Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Getting there is half the fun

In my last post, I asked whether you’re the type of traveler who arrives at the airport with plenty of time to spare or if rushing to the gate at the last minute is more your style.

Being late is stressful to me, and I freak out in double time if I think I’m going to be late for a flight, so as a result, I like to leave my place here in Henderson two hours before take off. Yes, I know I’m only 15 minutes from the airport, but because I’m “frugal,” I have to allow time to find a parking spot in the economy lot, take the shuttle to the terminal, check in, go through security, get my USA Today and People/Us/OK!/Star magazines (depending who’s on the cover), have a beer and make new friends in the bar, pee, and then get to my gate 10 minutes before we board. That’s my little ritual.

I had a feeling my beloved boyfriend is the type who, while I’m yakking it up with fellow travelers over a Guinness, is just getting out of the shower. And so, when he asked what time he should pick me up at work last Thursday for our 1:55 flight to Albany, I told him noon, even though my office is a mere five minutes from the airport.

“Noon?” he asked. “I have some errands to do in the morning.”

“Alright, 12:30,” I said, figuring maybe for once I could give in a little, even though I hate giving in as much as I hate compromising.

Mensa Man’s a smart guy, so he arrives at my office a few minutes early and we’re on our way, with time to spare. Let the adventure begin… our first trip together involving air travel. My family is finally going to get to meet my amazing boyfriend. Yay!

“Do you have your license?” I ask, seconds after we leave the parking lot. As the words come out of my mouth, I feel kind of bad because it’s such a no-duh question and I don’t want him to think I’m a nag or anything because I’m a changed woman and I don’t nag anymore.

But… no. As a matter of fact, he does NOT have his license. His license is in his wallet, which is… back at his house. In Henderson. Fifteen minutes from the airport.

“No problem,” I calmly say. “We’ll just go back and get it.” And because I’m a changed woman and so in love with this guy, what I didn’t say was,

Are you f*cking kidding me? You have an IQ of 500 and you forgot your f*cking wallet?”
And then, because I’m a changed woman and I’m not sarcastic anymore, what I didn’t say was,

Are you f*cking kidding me? You have an IQ of 1000 and you’re taking the goddamn surface streets instead of the highway? Seriously?
At 12:55 I’m sitting outside his house while he runs in to fetch his wallet. A mere hour before our flight.

The good news is, this guy is the most amazing driver I’ve ever seen in my life. “We’ll be at the airport in six minutes,” he promises, but I don’t believe him. There’s no way we can make it that quickly. No freakin’ way. But because I’m a changed woman, I don’t say a word. I sit in the passenger seat and smile.

He breaks a hundred traffic laws getting us there, and I swear I cover my eyes as we careen down the 215, but we get to the airport from Henderson in six freakin’ minutes.

At that point, economy parking is out of the question, so I direct him to the long-term garage, where there are two lanes dispensing tickets. Except one is obstructed with an orange construction cone, so we drive up to the open lane.

It’s out of tickets.

There are no f*cking tickets left in the goddamn ticket dispenser. Which also means there is no getting through the gate to the garage.

Cars begin to line up in back of us, the drivers wondering what the hell the problem is. Fortunately, no one dares to beep their horn, which saves them from my wrath because I would have ripped their f*cking heads off. Mensa Man gets on the phone next to the empty f*cking ticket dispenser and asks whoever answered to come and rectify the situation. For two minutes I practice my yoga “calm blue sea” mantra before a guy on a bicycle rides over and opens the closed lane.

So we finally get a goddamn ticket and drive into the garage. No parking spots on this level… or the next… or the next… or the next… Not until we snake our way up to the roof do we find an open space. By this time, I’m resigned to the fact that there’s no way we can make our flight and it’s a good thing beloved boyfriend has his wallet because he’s going to need it to get us on a later one. But I am still the picture of serenity, spouting crap like, “It’s all good; the universe unfolds in divine order,” and “This must be happening for a reason,” because, you know, I’m a changed woman because I’m so in love and I don’t fly off the handle anymore.

As we approach the ticket counter, I’m positive we’re way too late to check our bags, but the attendant takes them and tells us we’ll still make the flight. Of course, I don’t believe her.

There’s no line at security so I thank God until I hear, “Excuse me, ma’am. You’ve been selected for a random check.”

You have got to be f*cking kidding me. This is f*cking bullshit. I’ve never been randomly checked in my life and you gotta pull this f*cking bullshit now?
That’s what I would have said. But I’m a changed woman and I want my boyfriend to think that I’m breezy and easy going, so I don’t say a word. I let the TSA woman pat me down and wand me over as I try to suppress my heaving chest. Calm blue f*cking sea.

Finally she’s done with her ritual. But where’s Mensa Man? Oh, beautiful. He’s been caught behind me. Another TSA woman is going through his backpack and she is most certainly not in a rush.

