It’s a bad start to any trip when you wake up two and a half hours before your alarm the morning of your departure.
Yet, there I was, wide awake at 2:00 after almost four – count ‘em! – glorious hours of sleep.
Me: I could go in early and get some work done before takeoff.
Working at the airport is convenient in this scenario.
Myrtle: You move, you die.
It’s like that beast can selectively read my mind. But, the Mistress has been sleeping with me nightly the last six months, usually pinning me to one spot by nestiling into my crotch after I’m asleep. That and using her litter box consistently last week for the first time in a year – damn feline UTIs – and I’m inclined to lay there and let her purr for a while longer.
Well, those two things and my own natural laziness and finely honed sense of procrastination.
I finally rip myself from my sheets at 4:15, as if I’m made of Velcro.
I’d spent my two hour non-nap thinking.
Bouncing back and forth between personal thoughts and work.
Did I pack everything?
I should just go in, this is ridiculous…I could knock out payroll and give a few breaks before I board.
I’ll bet I never hear from The Wallpaper again.
I should start going to the gym again.
I wonder whether Linda Belcher will snoop when she’s checking in on Myrtle. Meh. Nothing crazy in my nightstand. But I do have The Silver Fox’s Pleasure Chest in my closet…I wonder what he’s got in there.
If I go to work, it’ll take away a development opportunity I assigned to one of the junior managers. It’s good I’m staying in bed.
I wonder if Jeo and I will reform our friendship. It was nice running into him the other day. He gives great hugs.
I’d really like to have sex again with The Wallpaper when we’re not half drunk.
Do I need to leave a note for Linda Belcher? Taking care of Myrtle can’t be too big a mystery…
I should wait on the gym. If running is back on the radar, I want to focus on accomplishing that and not risk reinjuring my shoulder.
Should I put a disclaimer on the Pleasure Chest saying it’s not mine. Nah…nothing bad will happen. What could possibly go wrong?
God, I hate flying.
Y’know, that type of productive mind vomit.
Once I finally start stumbling around, my procrastination kicks into high gear. I turn on my Sonos, it’s still on the station I’d created for The Wallpaper and a Rita Ora song starts playing. I’d never heard of her before the other night and really like her music.
I play laser tag with The World’s Most Dangerous Feline, re-check my bag (ok, I guess this is semi-productive), clean the toilet, shower, dress, pack my Dopp kit, feed Myrtle, change my clothes and then realize that I probably should have given myself a few extra minutes to get to the MAX stop with my suitcase.
I call an Uber. God bless my parents and their insistence on giving me some “walking around” money for my trip. The Uber is on them!
My driver is pretty chatty, his name is Van according to the Uber app – talk about name predermination, an Uber driver named Van? This guy never stood a chance. I notice that his car’s onboard system refers to him as Jay and Jay’s playlist is pretty solid. As I’m appreciating it, the display changes to the next song, Anywhere by…Rita-fucking-Ora.
So, that’s how it’s gonna be, eh?
I get to the airport and check in with minimal fuss…thank goodness there was a retiree stationed at the kiosk to help me. I really did need it this morning. Despite the way being stymied by technology usually makes me feel, I cut myself a break this morning and refuse to chide my imminent old-age.
While check-in was breezy, I soon discovered that it was looking like that would be the last non-frustrating part of my day. From here on out, it’s frenzy and frustration.
Checking my bag was an odyssey. A line that snaked through every switchback in the stanchions.
I started kinda freaking out at the fact that I hadn’t seen my counterpart or The Boss yet, we are all on the same flight and I’d gotten to the airport 15 minutes before the boss said he planned to arrive.
Maybe they were carrying on. Who knows with straight guys? Me? I had to pack a couple bottles of wine for me and my Boise counterpart to share over the coming week of meetings.
Why is this idiot kid taking so long? What’s he checking…is that a bike?
Pairing the unwieldy parcel with the most challenged check-in agent seems a little excessive.
I finally complete this level of Hell and head to our pre-security store to touch base after a tough day yesterday and make sure my early morning associate, PLoop, got her break.
I recognize The Boss’ cotton-topped head from behind and am simultaneously glad he’s made it and chafed that he got ahead of me because he didn’t have a bag to check.
He’s grabbing a bagel and as PLoop is ringing him up, she’s making small talk with me. She has an omnidirectional attention span that I usually find amusing. Not this morning, though…The Boss is antsy to get through security since our flight leaves in an hour.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
I interrupt her chatter to ask about the break, she declares she snuck a potty break and I tell her that I’ll hold the fort while she grabs a snack. I tell her to finish with The Boss, who has begun an antsy side to side dance.
You know what PLoop does?
And I find it endearing.
The Boss takes off in the vague direction of the employee line through security. Neither of us knows its precise location, since our badges allow us access to the secure parts of the airport without going through that line every time. He told me on my first day that he’d show me how the routine worked but never did, so I never have done it. On his way out, he tossed a little dagger my direction about everyone showing up today, three associates had called out the day before and it was a shit show.
But I could chuckle at his dig. Thanks to some great teamwork, I survived the day.
Sidebar: dear gawd, the woman across the aisle from me is triggering my mysophonia. She’s sniffing like Trump during a presidential debate. It started five minutes after we pushed back, went on every 30 seconds for about 15 minutes and has been repeating ever since. I think it’s a tic, there’s no thickness to it…just an incessant wet sniffle.
