Monday, May 18, 2009

Fight or Flight

I was in Phoenix, Arizona all weekend for... work? Vacation? Someone else's honeymoon?

Work. Definitely work.

It seems that work also involved a resort, a lazy river and lots of couples walking around in robes and slippers.

I hate those times when I'm not 100% detail-oriented because it will inevitably come back to bite me. Examples of this would include not proofing a paper for an English class ONE LAST TIME before submitting it, leaving my purse on a bus in Germany (recovered), leaving my wallet on a train to Montauk (recovered) and a slew of other incidents. It happens, I deal with it, I promise myself to do better next time. 
At some time or another, we have all seen the poor discombobulated soul running through the airport. As a people-watcher in most settings anyway, there are few better places to observe a wide variety of cultures randomness than an airport terminal. I am habitually early for flights and have never missed one.
Yesterday evening in the Phoenix airport, I was the one turning heads. In the security line on the way to my gate, I realized that the slip that looked like a boarding pass that I had placed next to my I.D. in my wallet was in fact the receipt for my checked bag. Not okay, considering my flight was already boarding and I had all of 22 minutes before take-off.
Rachel, a wonderful airport security employee, told me to try the kiosks outside of security to print a new boarding pass, and that I could come back through the employee/first class line and by-pass everyone when I returned. Since it was so close to my flight, the kiosk would not allow me to print another one, so she told me to "haul it" downstairs and see if they would print me another pass at the desk. I bascially had to make a decision at that point: did I want to endure the almost-inevitable of missing my flight and getting bumped to the next one, or did I want to bust my tail and try my darndest to get on my original flight?
I took off running, literally running, not "rushing" or "hurrying", down to the ticket counter, and encountered another helpful person who printed off another boarding pass for me in a number of seconds and told me that they would not close the doors until 10 minutes before take-off. At that point I had nine minutes until that happened.
I sprinted back over to an escalator, taking the steps two at a time which looked really lady-like in my sundress and flip-flops; my running gear of choice. I arrived at security, got to cut as promised and after saying, breathlessly Myflightleavesin15minutescanIpleasegoinfrontofyou? I threw my purse and shoes through the conveyor belt, walked as calmly as possible through the security check, hoping they wouldn't stop me to look in my bag, grabbed my things on the other end and took off running again.
I saw the arrow for gates A17-A30, and what seemed like an endlessly long hallway with horizontal escalators. I was glad it was a straight shot at least, considering the four minutes I had left to get to my gate, as I blew past everyone lazily waiting for the end of the escalator, leaning on their rolling bags, probably thinking of whether they wanted to buy peanut or regular M&M's before their flight, without a care in the world. I don't typically run with such fervor, such gusto; I'm more of a jogger you see, but I was in the zone. 
I turned a hard right to see the gates, still running, and saw some of my coworkers who were in disbelief that I had made it back. The flight attendants at the gate were watching the clock as they scanned my boarding pass, probably thinking was this seriously printed downstairs seven minutes ago? Yep, it was.    
And you know what else? I didn't miss my flight. Boo ya. 

Peter McCallister: We didn't forget him. We just miscounted.
-Home Alone, 1990


Andhari said...

WOOOOOO you fight to flight indeed, there's around 10% chance I can actually follow the lead, seeing I'm seriously SLOOOOWWW. You're like Flash, only cooler.

DocE said...

Did you enjoy our ridiculously hot weather this weekend?!?!?! Although it looks like you stayed in a pretty place, it doesn't make up for the 105 degree weather in the middle of May! :)

Glad you made your flight, I've found our airport staff to be significantly less helpful than what you described here, then again maybe I'm just used to it.

I'm glad you made it home safe - Happy Tuesday!

The Polka Dotted Owl said...

you are my hero!! i would have never made it. totally sucks, sorry that happened to you.

wait, you left your purse on a bus in germany too? :) wouldn't that be wierd. i mean if it really happened. love how you write. i have your post 2 times so far.

jlc said...

Phewww so glad you made it!

Hope you're having a good week doll! :)

erin - heart in ireland said...

Wow! That is impressive! I've always wondered how those people running have always left it until the last minute!

I've gotten so used to flying with my passport from living in Europe, I hate flying in the US because I can't stick my ticket in my passport!