Airports stress me out. The process of getting from the front door to your gate is a stressful ordeal. Waiting in line to check in (and pay for luggage that really should already be included in the cost of a ticket. Eyeroll). TSA people having a cow because somebody accidentally left a half-full bottle of water in their bag at security. People who STILL don't seem to know that you can't wear shoes through security. And the ever-present chance you may be chosen for a special pat-down in a separate room because you look suspicious (or forgot to take the gum wrapper out of your pocket before you went through the x-ray machine).
Imagine going through all that only to miss your flight.
That was me a couple of weeks ago. Missed my flight. For work, no less. I've been on 700work trips before with maybe one or two close calls - but I've never flat out MISSED A FLIGHT.
Not to mention, I'm still new-ish at my job, and this was the first trip I was assigned.
And I missed it.
The emotional roller coaster was so real. Let me walk you through the seven stages:
I had no idea what was to come, so I sat in the back of my Uber chillin/scrolling through Instagram/thinking about what I would eat for breakfast when I got to the airport.
Fifteen minutes into the drive, my driver checked his Google Maps and said,
"What time is your flight?"
"Uh oh. This says it's going to take over an hour to get to the airport."
"Really? My app says it will be about 35 more minutes. That's weird."
I chose to flat out ignore this warning. If I had to choose between what his app said and what mine said, I went with mine. *shrugs*
Until... I saw it. A sea of brake lights. Gridlock. There it was. Just mocking me and my app (THANKS, iPHONE 5).
Part of me was still in denial, though. I thought there was a chance we could make it if everybody would just hurry up and/or move. Which led to the next phase.
3. Panic/Misdirected Anger
YOUR JOKE'S NOT FUNNY RIGHT NOW, MR. UBER DRIVER. CUT THE SMALL TALK. I'M GONNA BE LATE! CAN'T YOU GO ANY FASTER? DON'T YOU KNOW ANY SHORTCUTS? THAT GUY IS TRYING TO CUT US OFF - STOP HIM. WHY IS O'HARE SO FAR? ANOTHER LANE IS MERGING?! WHY DON'T WE HAVE MORE LANES ON THIS STUPID EXPRESSWAY? WHO DECIDED THIS WAS ENOUGH? CHICAGO URBAN PLANNING IS THE WORST. MORE CONSTRUCTION, OMG. CAN'T YOU GO ANY FASTER?
Finally I get to the airport.
OMG, THIS LINE. OMG KID, WALK FASTER. OMG TSA AGENT, CHECK THE IDs FASTER. OMG LADY, PULL OUT YOUR LAPTOP FASTER. OMG TSA AGENT, CHECK THE X-RAYS FASTER. OMG DUDE, PUT ON YOUR SHOES FASTER.
Now that I've made it to the other side, I feel some semblance of hope.
4. Hope / Prayer / Athleticism
At this point, I had about 20 minutes until departure and I thought to myself "I can do this... please, Jesus?" Then I took off running through the airport with my backpack flailing every which-a-way, doing spin-moves on slow-moving people in my way leaping small obstacles in a single bound.
I get to the gate with my heart-pounding through my chest and gasping for my air (I really thought I was in better shape than this). The good news: I see my plane is still on the ground. YES! Then the agent bursts my bubble: Boarding is closed and they can't let me on (but they were looking for me, tho).
Thanks for nothing.
6. Self-Pity / Dramatics
I tried to give the agent dude my sob story. "You don't understand. I have to get on that plane," I said. I even tried to look all doe-eyed, pitiful and hopeless, but I don't know if that tactic works for black girls.
So, I went to customer service to try and change my ticket. The thing is, I wasn't going to, say, NY or LA where there's a flight an hour. I was going to a less-traveled city. There were only three flights going out and the remaining ones would have gotten me there way too late.
Then I learned there was a flight going to another nearby city that would have gotten me there a little late, but still within enough time. I raced to get on that flight too - and, once again, just missed it.
All hope lost.
I plopped down nearly in tears like "WHAT IS I'M GON' DO?"
Soon thereafter I got over myself and got busy. I had to make a bunch of phone calls, work out some logistics and call in a couple of favors. I set up shop in the airport and stayed there for five hours working to make sure things went smoothly and, fortunately, they did.
And, even more fortunately, I have a very understanding manager and client and I'm happy to report I am still employed. PRAISE JESUS.
Long story short, we really need more lanes on the Kennedy Expressway. #FixItJesus