I take off my jacket and assume the position behind the register so PLoop can take her break. It’s about 5:40 in the morning, we should board around 6 and I still want to get my own snacks and drink for the plane after going through security. PLoop talks herself out onto her break and while responding when needed, my inner countdown clock is speeding up.
When she comes back, we exchange goodbyes – it really is nuts how much I’ve missed my team, dysfunction and all, when I’ve gone away for meetings or vacation – and head for security. It’s not quite 6, but definitely past 5:55, so I gotta take some cuts to get ahead in line. I wave my badge at the TSA agent and express my question by waggling my finger between three entry points. He directs me to the middle, cutting out all of the switchbacks and queuing me up for the scanners.
I strip off my shoes as I approach, even though I’m fifth back on line, I’m the only one preparing.
The people ahead of me all grab totes simultaneously and start piling their accessories into their tubs. Once the first guy has shoved his totes toward the rollers and made for the scanner, there’s enough room for me to grab a tote of my own.
I’m ready about the same time as the lady two up and the guy right in front of me.
The TSA guy feeding the rollers points s floral backpack my way and asks if there are any laptops or tablets in it.
“I don’t know, it’s hers”, I respond pointing to where the owner was moments ago…but she’s now suddenly in the scanner.
I give the guy a palms up gesture.
He moves on.
“Who’s kicks are these?”, he asks.
“Those would be mine”, I say.
I randomly wonder what my junk looks like on the scanner as it rotates around me, then step out when invited and await the inevitable.
Expecting a pat down, I’m given a casual borderline #metoo caress as the agent is telling me he just needs to check my backside.
This happens every time I fly – something on my back triggers a pat down, but usually I get the whole enchilada.
This time, it’s just a little stroke.
Of course, there’s nothing there. There’s so little there there, that I really think the agents are confirming the total absence of any ass on me.
Whatevs. I heard someone say recently about TSA screenings, “I never turn down foreplay” and have adopted that same attitude.
I get redressed, trying hard to keep by Dunlap covered while putting my belt back on, and head off to get my flight snacks. It’s about 6:05. The plane is boarding, but I need s Monster and something to read. Plus, the store is right by the gate.
The line is around the store.
Ugh. It’s the luggage check-in people all over again.
In an unusual twist, instead of running along the edge of the cash wrap around the Store which is how this usually goes – some brainiac had somehow convinced the line to form from the cash wrap straight back to the wall and then around the perimeter of the store, thus blocking all of the books and magazines as well as the coolers.
I wanted a book and a Monster.
I decide that instead of fighting and then joining the throng, I’d help my associate bust her line and make some other travelers happy. I go to take off my coat and start ringing.
I start ringing anyway.
Where did I leave it?
Must have been security.
No. No…that can’t be right, I’d never put my shoes on top of my jacket – germs – and my sneakers got complimented, so they weren’t covered by my jacket.
The pre-security store!
No time to go back through or have someone bring it to me, I decide as I’m ringing. I can do without, it was mid 70s in Atlanta last week.
I get my book – Ready Player One – and my Monster, pay, say goodbye to my associate and head across the concourse to the gate…where people are standing in no particular order.
“Nice line”, I say to my counterpart, because we’re talking agin now that I realized that I was responsible for my behavior, regardless of whether I think he should be fired for his. I can only hold myself accountable to maintaining my professional demeanor.
“They just started boarding”, he says as I notice an unmoving line coming from the jetway.
“This is excruciating”, I complain, “You look like shit. Are you hungover?” Professionalism can still be passive-aggressive, right?
We chat while the line goes nowhere. The gate agent makes an announcement that is unintelligible and The Boss comes over to stand by us just as Capt Can’t decides to join his boarding group in line for the plane.
I call our pre-security store and ask PLoop to get my jacket to my office for me. Luckily, there’s nothing in it I need.
At about 6:30 – our scheduled departure time – the gate agent makes another announcement about gate checking carry ons and The Boss goes to check his…his plan all along. Not paying the $25 bag fee.
We’re still on boarding group one. Capt Can’t – who is in group one – has finally been swallowed up by the jetway, so I guess that’s progress.
The Boss comes back with his carry on in tow.
His response to my raised eyebrows is, “He’s gonna make an announcement and then take it at the gate”.
The announcement comes toward the end of boarding for the enormous group one.
Almost everyone left in the holding room rushes the gate with their carry on.
Cheap ass bastards.
I’m standing there with a book in one hand and Monster in the other alone with two ladies and a (pretty cute) guy…all that’s left of groups two and three.
“Well, now I’m going to be the last one on this plane just out of principle”, I say to the straggling lot.
At 6:41, I take my seat and by 6:43 we are pushing back.
Good god, I’ve never seen a less organized boarding gate process…and I’ve flown Southwest! I’m literally thinking this during the safety talk, that has to be in person versus video because the in flight entertainment system is down.
That retiree at the check-in kiosks was the only airline associate worth a damn this morning.
No wonder the airline’s acronym is
But I’m not naming names.
The next thought I have?
That I’m gonna have to listen to Trump Sniffler for four damn hours because y’know what? There was something in my jacket I needed…my headphones!
Oh well, the way this is going my music would have somehow managed to be all Rita Oro the whole way.