Thursday, July 15, 2010

Must. Remain. Calm.

AM: 58 mins. (8 miles)
15 mins. core
PM: A little piece of hell

To start our respective days o'travel off right, John and I met at Boyce to run a few easy miles on soft surfaces. He's headed to the beach with his parents and I'm off to Cali, and both of us know we'll be running on pavement quite a bit in the coming days. Though driving to McAlpine isn't as convenient as hopping on the bike path from my front door, sometimes it's worth the effort.

The afternoon of travel started off auspiciously enough. Denise came through huge time with a ride to the airport, which meant I was there with plenty of time to check in, go through security, make my requisite trip to Jamba Juice and get to the gate before my 5:27 flight...or so I thought. As soon as I stepped through the sliding glass doors into the lobby of Charlotte-Douglas, I knew things would not go as planned. What greeted my disbelieving eyes was a veritable sea of people, stretched from one side of the airport to the other in a series of lines that snaked around each other like a slow-motion Pac Man game. After checking my bag I had no choice but to queue up with the masses and hope that I would somehow be able to make it to my gate in time. Jamba Juice was out the window. I had 52 minutes.

Those 52 minutes came and went as I inched forward a few steps at at time, commiserating with a few of my fellow travelers about the sorry state of affairs. Apparently one of the security checkpoint gates was closed for remodeling, but I had no idea that a seemingly small inconvenience would wreak such havoc. At one point I witnessed two grown businessmen almost come to blows because one of them tried to cut the line; the worst part is, at that point I would've welcomed the fistfight simply for the entertainment value. Instead, I made it through security at 5:50--a full 80 minutes after I'd entered the line--and took off on a mad dash through the terminal in hopes that somehow my plane was still on the ground. It wasn't. Instead I was greeted by a surprisingly helpful United gate agent who insisted that he would try to reschedule me "on any flight, on any seat, on any airline" that would get me to my destination. He did not disappoint, promptly scheduling me on a US Airways flight--direct!--that would leave in 30 minutes. I was ecstatic at the prospect of flying direct, and even more ecstatic about the opportunity to get Jamba Juice before my flight. Things were looking up.

That is, until I reached my new gate and approached the gate agent for my seat assignment. "Sorry, honey," she said in a tone that didn't convey much regret, "but this flight is oversold. I have no idea why he sent you over here." Must. Remain. Calm. "Do you want to sit tight for a few minutes and see if you can go standby?" At that point I didn't see much alternative, particularly since the next flight out wasn't until the following morning, so I stood there in a state of sullen, silent discontent while my Chunky Strawberry Topper slowly melted. I was so close, yet so far away. At that point I wasn't even ashamed to wish the same fate that had befallen me in the security line on someone from this flight in hopes that I'd be able to snag a seat. Miraculously, that's exactly what happened, and before I knew it I was reclining comfortably in an exit row with six feet of legroom and only one seat neighbor. Things were...looking up? I was hesitant to relax but after a few minutes knew that all was, indeed, right with the world. I managed to finish my book on the flight and we arrived 45 minutes early--a full 4 hours earlier than I would have if I'd caught my original flight. Who would've imagined that missing my flight would've resulted in this best case scenario? And now, friends, my vacation can officially begin.