Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. Obsessing over lists, setting alarms, staging the gear by the door so as not to forget anything…all great ways to be sure you don’t end up with headaches. But what if you add one more dynamic? Such as getting a ride to the airport in the wee hours of the morning? Before I mention what happened, I would like to point out that the guy who gave me a ride to the airport was doing me a huge favor. He was under no obligation and we’re not even close friends. He also wasn’t being paid.
Sorry I’m late…
Did I mention that this guy drives with extreme caution? An admirable trait for sure but the clock still ticks and time is time. As I saw the ‘depart the house’ time pass and grow from 5 minutes to 10, then 20 minutes, I began to get really worried. Should I call a cab? Jump in my own truck and just pay the fee to park at the airport? No, he’ll be here, I just need to be patient. Finally he pulled up at my house 23 minutes late. He had forgotten that he was giving me a ride and had to turn around and come back. I told him it was ok and I thought I could still make it on time. I was wrong.
Stranded in no-man’s land
I’ve never seen so many people trying to get through security! Needless to say, none of those guys are in a hurry. Ever. I knew I had to hurry and once out of there, ran to my gate! I got there just in time to see them close the door. ‘Sorry sir, once the plane is started we can’t let anybody else on board’. Seriously?
When you miss a flight-and you’ve never missed one before-you feel helpless. That’s probably the look on my face that caused the lady at the check in desk to take pity on me and work hard to find another flight for me. ‘We have a noon non-stop that I’ve booked you on already’ she said, and my heart sunk. Noon? I asked her if there was anything earlier, already dreading spending 6 hours sitting around at the airport with nothing to do. I was trying to keep my temper at bay-it wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t really the dude’s fault that gave me a ride, it was MY fault. OK, ok, sort this out later, keep calm, work through it and remember to BE NICE even if I don’t like what I get. OK. I can do this! Finally the lady found a flight that left at 9, with a layover in Albuquerque of an hour. I felt like the kid on Christmas Story that forgot what he wanted and blankly said ‘yeah, a football’ when Santa suggested it. OK, well it’s at least closer to my destination! I went to the airport Chili’s and ordered breakfast, then called my buddies to let them know that I wouldn’t be on time. The guys take turns on picking up and dropping off when I come to town, and being an hour away, they have to get up pretty early to meet me at 7:45am. Once done with that I hit one of the kiosks for interesting magazines, bought a couple and looked for a comfortable chair.
Albuquerque is a cool place, unless you’re sitting in the airport
The layover went pretty much as expected. I got a spicy lunch, hoping it wouldn’t catch up to me later (yeah right), and sat around watching people. One thing I always notice is how different people are in other places. It’s interesting and at least people watching helps pass some time. I finally decided staring out the window at the mountains was less likely to cause any reactions. All mountains seem to call to me in some way, but I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’ as I looked out the window. Those mountains weren’t as good as the mountains I was going to. They don’t hold the kind of gold I would be looking for. My friends also don’t live in those mountains…my patience, or lack thereof, was beginning to wane. Finally the call came and we all boarded. As I sat down on the plane, I realized it was the final leg, and I suddenly felt really tired. Actually I was just relieved and thought I’d even try to sleep a bit on the flight.
Not so fast there, Skippy..
Once on the ground in Phoenix I began texting my buddy that we had landed and were taxiing to the gate. He told me to let him know when I got my luggage and he would meet me at the curb. I just wanted off that plane and away from the headaches of transit! Closer and closer, finally coming to a stop at our gate…then the clunking and banging sounds…more sitting…more clunking…then the pilot’s voice, ‘ladies and gentlemen, we’re experiencing problems with the jetway, we will have to move to another gate, thank you for your patience.’ WHAT PATIENCE? Just for a second my temper threatened to come back, but then…yeah, this was funny. In fact, the whole thing was almost comical! I realized that my quest for adventure was already being fulfilled, even if not how I expected. This is the stuff that makes for funny stories and memories. Life is good, what do I have to be upset about? I chuckled out loud and smiled real big, saying a quick prayer to God in thanks for reminding me of which end of the microscope life is meant to be observed…
Missing one day of nice weather, I looked at the forecast. Storms were coming, and promised to bring ice and snow. We would have one, maybe two days of good weather, and I knew there would be no time for being tired or moving slow. Like most trips, I put on my ‘mission focused’ face, forgot about the troubles and lack of sleep, and went straight to the fun part.
Lesson learned-pay for transport or do it yourself.