Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bad Travel Juju

I spent a week on the east coast for work. Inevitably, when I make this trek, something goes awry. It once took me 22 hours to get from Fresno, California to Washington D.C. This time, things went extremely well until the final leg of my journey. I was even awarded an exit row seat which allowed me to stretch my legs rather than contort them into fitting under the seat in front of me around my carry-on bag.

I landed in Denver, CO with 52 gates separating me from my flight home. I had less than 10 minutes to make my connection. I am a runner but running in the mile high city weighted with my carry-on bag and my laptop briefcase was anything but easy. I rounded the final curve in the terminal overjoyed to see my plane still at the gate. It hit me quite suddenly that the plane's door was closed. My flight was closed. I pleaded with the attendant at the gate to let me on the flight but there was simply nothing she could do. I felt tears escape my eyes as I saw my options dwindle.

As it turned out, my luggage made the ironic! So, I was stuck in the airport with the clothes on my back. No toothpaste, no bottle of water, not even a stick of gum. It was already after 10pm and all of the shops and services in the airport were closed. I decided to just hang out at the airport rather than sleep for a few hours in a hotel and head back.

I learned that the Denver airport is a decent place to rest you head at night. The night crew directed me to the safest place to park myself and help me and other stranded passengers locate pillows and blankets. It wasn't long before I gave up on the chairs and sacked out on the floor. It seemed like just a moment and I found myself waking up to the sound of voices. A family with two children had just woken up. I sat up and saw on a clock that is was 5am. I had made it! I looked around and saw that at some point in the evening a number of other passengers had converged on the same area. It was like a camp out!

I gathered up my gear and headed to the bathroom to "freshen up". There was no freshening up to be done. I was beyond scary looking. I looked like I had been raised by wolves in the deep forest. Bags under my eyes indicated a briefness of sleep. My skin was broken out from fatigue. My hair was limp and greasy. I longed for a shower! I longed for clean underwear!

I found a Starbucks and slurped down a Venti coffee and treated myself to a second. Before long I was on my way home to see my husband and kids after a week away. The woman in the seat next to me complained that she woke up too early and just couldn't get a grip on the day. I told her I slept at the airport. She looked at me like she was trying to think of anything that could compete with my statement. I turned my face towards the window and proceeded to sleep the entire flight home.

Once in Fresno I found a skip to my step. I went to claim my bag that had arrived the night before. I was moving quickly to avoid being seen by too many people. As I was claiming my bag I heard a familiar voice behind me. I spun around expecting to see a friend but instead saw Brooke Shields. Yes, in Fresno. I have no idea why she was visiting our small town but I was keenly aware of ragged appearance. I have to say that Brooke Shields is as beautiful in person as she is on television. And, am happy to report that the people of Fresno did not glom onto her as she made her way outside. She got a few stares but no one approached her...least of all me in my troll-like state!

So that ended my adventure in Denver and beyond. I have another trip coming up in August. My destination is Baltimore but I am fearful of where my bad travel juju will take me.

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