The trip to New Orleans shouldn’t have happened. I had no business traveling anywhere. My checking account is on life support. I was sitting on the couch minding my own business; looking at other people’s business on Facebook I saw someone had posted a link for a round trip flight to NOLA for $165. I was bored and thought it was one of those buried treasure hunts where you click and you get the message that price was gone now; you can go for x number of dollars which is always hundreds more. But there it was: I could go for a long weekend, round trip for about a third of what it usually costs. I didn’t bite.
I called a friend and she said hey that’s the weekend of the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival and she said she wanted to go if her paycheck would allow it. She said she’d let me know in two days. If I waited: that cheap air fare would be as off as egg salad left in the sun. I needed to decide quickly. I then left a text for an acquaintance to see if I could rent her place in the French Quarter. She got back to me and gave me a decent rate for her pad. It didn’t really matter because I was pretty sure that when I logged back on that rate would be gone.
It was gone. But the new one was only a tiny bit higher. I thought now or never pull the trigger or lose this chance to go.
The reasons not to go: cash deficit. To go: I wanted to be in a magical city that holds all kinds of memories. A place I went to learn this form of uniquely American music. And I just desperately needed a break.
So I formulate a rationalization strategy. I will buy this unbelievably cheap fare but I will then sleep on this insane decision and I will probably cancel in the morning because I have 24 hours to back out.
When the confirmation email came the rate was close to $70 less than what I had been shown. How is it possible for it to go down below what the original price was? I was going round trip to NOLA non-stop for $132. (This is after taxes.)
The jazz gods had spoken.
I flew with the no-frills Spirit airlines. This airline charges for everything except for the air you breathe. And one passenger paid for that. When we were sitting on the plane to come back to Los Angeles an oxygen mask fell from its compartment and because the plane was full that person had to leave. Hope they got free soft drinks on their next Spirit flight. A few days earlier just as we hit the ground in Nola one of those oxygen masks fell from its compartment. It’s a disturbing sight, but less so with wheels on terra firma. The out-bound malfunction was a bit more concerning because before I knew what they were trying to fix, I kept seeing men in orange vests rushing toward the back of the plane with blue duct tape. This is when you start thinking I hope that the blue duct tape is blue because it’s made at NASA. Seriously: duct tape? You fix stuff on a plane with duct tape?
Because I came home in one piece I can say I beat them at their own game. I used a bag that fit their under the seat requirement, so I wouldn’t have to pay the $100 round trip carry-on bag fee. I didn’t pay to select a seat (I got to the airport early for each leg of the trip to switch my seat to an aisle seat free of charge) and I ordered no food or drink on board. I was a flying monk. One does what one has to do to get to the Crescent City on a budget.
And right before I left I booked a small TV job that would shoot the day after I returned and that would pay for the trip.
The jazz gods are also benevolent. Not always the case on the bandstand but I’ll take it where I can get it.
Randi Cee is a bandleader and a swing and hot jazz vocalist living in LA. Her CD, Any Kind of Man, is available via cdbaby.com or via randiceemusic.com. For booking information, write: email@example.com .