Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Happens When I’m Responsible For Only Myself…

If there is one thing I’ve practiced the past few years, it’s efficient travel. I know how to move three of us out of the house in hours; I know what to gather, to sort, to carry on, to stow away; I know what we will miss if we leave it behind and about the unexpected necessities. Though I often leave the wake of a whirlwind through the house (sorry, Ben), the bags are organized to a T and logistics are seamless.

I can think of only 2 times in the last 3 years that I have flown without a child in tow (or on hip, or in stroller). And today makes #3. I spent yesterday laying wool sweaters on my bed, doing laundry, rounding up boots, scarves, gloves ONLY for me – no onesies, no sipply cups, no play dough, just magazines, books, a journal, a laptop, a few squares of chocolate to carry on.

My Mom arrived in California this morning to take care of the kids while Ben is at work (bless her!!) , and multiple times she commented on how relaxed I was, taking both the packing and the leaving children in stride. Yes, I thought, everything is squared away and I am relaxed.

Only after driving through chilly sunshine to the airport, zipping my credit card through the kiosk, and checking one bag, did I discover how relaxed I truly was traveling alone – I had brought no ID. The one essential item for travel, I didn’t bring.

Wheeling my enormous bag (yes, I’m only going for 3 nights and have the same bag I use to pack for 2 weeks. And it’s almost full), I ran to the escalator, outside across two streets to the taxi stand and dove in a car. We have to hurry. The driver tore down the road, weaving through traffic like we were in an arcade. We hit 70 on a surface street and hardly slowed down to grab my passport from my mom standing on the curb outside my house. He made a mad u-turn across 4 lanes of traffic and drove like the world was ending back to the airport. In retrospect, I should have tipped him more …

I hurried back to the desk, checked my bag, stood in the security line, and was on the other side with 25 minutes to spare. Whew.

At my gate I saw red letters flashing on the screen – DELAYS. The ever-so-friendly goateed man at the counter told me my flight was actually DIRECT (a welcome surprise that explained why I only got one boarding pass!) and that the flight was going to board 45 minutes late … Glory! I could get the mocha I’d been craving all day and settled in for a warm-beverage-ed time of solitude.

As I sat sipping the whipped cream, I suddenly heard my name over the loudspeaker, but not the loudspeaker above my head at Gate 4, but some other speaker: PASSENGER NEWCOTT PLEASE COME TO GATE FIVE FOR FINAL BOARDING FOR LAS VEGAS. Gate 5? Las Vegas? Ohhhhhh. Las VEGAS, the city where MY flight changed planes. ohhhhh…

So with ZERO time to spare I boarded my plane (they were again reading my name over the PA onboard) with my little paper cup and headed to Vegas where I would catch my flight to Chicago. Why do I have only one boarding pass? I can’t tell you, but hopefully I get to Chicago and let you know from there…

3 comments:

Literary Device said...

Good luck, my friend : ) . Even the frenzy sounds fun to me. xo, K

Beautiful said...

And don't leave out the fact that your all conference material, upon which you were banking this whole trip, was from last year... Fun to be here though.

susanna said...

I almost missed my last flight without kids because they changed the gate on me and I was so engrossed in reading my book I barely heard them calling my name! Being alone takes a mom off her game. :)Just relax and enjoy the quiet now that you are on your way!