by Laura Roberts
Once upon a time there was a girl named Laura. She lived in a cool southern town and was an American, verily, but did not act like a jerk-face like some Americans. She had a good friend named Christine who, in her inimitable manner, fell in love with a dude in a very peculiar way. This dude was very tall, which was good since Christine was in truth rather bizarrely tall herself, and said dude was also Australian which was also good, Australia being no longer peopled with criminals but rather with hotties. This dude's name was Mike, by the way. Christine and Mike decided to get married in Germany, the better to divvy up the whole experience to as many continents as possible, and they picked a day in high freaking summer tourist season. Laura was extremely excited to escape the Louisville heat and humidity for a little bit and share in the joy of her friends' wedding day, because they were so stinking awesome. So she went online to get a plane ticket, and lo, it was US$1400.
"Holy crap," she said. "But no worries, for I have frequent flyer miles in abundance from sundry trips to Europe and Hong Kong." So she called United and spoke to a very lovely woman on the phone, who told her how many frequent flyer miles she possessed, and lo, it was nearly 50,000.
"Victory!" said Laura. "I am a bit short, but still I shall reserve my plane ticket this very day." So she went to the United website to exchange her miles for a plane ticket, when what to her wondering eyes should appear, but a cost chart for the purchase of frequent flyer miles. Dismay and anguish flooded over her as she saw that, to purchase the additional necessary frequent flyer miles would cost her US$1100, nearly the cost of the ticket to begin with. And behold, there was much cursing of United.
"Piss and bollocks," mildly swore Laura, "That is more money than I make in a month." But, undaunted, she waited, checking prices periodically, looking at last-minute deals, and even scoping out those dodgy cut-rate consolidation companies. Even still, it became increasingly clear that adding to her already large-ish debt would not be either a wise or godly choice, nor allow for a particularly good wedding present for her friends. So she sadly resigned herself to watching the webcast of her friends' wedding, still praying for a lottery win that would allow her to fly first class to Germany, but not holding her breath.
But looking through tearful eyes toward the future, she began plotting to set aside a bit of money each month until she could afford the obnoxiously high plane ticket price to Australia to visit the above-mentioned couple, in whose joy she can share only from afar.