It was the ultimate “oh sh*t moment.” I was rushing to catch an early morning flight home last Thursday when I reached into my back pocket to hand the woman at the gate my driver’s license and boarding pass and neither was there. No matter how many times I shoved my fingers into that pocket, they were still not there. I stepped out of line and silently panicked. I was at the world’s busiest airport, had walked probably a mile through the parking lot and terminal, ridden a train, and used the bathroo… wait, the bathroom! I ran to the stall I used and saw my sad boarding pass on the floor by the toilet. My I.D. was not with it. I re-traced my steps in the concourse, I spoke with the gate agents (keep in mind, my flight is boarding), I checked that damn pocket again. Then I remembered I had taken both items out while on the train to see my gate number. Oh no, my license must have fallen out then. I raced down the escalator to the trains and stood there staring at them because there was no way of knowing which train I’d been on. I searched the ground, the up escalator, yes, the pocket again, and figured it was a lost cause. On my way back to the gate to hopefully still be able to board, I stopped by the customer service desk to ask if anyone had turned in a license. Nope, not this morning. I slowly walked away and when I reached the end of the desk I glanced back and, WHAT’S THAT?, I see my driver’s license right next to the phone, 3 customer service people down from the woman I spoke to. I said, probably too loudly, ‘THAT’S ME!’ and grabbed it. They said someone had just turned it in and boy wasn’t I a lucky girl. I raced to the gate, was last to board, and sat there sweaty, holding my license and boarding pass a little too tightly. As we took off, it dawned on me the odds of that license making its way back to me. Someone had to find it, most likely on the train, and then take the time to turn it in to the customer service desk IN THE EXACT CONCOURSE MY GATE WAS IN AT THE EXACT TIME I WALKED UP THERE TO ASK ABOUT IT. Remember kids, it’s better to be lucky than good.
That luck did not hold on my trip home Monday. Through a series of flight delays and cancellations I was faced with a 10 hour layover in Salt Lake City. No matter what airline or city I tried, I couldn’t get home before 6 Tuesday morning and yes, I had to work that day, oh and President Obama was in town so, there was a bit of news to cover. So I begrudgingly took my new itinerary and devised a plan to kill 10 hours in an airport roughly the size of Concourse A in Atlanta. The first order of business was food, and whoops, had some beer too, to dull the boredom that was sure to come. And this was just hour one.
Hours 2-5 – AIRPORT SPA DAY!! I have walked by the XpresSpa at airports a million times and thought who has time to get a manicure while rushing off on a trip. The answer: I DO! Time for a manicure, pedicure, and massage, with a good 20 minute pause while I had an epic coughing fit to the horror of the staff (bronchitis still hanging on). Went with light pink for the fingers, electric blue for the toes.
Hours 6-8 – Time to stuff my face again. Tea for the aching throat. Iced lemon pound cake for my expanding behind. Read a few hundred pages of Stephen King’s “It.” (dude has some freaky thoughts.)
Hours 9-10 – Ready to re-charge my batteries. No, my actual batteries. Every device is dying. I park my aforementioned bottom on the dirty carpet and use a baseboard outlet because all the ones by the seats in the waiting area are taken by happy people who never lose their I.D.’s or suffer the humiliation of having callouses removed from their feet in front of thousands of strangers.
Boarding time – HALLELUJAH! Oh boy, this is looking good. I have an aisle seat in the middle section and no one’s sitting next to me. People keep coming and still, no one. I dare to glance toward the door to see if there are any stragglers and SHE’S CLOSING THE DOOR! I’ve got the row to myself. Ahhhhh. I will drape myself across these seatbelt buckles, cover myself in these crappy blankets, and get some glorious sleep.
6 a.m. – Home. And I probably shouldn’t tell you but when I woke up during our descent into Atlanta, slipped on my glasses, and looked down on the floor to gather my things, I saw my boarding pass lying there. It had crawled out of my pocket and was taunting me. I never learn.