:: off on the wrong foot ::
...some kind of awkward journey

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Sunday, March 28, 2004

home at last 

well, my trip home yesterday was one of the worst ever. the day began with a low tire on the rental car, so i had to put air in it before crossing the bay to st. pete. as wonderful as the hotel was, it was not very close to the place where i was working. then i had to contend with a huge backup of cars at the rental car return, waiting in line for at least 20 minutes before i could drop off my car. time: 11:15 am. flight time: 12:25 pm. after procuring my boarding pass, dropping my bag off with the TSA, taking the tram to my terminal, and waiting in line for security, i had 20 minutes left until boarding began. i needed something to eat and some caffiene, since i hadn't had anything except water and a few gummy bears that morning. so i order something at chik-fil-a and wait for 10 minutes until i can go scarf down my food at my gate.

time to board. my seat was 33d of a 34 row plane. arriving at my row, i meet a woman whose husband and young sons are sitting across the aisle. would i mind sitting in her seat, the middle one, so she can sit next to her kids? nobody could refuse that. (it wasn't too uncomfortable, and the woman was nice. we talked some on the flight.) of course the air is turned off over my seat, so i need to reach up to open the vent. did i mention that i was wearing jeans and a fairly heavy cotton button-down shirt? in the 80-ish degree weather in tampa, i found myself sweating a bit. (it's not unusual for me. my sister and i both suffer from it. and nothing really works for us.) let's just say i had to raise my hand, and i definitely wasn't sure, but i was uncomfortable. i don't think the guy sitting to my right was too happy either.

our departure from tampa was nearly on time, although we had to wait for another plane make an emergency landing because of a medical emergency. we were delayed from our arrival by about 30 minutes. did i mention that i was connecting in philly instead of charlotte? it's the worst routing ever. philly arrival time: 3:00 pm. flight time (to richmond): 3:35 pm. during the flight to philly, the pilot announced our incoming gate and other outgoing gate. we were arriving at b14, and my flight to richmond was departing at gate f37. i consulted the airport map at the back of the airline's magazine, and realized i had a long way to go. then the pilot announced that a shuttle left from gate c16 to the f terminal. so i asked the flight attendant how often the shuttle ran. she said that she thought it was at least every 15 minutes. after i explained that i didn't have much time to get to my flight and asked if there was anything she could do to help me, she told me that i shouldn't worry about it. she said that people get worried about it all the time and then they get to their flight okay. thanks for the help, you twit. (the woman next to me had my back on this one.)

so i walk off the plane around 3:10 pm, and stop to talk to the gate agent who receives a phone call at the same time i arrive and proceeds to talk on the phone instead of to me. so i start walking (use this as reference), looking for another airline agent to talk to as i go. i find one guy who is just looking at ticket stubs, and i ask him if it would be faster to walk to the f terminal or take the shuttle. he told me the shuttle would be faster, and that it ran every 2 minutes. so i start running to gate c16. did i mention that i was wearing shoes like this instead of sneakers? i should have my head checked.

i think all airports are hot. newark was an oven the last time i was there, and tampa and philly were both hot yesterday. so needless to say that with the running and warm environment, i was sweating again. i finally made the bus and and rode around the airport on the way to terminal f. the map doesn't do this place any justice. the route through the airport should be at least 3 times longer, and the bus route winds around a bit more. after taking a wrong turn in terminal f, i make it to my gate just as the gate agent was closing the door. she let me in, and i walked to the back of the plane to sit in the very last row. after takeoff, the flight attendant announces that there will be no drink service due to the short length of the flight. i decided to buzz her and see if i could at least get a glass of water, and she was nice enough to get one for me.

the trip improves slightly once i'm on the ground in richmond. we arrive a little bit ahead of schedule, since we were only in the air for a total of 25-30 minutes. and this was probably the first time in history that i didn't have to wait at least 15 minutes for my luggage to travel across the tiny richmond airport. i was so exhausted at this point that my suitcase felt twice as heavy as it really was. i pre-paid my parking, but my ticket somehow fell out of my pocket on the way to the parking garage. i had to wait for another receipt at the exit, but at least i didn't have to pay any more money. i was totally beat by the time i got home.

but everything was much better after that. m and i ordered a white pizza, watched tv, and played with the doggies. we were all happier to be back together. i think lucy missed me a lot this time. she slept curled up next to me all night.

needless to say, we're just chilling at home today. especially since we'll be on the road again next week. so i'm just going to enjoy every second of today.


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