Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Information from Airports

What you need to know offhand:

  1. I'm at the airport
  2. I'm wearing a tie that cost me $3.00
  3. It is between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. on Christmas eve
  4. etc

Now, I was here (the same airport) three whole days ago, but I did not get to fly home. This is because of a Mistake (or, perhaps, a series of smaller mistakes, the likes of which don't need to be Capitalized). I overslept for a flight that was scheduled to leave at 7:45 on the Monday of this week. I woke up in my bed at 6:26 a.m. that day in front of my computer in a room in which all the lights were still on. I had not planned on falling asleep that night. My reasoning was that, were I to leave for the airport at the time I'd set for myself [5:15 (the math on this is: flight at 7:45 - 1h for security/bag-checking, - 1h to get to the airport via public transportation - 0.5h just-in-case-time = 5:15)] the least-unpleasant approach would be to not fall asleep at all in the first place. The math on this one: staying up until 4 a.m. is almost never terrible, but waking up at 5:15 a.m. - no matter when one falls asleep - is almost always awful.

So, why did I get into bed at all? Because it was really cold, and I have an electric blanket, and I am equally capable of operating a computer in bed as I am at a desk. But then the unthinkable happened, and I fell asleep. In bed.

Now, I was aware of and prepared of this possibility - I had set 3 alarms: one for 4:45, one for 5:00, and one for 5:15. All my bags were packed. I was wearing flight clothes. I was all set. Except that none of these alarms woke me up, and I regained consciousness at 6:26 a.m.

Listen: I can say, with some degree of certainty, that no human has ever so effectively exploded out of a house with a 40-pound roller-board in tow and so gracelessly rocketed down sidewalks that were all in various states (ranging from passable to intolerable) of snow-covered. I walked into the airport terminal at no later than 7:12 (the math on this, just in case you're not doing it in your head: 46 minutes from my bed to the terminal. In snow. From a dead sleep. That's Olympian. But it wasn't enough. It would be another 18 minutes before I reached the front of the baggage drop-off line, at which point I was informed that I was too late the check a bag, and also too late to be on the plane regardless. Sorry. Please go to the line on the right for assistance.

Ok: to the best of my memory I have never, while flying alone, missed a flight. Ever. In over a decade of solo air travel. So, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I liken this experience to Man being cast out of the Garden of Eden. While once I had lived in a perfect world, a world where I always got to where I was going, rarely considering any sort of alternative, a world where airline employees treated me with not-contempt, and where every boarding pass was used and no paper was wasted., now I lived in a wasteland. A Completely Ruined Hellhole.

Oh, the stinking, unbearable shame in having to make my way to the long line for the idiot-moron-degenerates of air travel. The line that, in addition to serving innocent souls whose flights had been canceled also existed for monsters like me who'd missed their flights, and - worst of all - the sort of slug-brained beings who were incapable of checking in for their flights before reaching the airport. Who are these people who don't check-in early? There was a family with about 9 huge bags spread over two huge carts, all dressed in holiday sweaters, forming an impassable human wall within the line. Despite their plans to travel to Bermuda, a trip I can only assume they had planned in advance, they did not bother to check in online, where checked baggage is cheaper and the whole process is less painful. Also, what were they even doing at the counter for domestic flights? Last time I checked (just now, because I wasn't sure) Bermuda is not part of the United States, not even a little bit. They got to go to Bermuda, and, when I got toe the front of the line, was told that I got to go to Cincinnati. In 3 days' time. At 5 in the morning.

So Here I am, finally. And here's what the line for security looked like from somewhere near the middle:

Anyway, Merry Christmas, you'll probably hear from me again before the year is out.

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