This last trip was the first time I had flown without my husband. I have become very accustomed to him handling the travel issues. I get sensory overload and confused quite easily. So, he leads the way through security and the airport.
Hubby had decided to drop me off instead of coming in with me. He promised to at least slow down as I got out….gee, thanks, Honey. I was on my own. This should prove interesting.
I went to the departure board and looked for my flight. It was not there. I figured maybe different boards show different things so I looked for another board. I found one. It did not show my flight. It was showing a flight to Baltimore where I thought my flight was supposed to be. I started to panic. *First test: FAIL!*
As I turned away from the board I saw a change in the board out of the corner of my eye. I looked back and it still showed a flight to Baltimore from Orlando. As I kept looking it changed to Islip, NY. Apparently if the flight is continuing to another location after the first they show both by flashing between the two. I had been looking at that spot on the board only when it was showing Baltimore. With this new information, I made my way to my area.
Now, my husband explained to me the general layout of our local airport. You enter the airport at the central hub which you can think of the ‘torso’. Then you take a tram along the ‘arm’ over to the ‘hand’ (gate hub) your airline is designated to be on. Then terminal gates are spaced along the ‘fingers’ of the hand. He also taught me that to find your way in an airport, look up. Always look up. There will be signs, words and arrows directing you where you need to go.
My terminal was at gate 103. I got on the tram to take me out to the hand I needed. Once there I started walking forward. When I got to the end of the finger I was at gate 129. There was nowhere else to go. *Second test: FAIL!*
I walked all the way back up to the terminal hub. I looked back down the finger I had just visited. Then I looked up. There was a sign that showed, “GATES 120-129”. I looked to my right. I looked up. There was a sign that displayed, “GATES 110-119”. I was starting to sense a pattern here. I looked to my left. I looked up. I saw a sign that showed, “GATES 100-109”. AH HA! I proceeded down the correct finger while resisting the urge to give that first finger THE finger!
Once I found my gate, I knew I should use the bathroom. It was a 2.5 hour flight so I needed to start the unloading process. I hate using the bathrooms on the plane. I avoid it at all cost. They are built for people not of my size. In a space that small I would end up making enough noise that people would think I was joining a certain ‘club’ in flight. It would definitely give the wrong impression when I was the only one exiting the bathroom.
I was walking back up the finger when I was almost mowed down by the “Mommy Brigade”! Three women walking abreast with oversized strollers. I stood before them like a deer about to meet a Mack truck in the dead of night. At the last second I darted to the side and saved my own life. The “Mommy Brigade” took no notice of me or anyone else. They parted for no one! The just walked down the finger passing small villages of travelers. They took no notice of the destruction in their wake. It was beneath them to care. They were breeders and they were proud of it! Yeah, the breeder attitude annoys the crap out of me. One of these days I am going to put a stick in their stroller wheel spokes.
Next up was a trip to the gift shop. Thanks to the intelligence of the TSA, you have to buy something to take on the plane in the gift shops provided. You cannot bring anything to eat or drink into an airport. I have serious suspicions that sales were down in airports and now the gift shops are in cahoots with the TSA.
I spotted my prey almost immediately upon entering the shop. A name brand bag of almonds hung on the wall. Now, I am not considered short. I am fairly average as far as I know. At 5’7”, I am safely within the range of being able to make fun of my mom who lives her life in a lilliputian reality (5’nuttin”). I reached for the almonds and was denied. They were on the top row hanging from a metal hook that I was pretty sure blew me a raspberry after the first attempt. I tried again…denied. I spent the next couple of minutes living in the hell spawned city that my mother has learned to navigate pretty much since her birth. Do I now understand and relate to my mother’s frustrations? Yes. Will I stop teasing her about her height? Heck no. ::snicker::
Then I had a bright idea. I had a carry on bag (laptop satchel) that I could put behind the nuts and slide it forward to take it off the hook. Now, this was a grand idea IF I had not stuffed the satchel full of everything I thought I could possibly need during the flight. Anyone who is a habitual ‘over-packer’ will know how heavy that laptop bag was. This is coming from someone who had to have the laptop satchel as well as a small rolling suitcase (stuffed full!) for a stay that would be less than 24 hours. I was arriving at 12:30pm on Tuesday and leaving at 9:30am on Wednesday.
Shut up. I NEED 3 shirts! What if I spilled something on the first one? I need a back up. And then what if I brush up against something while wearing the second one? Then I will be damned glad to have the third shirt! And then I have the fail-safe crappy fourth shirt in which to travel home. Now, take this theory through ALL of your garments, next time you travel, and you will understand how packed that suitcase was. Now add toiletries, makeup, shoes, hosiery, hairbrush and all the incidentals that you see through the house as you pack. ::sigh::
So, the 50lb laptop bag was killing my arm as I tried to maneuver the almonds off of the insolent bag hook. After about 40 seconds of trying, which felt like 2 hours, I gave up my Sisyphean task. I heard the beginnings of a celebration from the top shelf inhabitants. And I am almost positive I saw the hook on the left give a high five to the target bastard that held the nuts hostage. I turned around after my unproductive work out and saw a different brand of almonds on a lower shelf. I now know this is a conspiracy by the almonds of America. The consolation pack of almonds were among the worst I have ever tasted. I would have done just as well to pick up the nuts thrown down the garbage chute by Willy Wonka’s squirrels. Off to my plane with my ‘tasty’ snack, went I.
There were no more incidents before boarding the plane. I was fortunate enough to be seated next to an angel of a man who helped me put my ‘small carry-on bag’ above our seats. The poor guy almost had to be airlifted to a local hospital with a Texas sized hernia. But he held his tongue on the weight of the bag, I think it was because he was too busy trying to breathe after the unexpected exercise. We were seated at the very front of the plane so when we landed he did not have a standing crowd to dart into in an effort to get away. So, he risked his life and took the bag down as well. He did seem to make a bee line to the door and up the ramp to the gate before I got over the plane’s threshold, though.
All in all, it was a pleasant flight. Well, at least as pleasant as they get for me. The seats are not made for comfort should you be over a size 2, it seems. I got number of pictures out of the window. A couple of which are a soothing blue/white display. The flight home was not near as pleasant. But that is a tale for another time.