Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getting There

It’s a good thing that I’m not a superstitious person. Otherwise I may have taken it as a bad sign when Shaun discovered that we had a leaking water pipe somewhere on our property on the morning we left for our six-day trip to New York.

And when we got to the security screening line at the Portland airport and Shaun was pulled aside because he hadn’t noticed that his Leatherman was in his laptop case, I could have taken it as an ill omen. But no need. They merely packaged it up and for $12 allowed Shaun to mail it back to himself.

It took a little more willpower to disregard the jumpy Marine trying to get through security just ahead of us. It appeared that he kept setting off the alarm by failing to place all of his metal items on the conveyor belt, and the repeated, failed attempts had left him agitated. I think he was trying to smile, but it came out as a grimace—his teeth were bared and clenched, and his eyes looked wild.

“What do I do?” he entreated the TSA agent standing on the other side of the arch, waving his arms and shifting his weight from side to side as he bounced on the balls of his feet. “What do I do?”

“OK, friend,” she said firmly. “This is your fifth trip through the doorway. Relax. Take a deep breath. And then step on through.” The fifth time was a charm. So that was all right.

Our flight left a few minutes late, but nothing to worry about. We would still have just enough time to make our connection. Except, for some reason, at the time we were supposed to be landing in Seattle, our plane was still in the air.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the captain, “you may have noticed that we have been climbing again.” Actually, I hadn’t noticed.

“We had a malfunction with the flight controls. But we are now cleared for landing and that’s what we’ll be doing.”

Hmm. Well, the flight controls had started working again. So that was really more lucky than unlucky. The passengers who clapped upon our uneventful landing obviously agreed with me.

We landed in Seattle just as our flight to Newark was scheduled to board. The terminal we were leaving from was a subway ride away, and as we stepped off the train into the long corridor that led to our gate, we heard the final boarding call for our flight. My fear of losing a day in NYC overcame my reluctance to look like an idiot, and I broke into a jog.

If you can’t imagine Shaun running for a plane, your instincts serve you well. His fast walk kept him only a few paces behind me. We were the last people to board, except for a crabby old couple who had apparently been hanging around for hours but couldn’t be troubled to actually get on the plane.

We settled into our seats, and I caught my breath and smiled at Shaun, saying something like “I can’t believe we made it.” Then I sat and thought about it for a few minutes before turning to Shaun with the question of the day.

“If we just made this flight,” I asked, “what are the chances that our luggage made it too?”


Annie Nannie said...

Ohhh noooo! Can't wait until the next post to see if your luggage and sense of humor arrived with you in NY!

Of course - I guess there could be worse things than shopping for new duds in NY - right?

josieO said...

I know that feeling! Although one time my luggage didn't make it despite a several-hour layover. That's just plain lazy, LUFTHANSA.

eric O said...

We had to run to make a plane once. Having done it with lots of carry-ons and a one-year-old Dietrich in my arms, I understand the Shaun approach to late-for-my-plane madness. The only thing that made it bearable was that Dietrich was screaming with joy while we ran through the terminal.