Thank you, Michael P.
But maybe I should back up a bit.
This morning as scheduled my iPhone alarm went off at 3:00 AM. And as scheduled by 3:30 AM I was out the door and on my way to Baltimore Washington Airport. But that’s where the last of the morning’s plans went off as scheduled.
Even by DC standards traffic was oddly heavy for early morning, and by the time I pulled into BWI long-term parking I knew it was going to be close. Then, the terminal shuttle – which I could see from the bus stop – sat parked a good five minutes before making its rounds. However, there was still time to get my boarding pass and make it to the gate…if everything went smoothly. Which it didn’t.
For some reason every self-serve ticket kiosk was dedicated solely to members of the armed forces, meaning the backup at the service counter was tremendous – and it was not yet 5 AM.
To say I travel light doesn’t begin to tell the story: last year I packed in a book bag everything I needed for a three-week international trip. But not so for many of my co-travelers: this morning the French couple immediately in front of me apparently had prepared for the coming global clothing shortage, checking in a remarkable six suitcases – each. In front of them were first-time parents who clearly hadn’t yet learned just how few of those fancy baby accoutrements really are necessary. But finally I had my boarding pass and was free to race through the airport.
And then security.
Enough said on that front – other than the observation that if world peace ever breaks out, we should seriously consider repurposing TSA agents as speed-control personnel and altogether forego every other form of speed constraint.
By the time I finished re-robing and re-packing my electronics, I embarked on my morning’s second marathon with a growing sense of futility: by now nothing short of transformation into a photon was going to get me on my flight.
And I was right.
The plane still stood at the gate, and though the agent was able to walk onto the plane to speak with the attendant, she came back with a message I can only assume was supposed to convey something: the “final numbers were already entered.” I had missed my flight.
Over the years I have missed many flights. I have been stuck in DC traffic and gotten to the airport too late. I have been at JFK an hour early only to have my flight cancelled. I have been in international airports when gate changes were announced in English so heavily accented I couldn’t understand the announcement. I have been on Air France flights that were so late my entire connecting itinerary was useless. But never have I missed a flight when I stood in line praying my mother would live long enough for me to reroute my journey.
Now enter Michael P.
Or more precisely, thank you, Michael P, for not entering. I have your seat on American Airlines. And because I have your seat I will land a full hour earlier than I would have had I made my original flight.
I hope you’re ok – and that you have flexibility in your travel plans.
With my mother at the very end of life’s runway, life seems remarkably short. Certainly life is remarkably complex.
And sometimes, life is just remarkable.