Misadventure Monday: BWI-LAX-CRY
Fair warning, this misadventure involves a lot of crying. And to be honest, also involved a lot of cursing as well, but that’s been edited out 😉
Here’s the long story short, maybe you can relate: Running late for a flight, everything goes wrong along the way, connection cancelled, slept in airport, precious days of vacation lost, cried.
Not to mention towed car, ID missing, barefoot running, and mean metro lady. All in less than 12 hours!
So let me explain.
It’s Spring 2012. I am living in Washington D.C. and have been so looking forward to a week on the West Coast Best Coast with my boyfriend and friends.
It’s all been planned- I’ll fly to Monterey, CA where my boyfriend, Bill, is in grad school, we’ll have a night to catch up after being apart for a few months and the next morning we’ll hop in the car and road trip to Seattle, Washington by way of Ashland, Oregon to see some friends from college.
I couldn’t be more excited. We all know (or can imagine) what it’s like to be in a long distance relationship. In two words: not ideal.
As an added bonus, Bill and I were only going to see each other a total of 13 days that entire year due to our schedules (work, grad school, moving abroad, and money all played a role). This was going to be our longest time together the whole year- an entire week! At least that’s what I thought…
In addition to seeing Bill, we were going to get to see some of our closest friends from college, our roommates- soul sisters and brothers. What could be better than a mini reunion?!
So that’s where we are. I’m pumped. I can’t sleep. I can’t wait to be reunited. All I have to do is get my butt to the other side of the country…no big deal, right?
Well, the misadventure really starts the night before my flight. I’m in Rockville, MD returning some library books before I leave and I park in a lot that I know has “restaurant parking only” signs, but I’ll only be two minutes. Plus, those signs never mean anything, right?
I don’t have to tell you what happens next. (But I will 🙂 ). I come out of the library, I’m serious, not even 5 minutes later, and my car is gone. I panic (duh) and it doesn’t even occur to me that my car has been towed. (Of course it has, I parked where I wasn’t supposed to and, hey, that’s how it works).
Finally, I put it all together, saying some not so nice things under my breath to the restaurant owners and the people who towed me – I mean, their parking lot was HUGE and EMPTY, what was the big deal? But what’s it matter what I think, my car is gone.
So I call the tow company and yep, they’re on their way to their own lot right now, I can come get it.
Well, this is the days before I had a smartphone and Uber, so I’m not really sure how to “come get it” without a car. I don’t know anyone in the area, I don’t know a taxi number, I cry.
That’s cry #1 for anyone who wants to keep count.
Long night short- I get the car, pay my dues, and cry on my way home. Yep that’s cry #2, and the trip hasn’t even started yet…
The day is here! Today I am flying to CA! Last night was a bit rough, what with the towing and all, but I’m over it- it’s time to fly!
I leave work early, but still later than I planned, rush to my apartment to get my bags, walk/run to the metro to start my 1.5 hour commute to BWI and we are on our way!
Well, of course, it’s not that easy. I’m sitting on the metro, about four stops away and, you got it, I realize I don’t have my ID. I DON’T HAVE MY ID ON THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT.
You know why? Because in the anxiousness of the night before, I definitely just left it at the tow place. It’s sitting in stinking Rockville. And I’m sitting on the stinking metro. And everything stinks. And I’m crying too.
This is where a montage would come in if this were a movie- me crying, rushing off metro at next stop to get a train going back to apartment so I can grab my passport, pacing and tapping foot impatiently as I wait for train and ride to my stop, cue mean metro lady.
Mean Metro Lady
Ok, I’m not really being fair- she was doing her job. I asked her to hold my 2 backpacks as I ran the hill up to my apartment to grab my passport.
That’s right, I asked a metro lady to watch my unattended luggage. I didn’t think anything of it- I knew I didn’t have anything bad in there.
Well, she did her job well and so I huffed and puffed my way the 15 minutes uphill with backpacks on my back and front to get my passport. Then huffed and puffed my way back. Sweating all the while. And, you know it, crying.
Ok- we’re back on the metro- ID in hand. This is going to be tight, but I think we might make it on time. (Just a reminder for anyone new here, I talk to myself in “we” when we need a pep talk, makes the struggle less lonely, yaknow?).
