I am a very punctual person.
I HATE being late for things. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that at least once before. (Yes, there was this – among others, probably.) In my mind, being “on time” means being about 10-15 minutes early. Anything less than that and I feel like I’m running late.
I get super frustrated when I make myself late with poor timing or a bad hair day or puppies who won’t listen to me when I need them to just PEE AND COME BACK INSIDE. But when the lateness is out of my control? Then I go a little crazy.
I feel like every time I’m at an airport, it turns into some weirdo experience. There was the time I almost missed a flight because my fire alarm was possessed. And of course, let’s not forget when I got proposed to. That was exciting and scary.
Heck, I could probably write a blog based solely on my airport experiences!
SIDENOTE: Once, I saw Gerard Butler at Heathrow. I can’t stretch that into a post on its own, so there you go. He was wearing a purple zip-up hoodie and he looked fantastic. I did not talk to him, because he was obviously trying to blend in. Okay, done.
Here’s a story that combines airports and lateness. It’s great. And by great I mean it was a horrorshow 30+ hours, but I can laugh at it now.
So back in 2006, I went to the UK and Ireland on my own (I got proposed to on my way there! I’m making connections for you!). I was 19 at the time and tried to do things as cheaply as possible. That meant that my return flight was a bit…leggy. I had to fly from Dublin to London, London to Seattle, and then from Seattle to Edmonton, my final destination.
Dublin to London was fine, aside from the fact that the dude sitting next to me on the plane would NOT stop hitting on me. I put my headphones on; he continued hitting on me. I opened up Trainspotting and held the book in front of my face; he continued hitting on me. It was exhausting and awful, and thankfully it happened on one of my shorter flights.
My London layover was uneventful. At this point, Heathrow feels like a second home. I spent so much time in Heathrow between 2006 and 2010, it’s not even funny. I’m sure what I did was sit in one of the giant waiting areas and eat a “Bugsy” sandwich from Boots. Yum.
But then I boarded my flight from London to Seattle. After about 25 minutes of waiting to take off, I was getting hot and starting to feel claustrophobic. After another 25 minutes, I was just mad. What the hell was going on? Finally, after waiting almost TWO HOURS to take off, we all learned that we had been waiting for a tardy flight attendant.
All right, I’m gonna let that one go, because otherwise I’ll get all irate again and it’s been like, seven years, so I should calm the fuck down about it.
I don’t even need to tell you that we were late getting to Seattle. I was like, wired the entire flight thinking about it. Because here’s the thing: yes, I could miss my final flight and just catch another the next morning or something, but when you’ve already been travelling for 25+ hours, you just want to GET HOME. No more layovers. No more planes. Just home. Bed. That’s all that will satisfy.
As soon as we landed in Seattle, I ran off the plane to find the baggage claim area. I forgot to mention that for some stupid reason, I had to get my bags and re-check them. Oh yeah, it had something to do with customs. Fucking customs.
I waited. And waited. And waited. Every other person on the flight had picked up their bags and mine still hadn’t shown up. I called my mom and scream-cried/ranted at her about how this was the worst day ever and I hated whoever and I might miss my flight or whatever and OH MY GOD I’M SO FUCKING TIRED WHAT A FUCKING JOKE.
Then my bags appeared. A couple of officers had heard me freaking out and asked me what was wrong. I explained the my flight was taking off in like, oh, 10 MINUTES NO BIG DEAL and they personally rushed me through customs and security. But they still made me take off my shoes, which were Converse rip-offs with a ton of laces that I was not about to re-tie when I had a flight to catch,
So I grabbed my carry-ons, threw my shoes under my arm, and RAN LIKE THE FUCKING WIND.
Guys, I know that I’m a super active girl now. I work out and shit. I even run sometimes. (Okay, like once and then this happened, but whatever.) But back in 2006, you could frequently find me bitching about fitness and making jokes about how running was stupid and the only reason I would ever run would be if I were being chased by a murderer.
I was not a runner.
But I ran.
The Seattle airport has a subway in it. Like, built into it. To travel between terminals.
So I got on that and went the wrong direction. Naturally.
Let’s take a minute to imagine it. There I am, standing on the Seattle Airport subway. I’m totally dishevelled and sweaty. I’m holding way too many carry-on bags. My shoes are under my arm. I’m panting. I feel gross from being on planes for too long and let’s face it, I probably smell a little.
I scan the subway map, trying to make sense of it through my blurred I’ve-been-awake-for-over-a-day vision. I realize what’s happened. I shout, “OH SHIT!” Everyone stares. It’s a tough crowd at almost 11pm. The subway stops and I stumble out in my sock feet, trying to find my way to the subway going the other direction.
Somebody somewhere remembers me from that day. They’ve told stories about me. I’m sure of it.
At this point, I have like, five minutes to catch my flight. I get on the subway going to the right terminal, and I continue to run my ass off. I felt like I was in a movie. I’d dash down a long corridor, slide myself into a full stop, read the signs in front of me, and then take off running down the next corridor.
I have to admit, I actually sort of felt like a superhero, even though I was obviously a hot mess.
Finally, I was nearing my gate. I ran past one confused face after another, reading the gate numbers out loud. Maybe I could make it. I could get home. I could just BE DONE WITH THIS TRIP.
There! To the right! My gate! My gate!
I arrived at my gate to see the following announcement blinking on the departure screen:
“Seattle to Edmonton: DELAYED to 1am.”
That whole time. That whole ordeal. And I had TWO EXTRA HOURS.
I’d love to tell you that I dropped to my knees dramatically, throwing my arms into the air and screaming, “WHHHYYYYYY?!” to absolutely nobody (and at the same time, everybody).
In reality, I whispered something like, “1amtwohourstheflight…delayed…twohoursohmygodfuckingareyoufuckingkiddingmefuckshitfuckingshitballsohmygod” to myself, took a few deep breaths, and decided to go to the bathroom to wash my sweaty face. After all, I had two hours to kill and everything at the airport was now closed, being that it was past 11pm.
Funny story: when I got home, I still took the time to shower before going to bed.
Funnier story: after sleeping for approximately four hours, I got up and went to work. The theatre I worked at was smack dab in the middle of an insanely busy 10-day festival and I was running the box office.
For the record, the only thing I remember about that entire festival is going to work on that first day wearing a Guinness zip-up hoodie and my friend Gina saying, “Cute! I want that sweater!”
Lesson learned: Always books flights with ample layover time. But not so much that you need to like, camp out or anything.