Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Airport Story

Our Godson Dawson was coming to visit and I had to pick him up at the airport at 3:49 p.m.  Although the airport is only around twenty-five minutes from here, I wanted to be absolutely certain I was there on time so I planned to leave at 2:00.  I set my alarm, my cell phone alarm and even my oven timer as a back up.  I was quite proud of myself for my over-planning because it's pretty much the opposite of how I normally behave. 

This would be a stress-free trip because I had factored in plenty of time for the unexpected, right?  I had covered all my bases - except one.  The timers rang, I checked my purse for my driver's license and headed off to the garage.

Some thoughtful someone had backed my car into the garage so I didn't have to turn around in the driveway before I left.  Unfortunately, that special someone had neglected to turn off my headlights, so the battery was dead.  I panicked and called my (very thoughtful) husband who suggested I call Mary Ann who suggested I find someone to jump the car.  (She's brilliant!  Why didn't I think of that?)  Of course my jumper cables were in my trunk which I couldn't open because it was backed into the garage..

Luckily Denny, a neighbor who occasionally works from home, was there today had a set of cables and said he'd be happy to help out.  He'd never driven down our driveway, which is a little like an amusement park thrill ride, but he was game.  He had my car started in a flash. 

Our driveway is not the venue for polishing rusty driving skills and I am not wild enough to attempt backing up it myself, but I'm not a guy.  Guys are different, more optimistic.  Denny made a couple of attempts at backing out before deciding to reevaluate the situation. 

Remember those 'Y' turns we all had to learn in driver's ed?   They are a good starting point for turning around a large vehicle on a small driveway pad.  I usually use a 'W,' another 'W', then a couple of 'Y's myself and I have a tiny car.  It's a humbling and time consuming experience.  Denny was aware of my time-crunch so he pulled off to the side to let me leave while he figured out whether or not to abandon his vehicle.  (When I got back, he was gone so obviously he figured out his own alphabetical turning techniques.)

Thank GOD I had allowed extra time!  It was now after three, but I still thought I could make it to the airport before Dawson did.  Technically I was right.  I did arrive at the airport before him, but he beat me to the terminal

I hit a snag in the hourly parking garage.  I couldn't find one single spot, not even one that looked like it would be dicey to squeeze into.  Zero!  This was supposed to be hourly parking.  Why was it full?  It didn't make sense.  Were so many people at the Charlotte airport picking up and delivering folks that their cars would fill an entire parking garage?  About this time, I was feeling stressed, believe me.  

There is an overflow garage and I drove through half of it before I saw an open  space in Blue East, Level Two, Row C.  Just after I pulled in, my cell phone rang. Dawson was calling to tell me he had landed.  "Take your time,"  he said.  "I will be the last one off the plane."  I told him to wait at the gate and I'd get there as soon as I could.

Problem.  There were plenty of overhead exit signs, but none that said "Terminal."  My spatial orientation skills are pitiful on the best of days and today wasn't falling into that category.  I walked the length of the garage and followed an exit sign out to what looked like an abandoned construction site.  Then I went back inside and took a creepy stairwell to a lower level where I eventually came across an area where I could look up see the feet of people walking above me.  I found more stairs again and saw the terminal across the street.  By now, I'm not humming or whistling merrily, ya know?

I entered the terminal through door 'D' and speed walked down to the other end.  I could see that the security lines were long but I had to have a gate pass to collect an unaccompanied minor first, and that would be granted at the Delta ticket counter.  When I wormed my way to the front of the line, all the ticket agent needed from me was to see my driver's license with photo id.  Guess what?  I COULDN'T FIND IT!!  What I had seen at home and thought was my license was actually a credit card. 

I tore through my entire purse but the license was nowhere to be found.  I could hear my heart beating now I was so upset.  I had every grocery store bonus card in America in there along with a handful of library cards from every city I've ever lived in, but NO LICENSE!  By now I was shaking.  Finally I found an expired COSTCO card with a six-year-old photo of me that was as big as a baby's fingernail.  It was enough to prove I'm me, but not enough to secure the gate pass.  For that, you need a driver's license.

The agent suggested I go back to my car and search but I felt we needed an alternate plan, since I had no earthly idea where my car even was and The Godson was already on the ground.  Finally, we compromised and she said she'd go get Dawson and bring him through security herself.  She told me to stay at the ticket counter and call him to let him know she was coming for him.  Then she vanished, just like my driver's license had.

I called Dawson several dozen times and texted as well, but his ringer was off and he never answered.  I began worrying that he'd refuse to go with her.  As time ticked by, my imagination kicked into high gear.  I decided she must have sold him into slavery or, worse, to medical research and he might wake up tomorrow in a seedy hotel room with only one kidney...

Eventually he arrived.  After offering heartfelt thank-yous to the ticket agent, I left the Delta counter with a grateful heart - and, more importantly, a Godson!

Our first adventure:  find the car.  (He later described it as "a tour of the airport.")  Yes, I knew I had parked in Blue East, Level Two, Row C.  I simply did not know where Blue East was.  When we finally fumbled our way to Blue East, Level Two, Row C, the car was gone.  Somehow as we'd walked down the row, we'd changed levels.

ENOUGH!  I had had enough!  I felt panic, so I hit the panic button on my keyring.  It worked.  When the sound stopped, my car magically reappeared and my panic evaporated.

I wonder if I can use it to help me find my driver's license?

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Thankfully Maggie is coming to the airport as an "adult" I suggest you find the cell phone lot, park in it and when she's got her bags she can text you so you can drive thru and pick her up at the curbside:)