I worked in the northeast yesterday and drove back to the airport to catch a 5:30 p.m. flight back to Tucson. As I got to the airport, I noticed the board indicated my flight was already 20 minutes late. Oh no! I knew I was already cutting it close with only a 50 minute layover in Houston. "I really would rather not spend the night in Houston!" I thought. To be clear, I love Texas----love IT! But there is something about the lure of sleeping in my own bed that motivated me to check the board. Another flight was leaving for Houston in 20 minutes!! I got in the line for security and began the snail's pace that reminds me that busy airports resemble rush hour. In front of me was a gentleman (loose term) who had already began imbibing prior to getting in this security line. Rush hour---happy hour---same?
As the line crawled towards the security desk, drunken fool began to express his feelings about the line. "This airport stinks!" "What are they thinking?" and many other gems graced our line time.
By the time we got through security, I jogged towards the "leave-early-gate" only to see no gate agent there and the door closed. The flight was closed. Up saunters Guy-who-should-not-have-any-more-alcohol. As the gate agents come back from releasing the flight, he starts in, "Why did you guys already shut the door?" They calmly responded, "Sir, the flight is supposed to leave at 4:40 and it is now 4:41." Ranting and raving, he stomps off to --- YEA!---try to get a seat on my original flight.
The 5:30 flight was delayed about 40 minutes, and "my friend" made it on the flight only to begin yelling at the gate, "Why does THIS flight have to be late when the last flight left early??" I couldn't help but wonder what he expected them to respond. The folks standing near me and I just exchanged smiles which, translated, said in no uncertain terms, "Aren't you glad you aren't married to this special someone?"
I knew before I boarded where he would be sitting and I was right----the seat in front of me! The couple that sat next to me was from Mexico and as the guy in front of us began rocking (and squeaking) the seat back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth), the Spanish guy looked at me. I believe he wanted to know if everyone in the U.S. is an idiot. The Spanish gal looked at me as the squeaking chair got louder and louder and she began to.....giggle. It was contagious. I couldn't help it. Call me giddy from fatigue at this point, but I began giggling too (softly, of course. I taught students with behavior issues for long enough to know you NEVER show you find misbehavior amusing----it will NEVER END!)
Well, apparently, it does end.....after slamming down three rum and cokes within a 30 - minute time frame. After that, his head dropped to his chest and for the rest of the flight.....just snoring. (Lucky seat mates, he had).
At the end of the flight, I turned on my phone to see a text from my airline---telling me they had booked me a seat on a flight to Tucson the next morning!! I looked at the time as the door to the jet bridge opened----15 minutes exactly until the flight to Tucson would leave. Could I make it?? Two terminals away. They close the flight at the 10 minute mark. I'm in a dress and high-heeled boots. I am carting my roller board. Can I make it? I have faith until drunken dude realizes AT THE DOOR that he forgot his jacket. He has to get past us to swim upstream like a salmon back to his seat. I believe I came dangerously close to knocking him into an empty seat as the rest of us exited the plane as rapidly as possible. And then I sprinted.....no, ran.... to the next gate. I had to laugh at all the people I passed who were outright laughing at me maneuvering through the airport in my boots that were NOT made for walking. As I approached the blessed B10, I heard the voice of an angel, "Arneson? You can relax. We were about to shut the door but we knew you were coming. You made it. Relax"
The heavens opened up and I came extremely close to weeping. As I sat down in my seat, I saw that everyone around me had a book and was quietly reading. No hint of crazy-boy-who-should-not-drink-anymore. Whew! Heading home.....
Just for today, when things start to look rough, can you find a way to find humor or look on the bright side? For me, it makes all the difference in the world!