So, the way this works is I take the red line to the green line, ride it to the end and take the B40 about 40 minutes to BWI. If it sounds terrible, that’s cause it is. But it works. At least most of the time.
But not today.
Today there is no bus. I wait. And wait. And the pacing, foot tapping thing is back. I do the math in my head- how late can I possibly wait before it’s too late for me to make boarding? How long would this take in a taxi? How much would that taxi cost? (No smartphone or ubers here yet people, remember? I can’t even check the live bus schedule app- the horror!).
Well, right when I’m about to give up, standing there a tapping, pacing, kinda talking to myself (with only the nicest words ;)), and lowkey sobbing, that dang B40 turns in.
We hit rush hour. We crawl at a snail’s pace. I’m practically a series of explosions of anxiety, nerves, and frustration the entire time, but we make it.
I bolt to security (printed ticket in hand- thank goodness that existed!) and do all that rigmarole. They don’t search me or my bag for anything additional- I know, surprising in this story, but this part actually went pretty smooth…
But I am late, even with a smooth security- there are exactly 13 minutes until the plane takes off- meaning 3 until the doors close. I take all the energy I have left, secure my backpacks to the front and back, grab my shoes off the conveyor belt, and I’m off. Luckily, I am in pretty good shape, cause this is a lot of extra weight.
Sweaty. So tired. Unable to breathe. And clearly a mess, I run up to the gate.
The door is open. The two attendants stare at me. I’m sure I look crazy, and I’m telling you, the thing I remember most to this day is the amount of sweat I made in that short run. Those backpacks were heavy! So I look a crazy, sweaty mess.
But they let me on. They literally let me on and close the doors.
AAAAHHHH. I let out the largest internal sign. I make my way to my seat, embarrassed by my sweat, overall crazy look, and shoes in my hands, but ecstatic that I am on.
So the adventure really begins. No more crying for me on this trip…
Maybe I forgot to mention that I had a connection in LAX to get to Monterey.
I am currently only on the first leg of the journey. I land in LAX, everything uneventful between the airport running and airplane sitting.
But then I see the screen say CANCELLED as it does so horribly in red next to my connecting flight.
But. but. It’s 10pm. And I have to get to Monterey. And I only get 13 days this year. And I’m tired. And really need a shower. And why? What? Why?!
I bubble and burst. So many tears.
I talk to the nice lady at the help desk and she gets me on a flight at 7am. I take it and thank her, but that’s not good enough for me.
There goes my one night alone with Bill. There goes my shower. Clean bed. And of course part of the road trip.
(I know, I know- first world problems. I get it. I can’t even begin to pretend that I have any other kind, this is the life I was lucky to be born into and I own that.)
Well, there is no changing this one. Sleeping in LAX it is. Bill and I talk through other potential plans- he can drive down to get me tonight. I can fly into another airport a few hours away. None of it makes sense. We’ll just have to wait.
So I do. I pace the airport. I sit. But that’s not all- I throw a full blown I’m tired, this has been a crazy long day, it’s technically like 3am my time, I’m upset and want a hug, but now can’t have one, fit.
I just sit and cry. And somewhere in that I fall asleep. Double backpacks now making nice pillows.
My alarm rings. It’s 6am. It’s go time. I’m already sleeping at the gate- there’s no way I’m missing this flight.
And I don’t. I board and arrive in Monterey. Uneventfully. As if the day before had never even happened. As if it was all this smooth.
I see Bill through the crowd as I exit the secure area in Monterey, he smiles as he hugs me and says, “have you been crying?”*
*Ok, he didn’t actually say that because A. he is a nice person and B. he definitely already knew I had been crying. But that is the only part of this story that is fabricated, the rest is 100% true from my memory–so I guess take that with a grain of salt.
But we’ve all been there. Excited for something that doesn’t work out or happen the way we planned. Cancelled flights. Running late. Just needing a good cry. These things all happen in life and especially when we travel.
The key is to not be like me in 2012, the key is to stay calm. To put it all in perspective. Maybe you have to cry to do that, but I sure hope it’s not as much as I did that day.
So, what’s your cancelled flight horror story? We’ve all got one- share in the comments!