Some of my friends are on planes every single week, dashing between clients. I don’t understand how in the world they do it with such style. I generally fly about once a month, and the experience is rarely smooth or pretty.
I’m never that person who arrives approximately 30 minutes before the flight to check-in, gets through security, and saunters into their first class seat five minutes before the doors are closed. I have tremendous anxiety about being late for my plane, so I tend to arrive at the airport at least two hours before my flight is due to leave. At least 90% of the time the flight is delayed further, giving me a nice three and a half hour cushion.
I also tend to prepare too soon for security. Therefore, I’m the one walking through the waiting area with no shoes, no belt, a laptop balanced precariously in my arms and a ticket in my teeth. This proves to be an unpopular approach for the ticket agents who have to pull the ticket out of my mouth. I’m pretty sure I’m the reason many of them wear gloves.
Once I walk to my gate and check to see that it’s the right flight at least three times, I drag everything to the Hudson Bookstore to grab a book and a snack. This is my reward for flying. I buy a book, get some unhealthy Trail Mix, a bag of M&Ms and a Diet Coke. Then I sit down and swear that I will not open my drinks or snack until the flight takes off.
One hour later I am starving, and tear into everything. Therefore, when they call my flight I have to throw everything into the trash because that announcement is like the starting gun at a race for me. I run forward and stand in front as if I am in Zone 1 even if I’m actually in Zone 3. Yes, I’m that annoying person.
If you ever want to spot me walking through the airport between flights, understand that I am not the woman in stiletto heels with perfectly coiffed hair pulling her delicate suitcase. I am the woman in track shoes with frizzy hair that is growing at an alarming rate from humidity, hauling a large laptop bag that is tugging my jacket sleeve down. I am usually limping based upon the latest airline seat I slammed into trying to get off the plane quickly.
I am also grimacing due to the fact that I damaged my already injured shoulder trying to pull my suitcase out of the overhead bin where things had shifted due to the large man who shoved it aside to accommodate his big, fat coat. I am the person checking and rechecking her boarding pass, since I have repeatedly misread gates or flight numbers in the past. That’s usually because I refused to search for my glasses one more time. Therefore, I squint my way through airports, hoping something will come into focus.
There are times I actually slightly cross my eyes, since often that will cause letters to suddenly become clear. So, I look a lot like a Jerry Lewis character limping through the airport, cross-eyed, and frizzy.
If you happen to see me in an airport, don’t bother speaking. I’m usually so focused on getting around the person in front of me I don’t notice anybody’s face. I actually knocked a man down once when the laptop suitcase I was pulling lodged behind his legs as I ran for a flight. I jerked on the handle and took him down.
Other than that, I am a delight in airports. Give me a little wave from a distance, and maybe we can meet for a quick bite in the food court.