The streak is over
I am notorious for cutting it close at the airport, and it drives my dad absolutely batshit crazy. Every single time I visit my parents, we have the same conversation:
Him, while watching me either throw things frantically into a suitcase or eat a leisurely bowl of Golden Grahams in front of The View: You're going to miss your flight.
Me: Dad. Relax. It doesn't leave for like an hour and a half.
Him: It takes 20 minutes to get there. And the security lines are always long at our airport.
Me: Dad. I fly all the time. We'll be fine, I promise.
Him: I'm not kidding. Do you know what time it is? You're going to miss your flight.
Me: DAD! It's FINE. I haven't missed a flight yet, have I?
He goes and grumbles in the other room, and I finish getting ready. And then we leave for the airport, it takes me two minutes to get through security and I call him from the gate and say, "Told you!"
I will NEVER get to say that again. Yes, I am home, and yes, I am alive, but sadly--SADLY!--the streak is over. I have now officially missed a flight. But really, it was only PARTLY my fault.
This is what happened. I stopped off on the way to the airport to say goodbye to some people, and I figured since they actually LIVED there they could give me directions to the airport from their office. So one of the girls writes out these directions for me--detailed, NUMBERED directions--and I set off on my merry way.
Well. Several minutes later, I'm like, this does not, not, NOT look like the right way, so I call her and tell her where I am. "Uh-oh," she says, "I think I forgot to write down one of the turns. Let me put you on the phone with someone else." Mr. Someone Else gets on the phone. "Whoa," he says, "you are WAY out of the way. You need to come back the way you came." Did I mention that the NCAA Tournament was in town? The NCAA Tournament was in town. Which meant I got to double back through lots of traffic. Good times!
I finally get back on the road I think I'm supposed to be on, but I'm a little nervous because I don't see any airport signs. I see a guy in a church parking lot and I decide to pull off and ask him if I'm on the right track before I waste any more time. Bad move. BAD move.
Me: Hi. I'm so sorry to bother you, but can you tell me if I'm going the right way to the airport?
Him: Hi! I'm Troy! This is my wife Tracy, and these are our kids ... Tracy's pregnant with twins, due in July.
Me: That's great. Congratulations.
Him: Yeah, it's really exciting. I'm in charge of an afterschool program here at the church ... do you want to come inside and meet our pastor?
Me: I really ... that's really nice of you, but I'm kind of in a ...
Five minutes (that felt like 50) later, I finally get back on the road.
I get to the airport and I zoom, I mean ZOOM, through the rental car return. I book it into the terminal, 20 minutes before the flight is supposed to leave, and am immediately informed that I am too late to check in, but I can fly standby on a flight three hours later. Fine. Whatever. I have my laptop, I have a book, I'll survive.
I go to the gate and tell the guy I'm there, and he's like, yeah, come back in three hours. So I go off, get something to eat, make some work calls, flip through USA Today, all the while being INCREDIBLY Zen about the whole thing. It's just a few hours, I figure. It's no big deal, it's even kind of funny ... and then I go back to the gate.
Guy at the gate: So ... you know how you were here earlier?
Me: Umm ... yeah?
Guy: You actually could have gotten on the flight. They had just started boarding.
Me: Wait ... what? The flight I was scheduled on? The flight you said I MISSED?
Guy: Yeah. There was a lot going on, and I didn't realize it until after you walked away. Sorry about that. (Swishy note: There was more than one flight boarding at the same gate, which is why I didn't push the issue--I knew I was late, and I just assumed it was the other flight.)
Bye-bye, Zen outlook! WHY EVEN TELL ME THAT??? WHY? I did NOT need that little piece of info, I really didn't. But of course I was all nice to him anyway, mostly because I didn't want the only available seat on the next flight to mysteriously end up "taken." Also because I am passive-aggressive. But mostly to make sure I got on the flight.
Oh, well. It could have been worse. They could have lost my luggage. Or the plane could have crashed. Or I could have sat next to someone who farted the entire flight. So ... not so bad.