It could have been the flight from hellllllll…..

24 04 2009

Ok – I got to the airport early because I really got what I needed to have done, done early. Since I was parking at the US Airport Parking on Tower Road, it didn’t really matter what time I parked the car as I’ll be charged for the extra day anyway. I just wanted to dump my luggage and get in to some projects … and what better place to do it than the airport with “free” wireless etc?

Um …. I learned something last time I flew through LAX but forgot it quite obviously. You can’t check bags more than 4 hours before your flight on Southwest. BUGGAR!!! However, unlike LAX (which one would think should be catering to the Beautiful People on both sides of the TSA lines), DIA has fairly comfortable places to sit for the 1.5 hours I had to wait until I could check the bags. I was able to log on the Internet and double check a few business things that I’m trying to get done on this trip … and eat something completely gak worthy … I won’t lie – I was actually afraid of my new crowns pulling out on the “food”.

Ok – so I got back in the Southwest check in line … which was insane … HOWEVER … a bunch of us with boarding passes were syphoned off to do the curbside check in. Rock on. I’d not done that in forever, but I figured the only person I know to have lost baggage over the past couple of years only flies first class … what could I lose. I did find it interesting that the guy didn’t look at ID or anything like that … I don’t know if that’s normal, but one less thing for me.

I spent 4 hours … yes 4 hours… on the far side of the TSA check-in. The lines were really long and I was surprised at the surliness of some of the passengers. I usually fly early morning on Friday, but this was kind of sad. I breezed through on the Clear lane. Dedicated x-ray machine and the rest. A couple of pissy people found me an hour later and spoke in an accusatory tone: “You looked like you were actually having fun in that mess. What makes you so special you can go around everyone?” I wanted to say “Um … I’m not a complete self-centered arse like you …” but I smiled and said that I had that Clear Card which has gotten me through Orlando, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose … actually everywhere BUT LAX … faster.

I wrote with a friend a bit, did some work, started thinking on a lot of things I need to get done in SF over the next couple of days, made an appointment with a mentor … and felt my back really go in to pain. I have to get back on track with the chiropractor … I already knew that, but this got me thinking.

I was a “B” for Southwest. If you fly on that airlines it means that I didn’t get my boarding pass 24 hours exactly from the flight.  I wasn’t worried about it. I only had my computer bag. Flying solo usually affords me the opportunity to get the aisle seat or a window if I need to put my head against the wall to sleep. If I know I *need* that, I make sure I’m a low A number. At least I wasn’t in the C’s because it was a full flight.

I was talking with a really fascinating gal as we got on the plane, and I wouldn’t have minded getting her e-mail, but I fully believe that people float in and out at the right time. I was able to plop myself in the first aisle seat – row 5 – with a couple maybe in their 50’s. The man was asleep and the woman had headphones on listening to a book-on-cd. I was hoping to teach myself Power Point on the flight out, but I was tired. Instead, I pulled out my notebook and book I’m working out of right now and settled in to reading and note-taking.

Then it happened.

The guy next to me started snoring. Not those rhythmic annoying-but-they-can-be-ignored snores but snorting, liquid, haphazard ones which would be a complete deal breaker if I was dating the guy. OH MY GOD! We hadn’t even taken off yet and they were saying the  flight was completely full.

“Ok, God,” I thought, “just what the Hell did I do wrong???” Or … I also thought … what was the “lesson” to be learned here. I had never looked forward to that ear plugging motorized drone of flying as much as I did with this guy. It barely masked it when the guy diagonal and behind me started in chorus with him. The gal across the aisle and in front of him were killed with this! For some reason, he didn’t bug me at all as much.

The girlfriend of my snoring guy, it turned out, had earplugs UNDER her headphones. Ooofah! She told me later that there are reasons in her house that he sleeps in a different room when he spends nights over! I laughed.

UNLIKE the guy on the aisle, when my snoring guy woke up he was a stitch! That fast talking Boston patter that he was amazed that I could keep up with. His girlfriend loved that I was willing to “help” with him … as she was as laid back as he was hyperactive! He heard the guy snoring … and then as his partner tried to deal with the situation how rude he was, My Snoring Guy said “Oh God. I know I’m bad, but I’m not that bad …. am I?” I laughed and said “Um … close, but you’re a kick and a half so that makes up for it!”

The first part of their flight, coming in to Denver, had been a nightmare and I fully understood. Here’s a guy who needs to move around on a one stop flight where he couldn’t get out and walk around for an hour or so. I completely understood. I said that when I was flying through Salt Lake City last month that I questioned why I was laying over for so long, but the walk about was worth it!

We got off the plane, said our good-byes and that was that, right. I still know SFO pretty well so I got down to the baggage claim before my bags did. I use pretty distinctive luggage and I needed to catch the Marin Airporter to get to Mill Valley where Dad was picking me up. I saw My Snoring Man flipping over the remnant of the bags when I was leaving … it appears their luggage might not have made it. I saw his girlfriend as I was leaving and she said that it was just amazing. I did find out then that they both had been married before and worked together … both had adult children and that they weren’t sure if after 5 years they wanted to take the plunge … she likes being able to find her peace in her house and he can be chaotic in his.

I smiled and realized the couple of lessons there. I wished her luck and said “I’m seeing a shopping trip to Union Square in your very near future – but Stonestown is good too.” She laughed.

I caught the Airporter – a bus system – and was plopped behind a really snotty woman who kept staring backward and the kids who were jabbering excitedly in French and me as I was making my phone calls and trying to coordinate with my Dad. I drove past my Alma Mater San Francisco State University … through the park … across the Golden Gate Bridge – watching the evening sun glisten at the edge of the world  … I love my home state and home city … I’ll probably be forever stuck between Colorado and California … at least they start with a C!




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