Heh. You thought I’d forget to tell you this part, right?
Months ago, when we first started planning this trip, I had lobbied hard for Pete to get a certain direct flight from Boston to Charleston despite the fact that it cost more. My reasoning was as follows:
1. It’s a direct flight, which means the hassle factor will be minimum (HA!)
2. It flies directly into Charleston, which means that I won’t have to drive back and forth to Savannah (he usually flies Air Tran, which doesn’t come to Charleston, YET!)
3. The flight got in Monday afternoon and left Monday afternoon, which means there was no getting up early and having to rush PLUS I got a few extra hours with him.
4. Remember the no hassle part?
5. Please don’t forget the no hassle part, y’all.
6. Because of the time that it left on Monday afternoon (precisely 3:30 PM) I knew that we wouldn’t have to deal with traffic or long airport security lines. Because you know how much I hate the hassle.
Because he knows how to keep me calm and happy, he got that flight with no protest whatsoever. Picture me content and also pleased with myself for my fabulous persuasiveness and my awesome abilities at picking out the Best! Flight! Ever!
So this is us Monday morning:
Me: (in a semi awake state) g’morning sweetie. It’s about 9:45. Are you awake yet
Me: yeah, me neither
The construction site 3 blocks away: CLANG BANG CLACKITY RACKET RACKET YOU THINK I’M GOING TO LET YOU SLEEP UNTIL 10?? HAHAHAH! SUCKERS! CLANG CLANG CLANG
Me: [Buries head in pillow]
Him: [Confusedly] mmnnnngggnnnhhhh?
Me: GODDAMMIT! EVERYTHING NEEDS TO SHUT UP! GAAAAAHHH!
Him: Ok, now I’m awake.
Me: Want to go eat some biscuits?
Him: [is awake, up, dressed, and ready to go eat some damn biscuits, woman! Why are you still in bed!?] Ok! Lets go!
So we went to the amazing restaurant a few blocks down from where I live and gorged ourselves on grits and biscuits, and then we went home and took a nap because my brilliant, meticulous planning made it so that we still had HOURS before he had to be at the airport. I am so smart!
When we finally started getting motivated to actually go to the airport, it was in the 2 o’clock hour. Someone had told Pete that there was a convenience store near my museum where you can buy RC Cola in a glass bottle, and he wouldn’t let us leave until he had purchased a genuine article of the American South (though it ended up being a lie, since they, in fact, do not sell RC Cola in glass bottles). By the time we got to the store so that Pete could have his dreams shattered, and made it back to the car, it was 2:45. Now this is where a reasonable person would start thinking: “uhhhh…damn, we need to hurry!” I, however, am a totally irrational and ridiculous person who thinks, “oh heck, y’all, it only takes about 5 minutes to get to the airport from here and the it will only take a few minutes to check in and get through security, especially because of my brilliant planning. Nothing to worry about!” So instead of getting in the car and IMMEDIATELY driving AS FAST AS LEGALLY POSSIBLE (because mom: I don’t speed!), I decide we have so much time in the world that I can just swing by the waterfront on the way out so that I can try and show Pete the tall ship that lives in Charleston Harbor (which, of course, isn’t actually there).
I’m sure you can all see where this is going, but let me just revel in my idiocy for a while, ok?
So FINALLY, we start driving to the airport and it does not take 5 minutes. Honestly, what in the hell was I thinking? I’ve driven to the airport at least 9,000 times and it NEVER has taken me 5 minutes. EVER. But not to worry, dear! I know it is now 3:05 and we are just now pulling into the parking garage, but security is such a breeze and the airport is so teensy tiny that you’ll just be able to walk in the door, toss your bag in the general direction of the Delta Counter and just walk onto your plane. You’ll see. I’m so brilliant and smart. Go me!
And then I learned a very valuable lesson. Let me share it with you: YOU MUST ARRIVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. And by arrive, they mean at the ticket counter, ready to check in. They do not mean be on the interstate at least 30 minutes prior to departure. They do not mean be in the parking garage making out 30 minutes prior to departure. When they say 30 minutes prior to departure, they mean it.
So, therefore, when we finally saunter into the airport at 3:13 and Pete goes to check in, he is informed (nicely, I must add) that YOU MUST ARRIVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. And if you arrive after said time, they will give your neglected little seat away. Oh yes. Some other person will happily sit their on-time ass right in your seat and take your perfectly timed, well though out direct flight right into Boston. That person will not be you! You=SCREWED.
