Friday, January 29, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
It's Wednesday, December 16th, and I'm on my way home to Raleigh from Honolulu.
I get to the airport and try to do the self check-in deal and get this response: "We were unable to complete your transaction. Take the information card to an agent for assistance."
"Hmmm….weird," I think to myself as I take my place in the back of a very long line snaking its way around the desk with only two people working.
After waiting in line for 30+ minutes, it is my turn. My bag weighs 46.6 pounds. Phew! I made it under the 50 lb. limit! But the lady at the counter has a puzzled look on her face. "Yikeseeeez" I think.
"Ms. Brunson, we can't seem to locate your ticket." She goes on to tell me I should have a paper ticket (which I don't have) blah blah blah. She calls someone and I wait 30 more minutes. Another lady comes and fixes the problem, apologizes for the wait, and gives me a ticket that says "Gold lane" on it. This makes me feel special. At this point I have 30 minutes until my plane leaves. All I need to do is clear security.
I proudly take my place in the "gold lane" only to discover that they are letting people in the other lines go ahead of me.
"But they aren't GOLD!!!" I wanted to yell…but I didn't.
I get to the dreadful conveyor belt where you have to strip down and unpack your bags. I know I'm running way behind schedule and I'm nervous about missing my flight.
"This is wasting my time," I think as I place my bag on the belt, forgetting my laptop was inside.
"Whose bag is this?" a security lady yells while holding up a black book bag that ironically reads "student missions."
"That's mine," I sigh as a man lectures me on how laptops have to be put in a separate container before you can put it through the belt thing. He takes my bag and puts it through the belt again which seems to be getting longer as the seconds tick by.
I have no time to reassemble my belongings, so I take off sprinting with my backpack flopping behind me, my purse clinging to my side and a reusable grocery bag full of cookies securely positioned under my arm.
But before I make it out of security, a man stops me and says, "Ma'am, mind if I have a look in your bag? I need to make sure you don't have any fruits or anything."
At this point, I'm frustrated. "All I have is cookies," I say as he begins to slowly inspect every single item in my bag. He finally hands it back and as I get in my running stance again he says, "How about your purse?"
"SERIOUSLY?! Do I look like a terrorist?!" I wanted to say as I opened my purse and showed him my harmless camera, wallet, phone and chapstick.
"Okay, you can go," he said.
So I take off sprinting and run right up to my gate which appears to already be boarding.
Out of breath, I hand the lady my ticket and she says, "Um...Ms. Brunson, we haven't called your group yet. You are group 4. This is first class. You need to wait."
My days of being a gold member were short-lived, but I embraced the dejection with humility and took my place in line with the other low-lifes like myself.
Group 4 is called. I hand the same lady my "ticket."
She says, "This isn't a ticket…he took your ticket back there right?"
I don't know who "he" is and I sure didn't give him anything, but I smile and say "Yes," and she allows me to proceed.
I take my place in seat 19A, conveniently placed in front of a screaming baby (as if I don't hear enough of those every Tuesday morning J)
The movie actually looks like it will be good. Hallelujah! I plug in my headphones…no sound. "Yours must be broken," the flight attendant says. Awesome.
I'm getting hungry but don't want to pay $10 for the Boston Market meal, so I opt for the $4 cheese and crackers. I get four small crackers, one piece of cheese, a small box of raisins, and a small bag of peanuts (I remember the days when those were free on airplanes!)
I devour my lunch and order my usual airplane beverage: Cranapple juice mixed with Sprite. The flight attendant hands me a can of Sprite and a can of Cranapple juice. Then she gives me a cup of ice….and then holds out another cup of ice.
I stare at her blankly. "But…I…only…need…one cup of ice because I mix the drinks together…" I'm slowly thinking. "Is she trying to give this to me? Or maybe the girl next to me?"
Finally she says, "Taaaake iit" like she knew I was clueless.
With a confused look on my face I take the second cup of ice while thinking that American Airlines is killing the environment by giving out completely unnecessary plastic cups.
I down my cranberry/sprite concoction while the ice melts in the other cup. I drink both cans. After all, dad always tells me to drink plenty of fluids when I'm flying so I don't get dehydrated.
Well…my bladder isn't that big as it is and when you drink two cans…you gotta GO!
I'm in the window seat, so I ask the girls next to me if I can please slip past and go to the bathroom. I go and come back, feeling much better. Not 15 minutes goes by before I have to go again! I try to hold it out of embarrassment for having to go so much and don't want to ask the girls to move again. I hold it for a few more minutes when all of a sudden…dun dun dun… TURBULENCE!
"Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts and remain seated until the light goes off." With each bump we hit my bladder is telling me I should have gone earlier. The girl next to me is trying not to throw up (she doesn't like flying and this is the worst turbulence she's ever experienced). I, on the other hand, am trying not to wet my pants.
The seatbelt sign is still on, but I have no other option. I defiantly unbuckle my seatbelt and cling to each chair that I pass, trying not to fall on my face. The bathroom seems so far away.
The flight attendant is buckled in her chair and says to me, "Be careful, the seatbelt sign is on."
I laugh nervously and say, "Sorry…I gotta go."
The silver toilet with weird blue stuff in it looks like a beautiful throne and I breathe out a sigh of relief. I never knew what the white handle in the bathroom was for until that moment. I held on for dear life as the plane shook violently beneath me. But at that point, it didn't matter. I was exactly where I needed to be.