Friday, June 09, 2017

Notes from my 1-Day NC Business Trip

Notes from my 1-Day NC Business Trip
Martin Bodek

As usual, I arise before dawn and have a hearty breakfast like it’s a fast day.

Abel picks me up in his Uber three minutes before my lawn sprinklers start. Nice timing.

TSA yells at people. That’s what they do. It’s part of the job description.

Now, I always say, life never happens in a straight line. You can’t just go get gas, get the gas, and come back home. Something always has to happen in between.

George Costanza was wrong. There’s no such thing as a show about nothing. Life is everything.

So, here’s what happens: I want to get through security, so I do what I’m told, and everything will be okay, right?


I thought I had this whole process down to a science, but life, John Lennon said, is what happens when you’re making other plans.

TSA loses my shoe.

That’s right, they lose my shoe. All my belongings go into the scanner nicely, then I go through unimpeded, and everything comes through the other side, except for my left shoe.

Here we go.

First thing I do is tell myself to be patient with every idiot I encounter. That’s the fastest way to get through this.

I also look at the clock. I give myself a deadline, after which, if I don’t have my shoe, I’ll just lose the right one too, buy some slippers in the terminal somewhere, and figure the rest out later. I’ve got a plane to catch.

Now I predict what’s going to happen: anyone I ask for help will pass me off to someone else.

That’s exactly what happens.

This is how it goes for me, as I approach TSA ninny #1:

Me: “Excuse me, hi, I’m sorry to trouble you, but it seems my shoe got stuck in the scanner. I’ve got everything else. Can you help me out, please?”

TSA1: “Ah can’t leave mah post! You goan make me leave mah post? I gotta stay right here! You ask that guy there!”

Me: “Excuse me, good day, I’m sorry to bother you, but it seems my shoe got stuck in the scanner. I’ve got everything else. Can you help me out, please?”

TSA2: “Nuh uh, sorry, I can’t leave. Talk to him there.”

Me: “Hello, sorry to trouble you, good morning. My stuff came through the scanner, but it seems my shoe got stuck there. Can you help me out, please?”

TSA3: “Talk to him over there, the guy checking bags.”

Me: “Good day sir, it looks like my shoe got stuck in the scanner. I have everything else with me. Can you help me out, please?”

TSA4: “Wait.”

So I wait.

And I wait.

We’re now moving in on shoe-chuck time.

And TSA4 gets my shoe, plucking and handing it to me with that metal reacher thingy.

You see what I’m saying?

Now I’m going to just go ahead to my gate, right?


Because I’m in the wrong terminal!

Now how in the world did I go and screw this up???

I didn’t. I check the four different methods of confirmations I received. Two have me in Terminal A, and two in Terminal C. To add to the fun, United has planes in both terminals.

Who designs this stuff?

I locate a shuttle that ferries travelers between terminals.

I anticipate I’ll go have to go through security again, maybe lose my other shoe this time.

I’m spared the agony.

The driver of the shuttle bus drives directly under the wing of an airplane en route to our gate. I have to imagine he did that because he’s a moron.

As I board, I hear someone behind me say, “Is there such a thing as an Unknown Crew Member?”

I look aft, and I see a porter with a “Known Crew Member” ID badge.

Ha! Good question!

I don’t even get to finish the magazine crossword puzzle when we start to land. The trip is that short. Then I think, who would I show off to anyway if I finished it?

I’m rotten egg off the plane. Non-membership has its privileges.

I’m in RDU. I love some small airports. Love them. Staff has time to deal with you if you have issues, and everybody is friendly and nice. I’m not in EWR anymore.

I get my car rental, then I realize work is 3.1 miles from the airport. I can run there in 22 minutes. Next time I Uber. Uber is the best.


Upon leaving for the day, I discover that my 3.1-mile ride results in my gas dropping significantly below the full mark. Seriously now? Someone is cheating.

En route to the car rental place, I encounter no gas stations whatsoever, so I’ll pay the $872.32 fine. Whatever.

I get patted down by security. Always a, ahem, pleasure. The dude begins the encounter by saying, “I have to pat you down.” Nice come-on line. I could have thought of something better.

Cultural faux pas: while waiting at my gate, I overhear the following: “Would passenger please report to gate C15. That’s Charlie 15.”

You do not refer to an Asian as Charlie. You dig? Do I have to do all the sensitivity work around here?

My flight is delayed. Uh oh. The flight after mine is delayed too. Uh oh uh oh. But the flight before mine is delayed too!

“Can I get on that one?”, I ask the nice lady. Yes I can! I love small airports!

As I wait five minutes instead of two hours to board my new plane, they announce that my old plane – and the one after it – are both delayed further. My new, delayed-perfectly plane that’s working out for me? I’m already on, baby. I love it when a plan comes together.

I fly, I land, I Uber, my driver passes wind audibly (not kidding), I’m home in time for dinner, and for kiddy bedtime.

Really, I just replaced my regular train commutes with a couple of planes.

All in a day’s work.


Post a Comment

<< Home