Aspen Princess: Another Margo mishap
Well, it’s official: As happily married as we are, Ryan and I really are a lousy combination.
Simply put, we’re too much alike in some ways. We don’t really balance each other out. Our weaknesses and strengths are too similar.
I’m thinking maybe this is why we are having such bad travel mojo.
It seemed like this last trip to California would go off without a hitch. Everything went pretty smoothly. We remembered our IDs, we didn’t lose our wallets, we had the dog all organized and ready for her first day on the job as our official emotional support animal (a job she seemed to take very seriously and handled with the utmost poise and class, other than trying to scarf every crumb from beneath the airplane seats as she zigzagged down the aisle).
Our flights were on time, our rental car booked, and everything went pretty smoothly. We loved Santa Barbara and then headed up to the Santa Ynez Valley, the wine region made famous by the movie “Sideways,” for my friend’s wedding.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a major drought going on in California. It isn’t really that obvious from the coast. The lawns are still green, the flowers in bloom, and the colors are still surreal and bold, all ocean and sky and palm trees and roses whose fragrance wafts through the air as you walk by. But drive inland, and the landscape becomes otherworldly, a post-apocalyptic scene where life as we once knew it was snuffed out by some catastrophic event. Dust and dirt cover the ground where verdant green grass once grew. The trees are all dead or dying, their leaves brown, branches all gnarled and emaciated from dehydration. You can almost hear the dryness crackle, and it all feels very tenuous, like one false move and the whole place could catch fire.
Despite the conditions, the wedding venue was still stunning — an old farmhouse perched on a high hilltop above Los Olivos, just past Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. It was all very rustic and quaint and cool.
Everyone made a big fuss about how I was there in my “condition,” dancing the night away in a cute dress and tall shoes. I was like, honey, where I come from, pregnant women pop out babies in their spare bedroom between bowl laps. But I did feel good in my bright red dress and my most excellent shoes, a pair of tan, platform, suede Mary Janes with wooden heels and studs and tassels around the cuff.
Anyhoo, so I was walking through the farmhouse when I saw none other than Jason Segel, the movie star, sitting on the couch, casually strumming a guitar, smartly dressed in dark red jeans, a pressed white dress shirt and a black blazer, his hair swooped back just so. Segel has starred in many movies that we love, the kind of comedies you watch 100 times and still find something new to laugh at, like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “This is 40,” among many others.
“Yes, that’s who you think it is,” our friend said when she saw me standing there with my jaw on the floor, salivating slightly.
It makes sense that Segel would be related to Eric Segel, my friend who was getting married. I’ve known Eric for 30 years, yet he somehow neglected to mention his first cousin is a major movie star.
I told Ryan we absolutely should not approach him, as we were at a private, family event and the guy deserved his privacy. Had I not been stone-cold sober, I probably would have done something embarrassing and stupid and tried to charm him in some super-transparent way. But we stuck to our guns and left him alone, resorting to hiding behind various pieces of furniture where we could get a good look at him without him knowing. I did pass him once on the way to the bathroom and averted my eyes, which is probably why he went out of his way to say hello. I suppose avoiding him awkwardly was just as bad as asking him to hug my baby bump for a photo that definitely would have made it onto this year’s holiday card, but we blew that chance.
So long story longer, the wedding was a blast. We enjoyed a leisurely brunch the next morning as we took our time, making our way to the airport for a late-afternoon flight.
We went to check in, and there was no record of our reservation.
At that point, I just assumed this was another Margo mishap and didn’t really react. I checked my phone and realized I’d booked our flight for Monday instead of Sunday. Ryan was none too pleased, as he wanted to get home and have a day to relax before going back to work.
Fortunately our dear friend Amanda lives in Manhattan Beach and came to our rescue by hosting us for the night in her epic pad a block off the strand that has a nice guest room with a comfy bed with high-thread count sheets.
After a rather unpleasant and stress-ridden cab ride with a driver who was clearly peeved about having to drive us a short distance from the airport with a dog, we arrived to discover Ryan had left his driver’s license on top of the kiosk when attempting to check in for the wrong flight. It was never to be seen again.
It turns out that not only can you travel with a pug — you also can travel without your ID, so long as you’re not shy about having a TSA guy fondle your privates just a little.
All in all, the trip was a total success though not without its usual hiccup. If there’s one thing you can give us credit for, at least we’re consistent.
The Aspen Princess is hoping Jason Segel’s publicist finds this article and reads it to him. He can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What am I going to do? I’m going to learn a lot about you, us, myself. I’m going to learn about our grit, our character, our very souls as only such tests can reach.
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