.
The incompetent people from Virgin said there were no direct flights to those destinations, but there obvious were.
I went back to the Virgin America check in desk to complain, but all they would say is that they could not help me from this desk. No real details, just the same unhelpful vibe. I decided to call their headquarters to see what could be done. A simple ticket switch. Headquarters could not help me because the new information was not on file, and after an hour of being on and off hold, I was told to talk to Virgin’s supervisor. While I waited I sort of befriended the guy behind the counter. His name was Ian. Ian was cool. He had actually been helpful.
When the supervisor came out, she WS followed by Thelma. This lady instantly began going off on me, so much for customer friendly service. She was telling me that I had not told her that I wanted a direct flight and that I had never said that I wanted to fly out of Miami_ my text records with my uncle while I was booking the flight say otherwise. She, a grown woman, was yelling at me, a 16 year old kid. It was ridiculous, it was pointless arguing with a lady whose obvious mental capacity was of that of a self absorbed 6 year old.
Eventually her manager stepped in, and helped me get my flight fixed. By the time this was all sorted out, it was almost 3:00 pm, the flight from the Miami to San Diego was booked, so I got squeezed onto a flight to LAX.
After that ordeal, I was hungry. I went to Panda Express with my cousin and we ate a plate of fake Chinese food. At the end of it all, I opened this fortune cookie. The words inside struck me instantly, and I felt confident about the flight later that night. All my hard work. All my stress. It would all pay off. I would finally go home.
The American Airlines flight went smoothly. When I stepped out of that airport, it felt like I stepped into Paradise.