In my head, the logical thing to do would have been to start weeping and fall on the floor in a heap. Thank God Pete has a clearer head, because he rationally asked the Delta lady what he could do. Fortunately, there was a flight he could get to Atlanta. Unfortunately, the last flight from Atlanta to Boston was sold out. So, essentially, you’re still screwed! I frantically started throwing out other cities nearby that we could drive to: Savannah (nope) Myrtle Beach (nope) Columbia (sorry!) Charlotte (yes! But you have to be there in less than 2 hours. Do you have a solid gold rocket car?) (so, no). The Delta lady (who’s name is Sherry, and god bless her! She was being so incredibly nice and helpful, probably because she felt so sorry for Pete since he had to deal with a girl so stupid that she didn’t actually think the YOU MUST ARRIVE 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR DEPARTURE rule didn’t actually apply to her.) suggested that Pete go ahead and reserve the flight to Atlanta, and then try to find a flight that would get him from there to Boston.
Alright! Now I finally have a mission! Instead of standing there, wishing that I somehow could rectify this unbelievably stupid thing I did and stop feeling like the most incredibly worthless human being on the face of the earth, I could actually try and help! So off to the Continental counter I go!
Me: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YOU HAVE GOT TO HELP ME
Him: Ok! I can put him on a flight from Atlanta to Philly and then from Philly to Boston. But he won’t arrive in Boston until 7:55 tomorrow morning. I will also require a the payment of one kidney. The good one. Up front.
Me: Can you print that out for me?
[I run to Pete, at the United counter, who is listening to the ticket guy tell him that since he’s a teacher, he at least gets Union benefits so it will probably be hard for them to fire him. This is a bad sign. Pete is explaining to him that he’s a private school teacher, so no dice on the Union thing. I suddenly realize that not only am I responsible for him missing his flight, I will also be responsible for him being FIRED from his job. I am the worst girlfriend in the world]
Me: They can get you there tomorrow morning, but they need a kidney!
Him: Look, if I’m giving up a kidney, they better get me there tonight.
[we walk away to a corner to figure out what to do]
Pete: (in his one moment of frustration) FUCK!
But wait! I still have an idea! I tell him to call Air Tran and see if they have anything flying to Boston. I can’t call myself because, OF COURSE, I have left my phone at home. I am worthless! So he calls Air Tran and I am hopeful! Air Tran will solve all of our problems! This will be ok and work out and he won’t get fired!
Him: Sold out. All of them.
Me: [I burst into tears] Oh my God this is all my fault. You’re going to get fired because of me! And now you have seen my ineptitude in person! I’m no longer cute and planny and brilliant! I suck! I’m so sorry! Please forgive me for this!
At which point he does the best possible thing in the world: he laughs. And then he hugged me and kissed me and wiped my face off and told me that it was an honest mistake and he should have realized that we needed to get there earlier, etc. and that I can’t blame myself for this. And that he isn’t fired yet and there are still options and it isn’t going to do any good to sit here in the airport and weep. I feel 9 million times better, though I’m still worried that he’s going to be fired.
We walk back up to the Delta counter so that he can tell Sherry that he definitely wants that seat on the flight to Atlanta and then we can figure out what to do there. And LO! The heavens have opened up! Sherry has done it! While we were out talking to other airlines and while I was crying in the middle of the airport, she has discovered an alternate route! He can fly directly into LaGuardia and then take a shuttle flight into Boston! TONIGHT! And how much is it going to cost? Nothing! No charge!
Me: YOU MAGNIFICENT WOMAN! I AM GOING TO NAME MY FIRST BORN CHILD AFTER YOU!
Sherry: [is horrified]
Pete: [is equally horrified]
Me: What I meant to say is that I appreciate this very much.
So it all worked out in the end. And my heart started beating again. And we even had time to go to the airport bar and have some gin. And Pete got into Boston safe and sound and in an reasonably timely manner. And he made it will all of his organs in tact.
And I will forever be grateful to a woman named Sherry Nickel. Sherry Nickel, I hope that one day you Google your name and you find this entry. I hope you Google “Sherry Nickel is an amazing, fabulous, glamorous woman” and it leads you to this entry. You ARE amazing and fabulous and glamorous, and I feel quite certain that you prevented 5 or 6 years being shaved off of my life. Thank you thank you thank you. I may be a little bit in love with you.