Airports always give me a sense of excitement! Even as a kid, I felt important as I independently strolled through concourses and found my way by picture signs. I had a place to go! And on the way, I would get to enjoy roasted, bland peanuts and free gingerale. I could draw in my notebook for those many hours by using the tray in front of my seat. Why not be excited?
Now I don't get quite as excited about the peanuts, but I still love flying. And because I love that, I love the airport. Maybe that's why I kept a smile when things turned upside down...
After our little group of ladies had gone through the security checkpoint and eaten a meal, we were settling for the wait when Angelica received a call from the House Phone (a white phone for communication between airport personnel and customers, found in any airport). She had left her boarding pass and ID at security! Since my papa always taught his five beautiful daughters to pair up for safety, it felt absolutely natural to go with her. Thinking we'd be fast, I left everything but my own pass and ID with the other three women. Angelica and I took the airport tram back to security. She felt pretty annoyed, but we were able to smile about it.
Finally at security again, a woman by the last name of SLONSKIS helped us. That name is burned into my memory by the sheer differentness of its sound! What a name! *psst, if your name is Slonskis, just admit it's cool and don't be offended* I murmured it to myself over and over, marveling at the absurdity of it while we waited for another person to address the problem. A man with Dr. Seuss-like blue gloves on told us they'd sent everything to the lost and found. Which happened to be across the airport.
At Lost & Found, a woman told us Security had sent nothing since early that morning. *exclamation of disbelief!* Angelica was being very quiet at this time. She felt quite aware of how much time we had till our 4:20pm flight left. To be exact: FOUR MINUTES.
We ran back to security (people gave me disgusted looks as I ran barefoot, clutching my shoes--but if anyone tried to stop me, they'd be sorry)! The same Blue Gloves man happily presented the boarding pass and ID. I had a few words lasering from my eyes but kept it clean. We couldn't be angry--it was how it was, so why not just be happy?
Angelica and I ran to the tram and sat aggravatingly still as it took its normal speed through the concourses. The recorded voice for announcing stops sounded unusually expressive! The voice was preceded by a little country-jig blip that made us laugh like we were crazy. And then we laughed harder at the voice: "Hoooooold on!" Oh, brother.
My cheeriness kind of wooshed away when I saw no plane behind the windows at C49. Feeling a little stupid at the obviousness of my question, I asked for reassurance "It's gone?"
The remaining flight attendant smiled kindly at my forlorn expression.
"Yes. Your friends did everything they could."
"Did the plane try to wait at all?" Why did this matter? It was gone!
"Yes, the plane left six minutes late."
SIX MINUTES! OH POOH! THAT'S NOTHING! THAT'S NOTHING! Ah, but six minutes makes a huge difference on the other end and an even bigger difference for connecting flights. I decided to feel thankful.
And then a rush of excitement filtered in. It had actually happened to me...stranded at an airport! An adventure! Angelica took a reasonable time to warm to the fun of it, but once she did, we got hyper! When we couldn't get on the 7:35pm flight--already overbooked and oversold, as airlines like to sneakily do things--we just shrugged and got something to eat. I felt a little on the homeless/helpless edge, but glad to be with a friend. And such a fun friend! We laughed so hard! And she kept making me laugh when I had food in my mouth. Let me just say that it's an unpleasant sight for anyone to see. Luckily, she had kleenex.
We killed time by walking the wrong way on moving sidewalks, sharing personal stories and racing to the bathroom (I panicked that I'd take too long with the personal details in the bathroom and miss yet another flight). And then Angelica's phone died.
I can't even tell you what a relief it was to finally get on the 9:30pm flight. Our adrenaline kicked back for the first time in five hours (maybe more because before we even got to the airport, Louisa forgot her cell phone twice). Hah! What a day.
Those sweet women all waited for us! Cindy, Jess, Louisa! They are such great friends! Thank goodness Cindy didn't have a myocardial infarction. Phewf!