Because I spent most of my young life traveling, going from place to place has always been an adventure. Hubby, who is a neophyte traveller, gets too stressed with flying. He will only do direct flights, no changing planes for him, whatever the cost. Being the consummate cheapskate, my preference is for the least expensive flight no matter how long or how many flights it takes. I do not mind waiting around airports as I have my trusty IPad with tons of games and social apps. That is, until this most recent trip...
Visiting with my first-born son, Francis, in California is always a treat. He has two children with whom I like to forge a grandmotherly relationship despite the three-thousand-mile distance. Such was my adventure this past week. Always on the look-out for bargains, it was less expensive to fly out of Boston rather than Warwick, (or “Providence,” our airport’s misnomer.). I convinced myself and Hubby that taking the bus to Logan Airport was no big deal, and, normally it wouldn’t be. However, last Wednesday was very warm, the bus was very full, and the air conditioning was minimal. A grandmother and her two grandchildren sat behind me and she could be heard wearily telling them to stop this and stop that. While I normally would have passed the time playing games on my phone, on this particular trip my eyes started to sweat and by the time we got to Logan I was carsick. I had to sit outside the airport on a bench before any semblance of normalcy returned.
Once inside, going through the security check line was especially interesting. In dressing for the occasion, I wore a cute, blue flowered pull-over with sequins outlining the flowers. DUH! I had not realized that the sequins would trick the X-ray machine into thinking I was wearing a bomb. After going through the machine, several TSA agents came running over to me and asked my “permission” to pat down the area with the offending decoration. I had been treated to such pat downs before, but none quite so extensive. The woman grabbed the front of my shirt and firmly felt in and around my breasts. Shocked, I was speechless. Then she roughly let go without so much as howdy-do. Shaken, I retrieved my shoes and my belongings from the conveyer belt and shakily made my way over to the bench to put my shoes on. I would be sure to throw that shirt away as soon as I got home.
The plane was thinner than most, with two seats, the aisle, and then two more seats. It seemed to be as long as a regular airplane, making it long and skinny. It was only going from Boston to New York, so I assumed it was a commuter plane for a lot of people.
Arriving at LaGuardia was a culture shock. Not to be prejudiced, but the airport was full to overflowing with people of all sorts, and it had almost a smoggy atmosphere. While I had not worn a Covid mask originally, I immediately put one on. Walking to the gate was an experience, with people bumping and shoving along the way. There were no seats available anywhere, and I resorted to plopping down on the floor for the wait for the plane to San Francisco to take off. The two hours were interminable, and relief washed over me when we finally boarded.
Once on the plane, the doors were shut with a clunk and the flight attendants rehearsed how we could use our seat cushions as flotation devices, and then we sat, and sat, and sat. Reportedly, the pilots were just waiting for some “paperwork,” which turned out to be waiting for a replacement pilot for almost two hours. THEN the plane had to be refueled because it has used up so much just sitting there idling. THEN it had to get in line behind SIXTEEN other planes to await its turn to take off. The six-hour flight was excruciating, the air circulation was poor and the gentleman sitting squished in the seat next to me had obviously forgotten to wear his deodorant and the stench permeated my air space, refreshing my carsick feeling. The only advantage was that for the nine hours I was stuck on the plane, I had my choice of viewing pleasures, and chose to watch the entire eleventh season of The Walking Dead. Somehow their encounters with zombies seemed to mirror my own situation. A plane that was supposed to arrive in California at 9:30 pm did not arrive until 12:30 am.
Hurrying from the terminal to get to the car rental facility, I tripped getting onto the shuttle bus, falling on my arms and stubbing my toes. Embarrassed, I quickly got up and hoped no one saw me, but I wasn’t so lucky. The bus driver had observed the incident and insisted on holding everyone up until a supervisor could come and check out my “injuries.” This, in turn, resulted in us getting to the rental car facility AFTER the 1:00 am closing time. As someone who never likes to cause a problem, this whole incident was traumatizing, and I had to fight back tears. On this day, I was not afraid to admit that Hubby was right. Quick, direct flights, no matter the cost, would be my itinerary in the future.
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