The empty wrappers of two Korean Green Tea Choco-Pies crunched in my hand as I trekked home under a 7/8 Halloween moon.
How did I get here, I asked myself. I mean, I knew how. But why?
A few minutes earlier, I let the bus that was supposed to take me to the airport roar by me.
My overnight SF to Orlando flight was set to depart at 10:30p, and it was around 9:15p when I’d made it home from my brother’s place and packed my backpack to go.
I requested a $4 UberPool ride to Aladdin Gourmet, a Mediterranean grocery store that has a bus stop in front of it.
The $2.50 bus ride would get me to the airport at 9:45p, which would’ve left me just enough time to get through the non-existent security lines at late-night Terminal 1, SFO.
Half-way through my Uber ride, I realized I forgot my neck pillow.
This is a crucial piece of equipment for an overnight, transcontinental flight on a budget airline.
Oh well, I’ll just make a pillow out of my change of clothes. I pressed on.
Then I realized my laptop charger wasn’t in my bag like I though it was.
This was a deal breaker since I’d be working from my laptop in Orlando International Airport (MCO) all day after a 7am arrival, and before my evening departure back to SF.
Where would I get a laptop charger in MCO? Maybe it’s possible.
Going back home at this point would’ve made me too late.
I was amped up for the mileage run, but I quickly amped myself down.
I bought the $20 flights months ago because I’d calculated I would need around 5k miles to re-qualify for Frontier elite status.
This trip was right around 5k miles.
Frontier still awards frequent flyer miles based on how far you actually fly, and in my mind the 5k miles I earned on these flights would’ve been worth more than what I actually paid for the trip.
Explaining all of that to my family made me realize how crazy I am for even considering such a journey.
Who flies across the country on a budget airline, twice in 24 hours, for no legit reason?
I’d felt a bit of common cold coming on that day, so I wasn’t completely heartbroken over having to spend the night in my bed instead of bobbing my head all night in a metal capsule packed with vacationers.
Though I hate wasting money, and I do love spending time in flying metal capsules.
Getting home from Aladdin Gourmet was my next step.
I’d lost enough money on this attempted mileage run already, so I was determined to walk the dark ~3-mile trek home.
I needed the workout anyhow.
Desperate to put a positive spin on this journey, I stopped by an Asian foods market and sauntered through the aisles, looking sketchy with my backpack on.
Green Tea Choco-Pies from S. Korea caught my eye.
It was around 10 at this point, so all the suburban trick-or-treating witches and White Walkers had turned in.
It was just me, the moon, and rustling bushes.
A song that inexplicably makes a person teary, Hey Moon by John Maus (Molly Nilsson originally), came to mind.
I stopped to get my phone out of my backpack so I could take a picture of my shadow cast by a construction street light on a Dodge.
The street was otherwise abandoned, but a car pulled up and started parallel parking right in front of where I was crouched over my backpack looking for my phone.
I demonstratively took my shadow photo, hoping to prove to my parallel parker that I was not the smash & grabber I appeared to be:
That was the well-lit half of my walk home.
Next was this:
Those dots in the canal?
Sleeping, floating geese, and they didn’t make a peep as I walked by, though I did seem to upset a duck family.
I realized that almost any photo you take on a lonely, dark, chilly Halloween walk home can look creepy when you turn it into a GIF:
As I neared the end of my journey, the shadow of a man on a bicycle, sitting still, came into view.
Sure enough, it was a ball-capped guy chilling on his bike in the middle of this dark, abandoned trail on Halloween.
Browsing his phone.
I waved and hey manned him.
Or maybe he was just another failed mileage runner, trying to get home.
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