"Party in San Diego for St. Patrick's Day, who's in?"
My friend, Alyssa asked the squad via text.
"I'm down. Copping shirts for everyone. This is going to be lit," I responded.
"The only thing," my friend Rob chimed in, "is I'm coaching my basketball team, and we're in the tournament right now. If we keep winning, we'll advance to the finals and I'll have to coach on St. Patrick's Day in San Francisco."
"No worries, we'll wait to see!" Alyssa said.
Except there was one problem.
I'm flying in from Salt Lake City, so I had to buy a plane ticket. And if you're familiar with air travel at all, you know the prices get pretty steep the closer you get to the travel date.
"What should I do?" I weighed my options. We were about three weeks early at this point.
If I got a ticket now, it could be to the wrong city. But if I waited, the prices were sure to go from the current $170 to scarier sticker prices.
"How likely are you to win?" I asked Rob.
"Not sure. We'll have to play hard."
That answer didn't help at all. I decided to go with the odds that a low ranking team wouldn't make it to the finals, and bought my non-refundable ticket to San Diego, with a flight out of LAX four days later.
The plan was for everyone to meet in SD, and I would ride home with them to LAX to fly out, so I could spend a couple days in my favorite City Of Angels.
Photo from sheknows.com
"Hey bro," Rob texted me a couple weeks later, "we won."
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"We're playing Saturday."
"Huh?" I was confused.
He sent me a screenshot of the bracket. Apparently his team channeled their inner Hoosier spirit and rallied to make it to the final four of the tournament.
"Wait. So no San Diego?" I asked, with anxiety rising.
"Nope. The move is San Francisco."
I pulled over from driving and got right on my phone to see what I could do to make changes.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Collette. But your tickets are all non-refundable," the customer service agent said, "only the one way you got flying to San Diego can be refunded in credits to Alaska Airlines, but for a $125 fee."
Wait, what? I paid $170 for the ticket? They want me to pay an extra $125 to keep the $45 difference in credits?
Loss counter: $170
I wanted to buy another ticket for $150 from Salt Lake City to San Francisco, but the squad still needed to work out details on where this was all going down. We waited until the afternoon, and my new flight ticket had jumped to $209.
Fuck it. I just bought the ticket.
Loss counter: $379
But now I had to find a ride back from San Francisco to LAX, so my ticket out of LAX wouldn't be wasted.
I'm feeling like a drunk sorority girl with a new credit card. Just making charges and asking questions later.
The only option was a $53 United flight...at 5:00 am Sunday morning. I hope we planned to stay up all night for St. Paddy's, because I had to be at the airport by 3:00 am Sunday morning to make this new flight.
Loss counter: $432
A day has passed, and I'm finally feeling good that I at least figured everything out. I took some L's, but at least I finally get to see all my friends from college over some pints of Guinness and leprechaun attire.
"Dude, you should just fly out Monday, and not ruin your weekend with that early of a flight!" Rob suggested.
Despite all the wild plan changes, that one seemed to make a lot of sense. I jumped back online to check flights again.
"We're sorry," United said as I tried to cancel the Sunday morning flight and rebook a Monday morning one, "but even though it's less than 24 hours since you made this booking, it's not more than a week from the departure date, so you won't get any refund."
Mother fucking son of a motherless goat.
I booked a new ticket from San Francisco to LAX Monday morning at 9:00 am and called it a day.
Loss counter: $485
I now have a collection of five different airplane tickets, with a one way to San Diego this Saturday, and a one way from San Francisco this Sunday I won't be using, if anyone out there would like a free flight courtesy of my dying credit card.
One thing I do know for sure is that despite a major L to my bank account, we're still making it to San Francisco, and I'm going to buy Jameson until I'm ready to get in a bar fight with the CEOs of Delta, United, and American airlines.
Screenshot from "The Luck Of The Irish"
And Rob's basketball team better win by 485 points. One for every dollar I'm spending to cheer them on.
The silver lining in all of this is that a parking ticket I got in New York city almost three years ago was finally appealed, and a $65 check arrived at my door today.
Loss counter: $420
Shots on me, bitches.