Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coming Home

Yes! Home at last, sitting in front of my clunky computer, the one that doesn't have thirty two adolescent passwords just to use Windows. Memo to myself: never get an Apple notebook, especially one that uses Mozilla like the one I've been reduced to while away.

So I flew home today, an exercise in frustration. It all started when I got to the two plane airport and realized I had forgotten to bring my suitcase. That shouldn't have surprised me because I had also neglected to take a coat on the trip with me. Anyway, I make it on the plane and land in Charlotte, NC, which reminds me of the email I was mentally composing to the authority...something along the lines of...

Dear Sirs, while you are obviously pleased, based on the gleeful tones of your announcements every fifteen minutes, with yourselves on your newly-minted status as a "smoke-free" airport, I'd like to point out that you forgot one incovenient fact, which is that at least a quarter of your passengers are addicted to nicotine...

Yup, there I was after four moving sidewalks, one escalator, and two buildings, standing out on the "courtesy" smoking area without the aforementioned forgotten coat, puffing away with the assorted multitude and trying to control the violent shaking. It was a 3 hour layover and now involved calculating the length of the TSA security line, the purported boarding time, and the time it would take to traverse the two buildings, one escalator, and four moving sidewalks.

This time I flunk the second security screening. With great gravity, they go through my pocket-book, and I have, oh, no, two lighters. Perhaps they feared I would engage in an act of self-immolation on board, since I obviously had nothing else to burn. There went my brand new emergency lighter. Not to fear. By the way, sweetie, I had three lighters, not to two. You missed one!

I settle into the gate an hour ahead of time when whispers of "oversold" reach my ears. When they ask everyone to check in again, I rush to the line. I'm not staying at this God-forsaken airport one minute more than I have to. Oh, no, the woman at the counter in front of me leaves, but the guy at the other line is still processing his people. They're going to get on, and I'm gonna get bumped. I dash to guy's line. As I make it to the front, the woman who has returned to her hastily abandoned post brings him scads to passes to do. I'm fighting to the death on this one. Eventually I obtain that most prized of possessions a new boarding pass, only they changed my seat and now I'm the last to board, which turns out to mean I'm in the back of the airplane.

So when we finally land an hour late, I say good-bye to the woman next to me, advising her that if I have to trample three people along the way, I'm getting out of this plane first. Unfortunately, I run into jerk a few rows down, who proceeds to take down his carry on and repack it while blocking the aisle. I guess he must have resented my breathing down his neck, because he then stood in my path and waited for the entire front half of the plane to get out of their seats, get their walkers, and finish their conversations. He obviously wasn't a smoker.

The moral of the story, other than that I should quit smoking: airports suck.

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