Monday, March 23, 2009

Late for the sky

I traveled this weekend to attend a wedding reception. It was a beautiful party and the bride looked very glamorous. About an hour after the party I went to the airport to go home. I wasn't flying directly home; had to stop and change planes in SFO. Normally I try not to do this anymore, but because it's spring break time, a direct flight wasn't all that affordable.

I now know what it's like to be the last person to board the airplane. I have had to run to catch planes before, but I've never arrived dead last. Until today. My flight into SFO was very late. I assumed that my connection to Portland would either be late as well, or I'd miss it entirely. So, it was with a strange feeling of dread that I even boarded the first plane. When I exited the plane in SFO I immediately heard the page. Flight to Portland, final boarding call. Doors ready to close. I knew the page was meant for me, they just didn't say my name.

So I ran. I ran until my lungs hurt, my legs burned, and I felt like throwing up. I ran until it felt like my sandals would fall off. From a distance, I saw the attendant at the gate, and I saw him look for me, then look right at me. I waved my arm, and he yelled for me to run faster. I pulled out my boarding pass with my teeth. I ran down the jetway. The flight attendants smiled and told me they'd held the doors for me. I thanked them breathlessly, refraining from wasting any time explaining that my connection was late. I hoped they knew it.

I know that in airline-speak, "on time" just means they closed the doors on time. After the doors were closed, we had a 30-minute delay on the ground. I was glad because that gave my suitcase time to transfer.

When I got to Portland and happily retrieved my suitcase, I then had to run to catch the bus.

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