Oh the joys of traveling.
And by traveling I mean any mode of ground transportation.
Like driving the open road. Taking a train and enjoying the scenery. Or busing across country forming bonds with strangers and singing show tunes to pass the time.
In no way would I put "joy" in the same sentence with "flying."
Especially not now, as I recover from my trip back home from Washington.
Yes, I did make it home.
Yes, I do still have all of the same (plus some) affects I took with me.
But boy did I have some time of it.
My journey began Sunday night as I made my way through Seattle's airport. Have you ever attempted this maze? First you have to find the security checkpoint, not easy at 10pm when half of everything is shut down and you wonder if they really would make you walk all the way down the the end of the airport.
Then, if like me you leave from gate "N" as in Nowhere Near Here, you have to walk down a series of halls, down several flights of stairs and take a train halfway across the tarmac.
Then, if like me, when you leave your wallet at the security checkpoint and are paged over the loudspeaker you have to walk all the way back to the beginning and start again.
This is why you give yourself plenty of time.
Unless you know your head is screwed on straight.
My flight left at 11:30pm. Also known as two hours past my bedtime. I hadn't slept since the night before, and even then it wasn't a sound sleep, so I expected to nod off for at least part of the four hour flight to Washington-Dulles Airport.
Silly dreamer. Of course I didn't sleep. How could I when every bump and wiggle had me convinced the plane was going to break apart in mid air?
No problem, I thought as I landed at 7am, I'll be home by 9:30 and I can sleep then. In my own bed. Snuggled with Oliver-dog.
That was all dependent on whether or not there would be a plane to take me home.
Which there wasn't.
I waited at my gate, read my book, and glanced occasionally at the time. By the time we were supposed to depart I noticed we still weren't even on the plane. The lady at the desk told me we were waiting for a plane in Newark.
I assumed we were waiting on the plane to land.
We wouldn't find out until, oh, five hours later the darn thing wasn't even scheduled to leave.
By about 10:30am people started to get a little antsy. A few guys hung out at the counter for answers. Nice lady was replaced by mean shorty guy.
"We have no idea when the plane will be here."
"You know, we have people waiting here since FRIDAY."
(louder grumblings, you might call it shouting)
"You will be most likely waiting here all day."
(pitch forks out, torches lit)
"Talk to the hand."
Yes, this little guy actually told one angry customer to "talk to the hand." And when angry man's phone started to ring, short man told him to answer the call and leave him alone.
At this point I called Corey and cried. I did not want to be stuck in an airport. I wanted to go home, take a shower, and nap the day away. The worst of it was these airport people couldn't even give us a rough estimate of when we could expect a plane.
Three hours? Five hours? Twenty-four hours??
"We really have no idea."
Fine. More crying in the bathroom.
But first a potty break.
And of course I find the super sensitive automatic toilet.
(spoiler alert: i talk about bathroom stuff here, just so you know)
I place the seat cover on the seat and sit. I reach over to grab my phone from my purse and...
Place second seat cover on the seat and...
Not funny, toilet.
Place third seat cover on....
Waterworks. "I just wanna sit down and peeeeee....and I wanna go hooooome."
Place fourth seat cover on the se....
Oh. Em. Gee. This cannot be happening. What do I do? Pee in the sink?
Place fifth seat cover on my butt and sit down.
And I pee.
Then I stand up.
I wave my hand in front of the sensor.
I act like I'm putting a seat cover on.
I Push. The. Button.
By this time I'm hungry. I know, great transition. But that's what happened.
So I ate. I watched other travelers walk down to their gates where they most likely got on planes and flew away.
They didn't know how lucky they were...sigh.
I talked to my parents who were worried about me. Rightly so, I was definitely losing my marbles.
And I considered my options: 1) I could stay at the airport until my plane came, possibly all day and night; 2) I could go to a hotel, sleep, and take the earliest flight out on Tuesday; 3) fly to LaGuardia and then to Albany, and pray my luggage follows.
Fortunately, we were notified at 1:30pm that the plane we were waiting for in Newark had left.
People four gates over must have wondered what all the commotion over at A5 was for.
We were happy. And within two hours we were in the air.
Not long after that I was sitting in Corey's car heading home, where I'm pretty sure he talked to me. By then I'd gone 30 hours without sleep and my mental capacity was limited to functional systems. You know, like breathing, and keeping my heart beating, and not drooling all over myself.
We got home, I took a shower, ate some deviled eggs and tater tots, and went to bed. It was the best 11 hours of sleep I've ever had, and by 7am I was fully recovered.
Mentally, however, I have resolved to never, ever fly again.
Until my next vacation.