Split Second Decision

So I realize I'm a proponent of doing something fun and crazy daily or weekly, but what I did was just plain crazy. Not recommended.

Where do I begin... So I had a flight today at 4:20 in the evening to fly home for the weekend. I was on a roll at work and struggled to tear myself away. I had just made a break through on aggregating and analyzing my U.S. Census disability data and didn't want to quit (exhilarating, huh? Sadly, it actually is to me sometimes). Well I manage to pull myself away at 2:15. Walk home in the torrential downpour and scarf down a lunch. Well unfortunately I didn't "scarf" that fast, next thing I knew it was going on 3pm. I live 20 minutes from the airport, so I quickly finish packing my bag and dart out the door. I weave through traffic and rain and manage to make it there in a timely manner.

As I approach the airport I make a last minute decision to fork up a little extra cash and park in the long-term parking garage, instead of the long-term lot. Without much deliberation I make a quick left and pull into the garage, finding a spot right near the exit. Perfect. I jump out and start swiftly walking toward the terminal, passing people on my way. Luckily the security line was only a few snaking curves. I made it through security, found my gate number and got to Gate 15 just in time..."What time is it?" I thought to myself. I dug in my pursue to look at my phone...my phone was not there! Panic set in. I looked at the man standing next to me at the gate and asked the time. Thankfully he was precise, "3:36" he responded. Where is my phone?! In the bathroom? At security? In my car? I had a split second to decide if I search for it and risk missing my flight or just hope it's in my car waiting for me when I get home Sunday. I stopped, I thought, I ran. Can't live without my phone. How would my dad know to pick me up? How would I call Andrew? Ok, really, I didn't need the phone, but I know that if I didn't go back and at least check I would worry all weekend and wonder if it was there.

So I took off towards the exit, not sure if I could get back through security once they had already marked my ticket, but I didn't care. I felt a little awkward running past people exiting. I must have looked really eager to wait for my bag or really excited to see someone about to pick me up...unfortunately it was neither. I ran out the door back towards the garage. Now, I'm not the most in-shape person I know, but especially not when I'm running in jeans and Crocs, through the rain trying not to slip (Crocs=no traction), with a small tapestry suitcase tastefully decorated with a beach scene (the kind old people can't pass without complimenting), and a pursue over my shoulder that is more like a carpet bag (you know, the kind Mary Poppins had. The type that women pull things like full size umbrellas, coat racks, and furniture out of). So I ran/walked to my car.

As I approached, fear set it, what if it wasn't there? What if I miss my flight? What if this was all in vain? I nervously approach the passenger's door and open it. Nothing. No phone in the console. "Ok, try the driver's side," I tell myself, "a different perspective may clear this up." Negative. I frantically start padding under the seat. Nothing. I make one last attempt and jump in the car and peer between the driver's seat and the console....like the golden ticket in a Wonka Bar, it glistens at me. I grabbed that phone, threw it in my carpet bag of a purse, zipped that sucker in a side pocket, and tore down the parking garage back to catch a flight to Florida. I ran so fast. Well let's be realistic, there was no miraculous boost of energy or oxygen. I ran. Walked. Ran. Walked. And got back to security just in time to see a line at least twice as long as the previous one I stood in. Guess I knew the answer to the "Please, don't let there be any line" prayer.

Now the fear has really set in. I am sweating bullets--this is unique coming from the girl who wasn't sure her sweat glands still worked or her pores still open. Oh, apparently they are and I didn't even need to go to a gym to figure that out. I'm hot, panting, sweating, nervous, stressed, and freaking out. I feel bad for the people all standing around me, what an awkward person to be in line with. Am I nervous about missing a flight? Nervous about flying? Just plain sketchy?

Ah yes, the random TSA agent is walking through the line, from the front to the back, not saying anything just making eye contact with people to signal his willingness to help. Good. He gets to me, I said to him, "I've already been through security and had to exit to run to my car," (still panting, I probably didn't have to tell him I'd been running, he knew). "Oh, well did you get a 'front of the line pass' on your way out?" he asked. Seriously? Would I be asking you for help if I had a pass to skip to the front of the line?! "No? Well you're just going to have to wait in this line then. Next time get a pass." 'Cause that was the first thing on my mind before my panicked run! Thanks.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. "I'm not gonna make it. I'm not gonna quit sweating. If I do make it, I'm gonna smell so bad no one is going to want to sit next to me," all happy thoughts running through my head, of course. I finally get to the front, as if my already marked ticket isn't sketchy enough I panic and drop my drivers license. Then when they ask if I have liquids, I balk. "No" I lie thinking I'll save time. I did. Luckily I make it to the next stage with no qualms. I get to the security line and toss my stuff into the bins. "Come on gramps" (my thought bubble). The old guy in front of me is a tad bit slow. I've already done this, I'm ready to go, I probably had my shoes and coat off before I even got to the ticket checkpoint, I do it. I am that pushy lady who is running late and asks to cut. He says, "sure," I say "great, my flight leaves at 4:20" (it's 4:00 by this point), he responds, "oh I leave at 4:15". Great, I can't cut a guy who has five minutes less than me before flight time. I patiently wait. He tries to small talk about how we spend so much time packing and making it neat only to tear stuff out when we go through security. Interestingly, the guy at the metal detector says, "Hey, weren't you just here?"
"Yes," I tell him, "I had to run back to my car."
"Didn't you have your hair down before?" he asks.
"Yes, that was before I went for a little jog to my car," I respond.
(Note: This man sees hundreds, maybe even thousands of people a day, and he not only recognizes me, but notices that my hair is different! Wow, hopefully he's scrutinizing our luggage that closely).

We make it through, and the old guy in front of me has the nerve to turn to me and say, "We've even got time left to grab a coffee!" I grab my stuff and again, take off running, still awkwardly and ineptly all the way back to Gate 15, just in time to see the previous flight deplane and my boarding begin.

What a stressful hour at the airport! Had I waited any longer to leave my apartment I wouldn't have had that extra time. Had I parked in the cheap-o economy lot I wouldn't have had time to wait for the shuttle to pick me up and drop me off. Had I just had the phone in my pursue in the first place I wouldn't have given myself an ulcer! So, I did make my flight, I do have my phone, and I can feel my legs tightening up from the unexpected work out.


  1. **big sigh** What a fabulous workout! I'm tired after all that. We were so close...and I didn't know it until it was too late. Next time!

  2. Wow you had me going and I knew the end results. I enjoyed our brief weekend together. Too short.

    Now, I will start a new pile of things you left behind. Starting with the razor in my shower.

    See you next month.

    Love, Mom