It's one of those incredible sinking feelings like being the last kid on the playground, or getting on the wrong school bus. If I had been a girl, I would have cried; hell, I almost did anyway.
The guy at the counter was nice enough about it, although he didn't have a lot of pity for me. After all, they had called my name twice, and I was too stupid to hear. He booked me onto the 6 AM fight, at no extra charge, gave me a number to call which got me a room for 70 bucks, and told me where to find the free shuttle.
After sitting outside for 20 minutes in the DC cold, the shuttle finally showed up. The Old Town Raddisson shares a shuttle with the Holiday Inn down the street, and it was definitely a different class of people than at the Catalina in South Beach. Sort of a rough, prison crowd (no offense to Delta mechanics, but it's those guys I'm thinking of).
The classical music choice that the driver picked didn't help any. Movie makers use that kind of heavy, choral music as the hero descends into hell. Sitting in a dark minibus, heading to an unknown destination, not at my choosing but from my own stupidity, a perfect room in hell.
I got to the Raddision, checked in, found myself on the top floor with an incredible view of the city laid out below, in a nice, basic, hotel room (although it was a smoking room). So it wasn't too bad, but I had no idea what I was going to do with myself for the next 10 hours.
I wasn't hungry, but I was definitely too revved up to go to bed at 7 (even having gotten up at 4). The front desk had given me a map of the area with some restaurants; picking almost at random I headed out towards an Irish Pub.
The streets of Alexendria are surprisingly nice. I remember something about this being where the DC cops herded all the hookers one night. Turns out it's kind of touristy, with a number of nice restaurants dotting the side streets.
As I was walking along, I saw a group of people milling around in what looked like a dance studio. It turned out to be a drop in ballroom class, to which I dropped in. Dancing for a couple hours was much better than drinking for a couple hours.
I left plenty of time this morning to catch THIS flight, which turned out to be a good thing. They have these selective security screenings (or SSS, as it actually read on the bottom of my boarding pass). Because my itinerary deviated from the norm, I got flagged.
It wasn't really a big deal; if you've ever been searched by a cop, this is WAY less invasive. A little pat down and a quck wanding of my carry-on bag, and I was on my way. I still had time to grab a latte and a muffin before boarding.
And, yes, I successfully boarded and got on my way to Portland. So far so good.