Hurry up, you stupid f*cking retarded b*tch!
That’s what I would have said, but because my boyfriend still thinks I’m a nice person… oh, fuck it, at that point I figured there's no way we’d make it to the gate on time anyway so why bother wasting perfectly good obscenities?

My beloved won’t give up. “Come on, we can still make it!” he cries.

As we run to the gate, I come this close to spraining my ankle in my three-inch Spring/Summer 2009 platforms that I always wear because the extra height makes me look thinner, and…

… we make it.

In fact, they’re just starting to board. I not only have time to grab a celebrity rag, but I have time to pee, too. Amazing. It’s all good. Maybe the universe really does unfold in divine order. I turn to beloved boyfriend and say,

“You are so buying me a cocktail on this flight.”
I’m not that much of a changed woman.

There are lessons to learn here, but the one lesson I hope my boyfriend doesn’t learn is that it’s okay to pick me up a half hour later than I suggest; I can’t handle that kind of stress. And of course, the lesson for me is that there’s really no need to be so neurotic about leaving such a huge cushion of time. Even though we left Henderson an hour before our flight, even with the ticket and security snafus, we still made it on time.

But I hate learning lessons. Just like I hate giving in and I hate compromising.

As it turns out, we made it to Albany no problem. Beloved boyfriend so thoughtfully had gone out and bought us each a pair of noise-reducing headphones, which he hooked up to two little connected DVD players so we could watch a movie together during the long flight. It was awesome! But I still haven’t told you about Courtney and John’s party, so come back on Saturday, okay?


Anonymous said...

I'm a 'be there early' kinda gal too. My daughter not so much. She dropped me off for a flight (that I had suggested we leave much earlier for) and the gal at the front desk considered not letting me have a boarding pass. Have to get the boarding pass at least 30 minutes prior to flight or they don't let you board. Sheesh! That extra time cushion just feels better to me than the stress of having to beg a ticket agent.

The Blue Ridge Gal

GypMom said...

This was hilarious. I too, stress out completely at the mere thought of being late. Good thing the hubby is that way too or I'd have to kill him.

The Peach Tart said...

I am an early to the airport kind of gal. I like you, want to get some reading material that would be my guilty pleasure (People, Star, In-Style, Food and Wine), pee, make sure I have a bottled water, check for my boarding pass a few dozen times, pee again...that takes a lot of time

Julie D said...

I can verify that your beloved MM can indeed fly down 215 and get to the airport in 6 minutes. Been there, done that. We were flying so fast I looked like I'd had a facelift.

You know I was laughing out loud at this post, only because now that I truly know you, I have seen those 3" platforms and the visual of you running in them had me curled up in a fetal position on the floor, with tears rolling down my chubby little cheeks from laughing so hard.

I just love you. :)

AmyK said...

If you hadn't allowed that extra time, you wouldn't have made it. His wallet would still have been on his dresser. I hate starting a trip with all that stress too. Glad you made it.

C.Thurlow said...

I am so stressed just reading your blog...I need a Xanax now...or a mojito. I feel your pain there, I like to be at the airport very early. I'd rather wait there than be told the plane door has closed and I missed the flight. Ahhh, I am not alone! Thanks for the morning funny.

Not Always About Monkeys said...

I just love you, Linda Lou! Thank you for providing my first chuckles of the day.

CarmenSinCity said...

Oh my god girl! I'm sitting here getting nervous for you! I am just like you. I leave PLENTY of time open for my flight. I always get there way too early but that's because I can't stand the stress of having to rush to make a flight. YOu handled the situation VERY well. I am so proud of you!

classicrockforthesoul said...

Oh wow.. what an ordeal!
Glad you got there safely though.

I always get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. I've never been in any close-call situations, but I hate feeling hurried.

Can't wait to read about the party!

linda said...

Now and then we all have to raise our standards.

Don't worry, once one of you farts it will be downhill from thereon.

Unknown said...

Absolutely the funniest post to date! I see this as a classic example of the Mars/Venus thing.

Can't wait to hear about the trip.

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

OMG! I could NOT have handled that kind of stress before flying. You poor thing.

And, don't change too much - I like you just the way you are!

jcsavestheday said...

I cannot stand a bunch of stress when I travel. I'm not so rigid that I can't be a little later than i had planned, but I could NOT cut it that close for a flight.

Good for you that you let things mellow, though. No need to start your trip off with a big fight. That's no way to travel either.

Anonymous said...

Come on Linda,

I bet you have made him late due to your excessive time in front of the mirror. If guiding light was on the tube, you would sit through it flight or not!

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Anonymous, you're all wrong! Don't you think I record Guiding Light every day? Though you have a point about my time in front of the mirror...

Lori Biker said...

I love that story!