Our Goal: Waiting in L.A.
Here's how we got there:
May 15 - on our way, and it's raining. JFK seems just as far as Australia.
So, what's the best Aussie beer?“ I asked, grinning from ear to ear. We were waiting for Qantas boarding to open. We had arrived at JFK with time to spare, and were now schmoozing with two actual Aussie's, and we're not even in OZ yet.
Two hours before, I contemplated the trip. We had saved for years, and we were going to enjoy every moment. Things were looking very good. A bit of an overcast sky, and dribbling clouds, but spirits were high as we loaded ourselves into the limo.
We had kissed the kids good-bye. I kissed and hugged the dog. I was very worried about her. The kids would be fine, but Phoebe is very sensitive. I knew she would pout, and become morose, preferring to pine away on her own in my bedroom, sleeping on an old t-shirt. Would she survive the three weeks that I’d be away? Probably, 'yes,' but not very well.
Back to those super Aussie fellows at JFK - They were from Perth, and we had a great conversation about eating alligator, but not kangaroo. We were getting good advice from the natives. I don't think I could eat a kangaroo, but a gator, maybe.
The Qantas check-in was scheduled to open at 2:45; our flight to LA was scheduled for 3:45. "How are we going to make it?” I asked.
No worries,“ replied one of the Aussie. "They'll pull you forward.”
“Oh, my.” The lady at the Qantas counter said. “You must be new at this.”
“What?” George and I looked at each other. We were confused.
“You're supposed to be at American Airlines,” she said, shaking her head. “Just go across the street, go up the stairs and go to terminal 8.”
I turned to look at our Aussie friends, we were buddies now, and somehow they would help. The shorter of the two looked at me and nodded his head, silently mouthing the words, “You'll make it. Run!”
It was 10 minutes to three, and run we did. We ran across the street, and up the stairs, which was an elevator.
“Where's terminal 8?” I said when we reached the top.
“Where's terminal 8?” George said to the air, and this guy standing next to me said, “You have to take the shuttle to terminal 8. Here it comes now.”
I'm taking the train to get to the plane, which now takes off in less than an hour. George was becoming very pale, and as he held on, the shuttle swishing us along, he became paler.
We got off the shuttle, ran down the stairs, and across the street to terminal 8. Now what? The lady in the red jacket said we needed to check in over there. She pointed to the right. We ran in that direction. George stopped another lady in a red jacket.
“Oh dear. We need to get someone to help you,” she said as she herded us toward another women in a red jacket. I was beginning to see red everywhere, and not just red jackets. The last lady in a red jacket must certainly have been a direct descendent of Cleopatra. I mean it, Cleopatra! Her head was wrapped in black, and her skin was as smooth as glass. Her eye makeup was something reminiscent of an Egyptian statue, black lines ran above and beneath the darkest eyes.
“What time is your flight?” She asked. Her black eyes flashed when I told her.
“Follow me, quickly!”
She took off like a shot, passing the lines of people waiting to check bags. She kept looking back and waving at us, urging us on. She delivered us to another counter where she announced our dilemma to another lady. This lady wore a blue jacket; maybe we were getting somewhere.
“What time is your flight?” this new lady asked. “Oh, my.” She began typing a lot of information into her computer. “I have to find a supervisor,” she mumbled as she sprinted across the terminal floor.
We watched as she flew out of sight.
“Where'd she go?” George asked me.
“I don't know. She said something about a supervisor, and then just ran off.”
Minutes passed, as we anxiously scanned the terminal for the lady who had run to look for a supervisor. And, finally, there she was running through the crowd with two white streamers flying from her hands. It was then I realized what those white streamers were; our baggage IDs for Melbourne. She attached them to our luggage, and simply said, “Run, over there, and put your bags on that belt. Then run straight ahead to security. Tell the security agent that you are running late.”
Running again now, we round a corner, and see the lines for security, they serpentine through the terminal, no ending or beginning is discernible. I spot the security agent, and inform her we're late.
“Go directly to that man in the purple vest. Tell him you're late.”
The man in the purple vest is a jolly looking dark skinned man, with a wonderful smile. “Hi,” I said in my most cheerful voice. “We're late, and that lady out there said you could help us.”
With a glance at our boarding passes he says, “Oh, she did, did she. Well, I like you, so I will. Follow me please.”
He moved us up to the very front of the security line. There were only two people ahead of us, but the lady who was talking with the agent was being grilled. We were not certain why, but she had to go digging into her carry-on for something. Tick, Tick, Tick, we were counting seconds. At this point it was about 3:05, and we still had to go through security. Somehow, don't ask me how, we got through security, put our shoes on, and started running again. At top speed, we were weaving and ducking, reading signs, heading toward gate 39. Don't people only run through airports in the movies? This doesn't happen in real life, does it? It was indeed happening, and I was getting enough exercise to last the next month and a half. There was the gate, up ahead, and there was no line. I wondered why - 'CAUSE THEY'RE ALL ON THE PLANE ALREADY! THAT'S WHY!
We roll our carry-ons onto the plane, thanking our lucky stars. We made it. Wait! Just wait a minute. You think that's all? Now, now, let's not be silly, it's not that easy. It's never that easy. As I walked down the isle toward my seat, the flight attendant said. “You'll have to check your carry-ons. There is no more room in the over-heads. Bring them to the front,” she instructed, “someone will take them for you.”
George grabbed both and looking at me said, “I'll bring them both up. You go sit down.”
I was winded so I did as I was told. When the cart came by with the meals, and I hadn't eaten since 8:00, that morning, I was ready for anything that didn't move or was egg related (I hate eggs). Wow, food costs money, and my money is in my carry-on, which now sits in the belly of the plane. This calls for some quick action. As the steward handed me my chicken salad, I said, “See that man, two rows up, in the middle there? He has the credit card.”
So now we settled in. Somewhere over mid-America, my hunger had been satiated. My eyes were a bit weary, and bleary, as I typed, but it had to get it all down on paper (iPad). By tomorrow it would have become a blur, a moment in time that happened over a period of about an hour and a half. The great beginnings of a great vacation, and more wilder and wonderful things I was certain were in store for us.
Thanks for stopping by. I do hope you come by again!