Monday, October 23, 2006

The thing about airports

Well, there are many things about airports, really. For some reason, even though every square inch of every surface is plastered with one sign or another, I never seem to know where I am going, where I should be going, or where I want to be. I am sure the pure panic on my face as I search for baggage claim is quite amusing to other travelers. And I am sure they assume that I am new to flying. Ha ha. I am NOT new to flying. I am just perpetually lost, even when I am on the right track, that's all. I want CONSTANT confirmation that I am going the right way. Is that too much to ask? And can I just say out loud that those "universal" symbols they use that are supposed to convey a simple message in any language ARE NOT WORKING. None of us can figure out those symbols, no matter what country we are from. That odd sausage looking thing with stripes is NOT a suitcase, I don't care what anybody says. But I was in the nice terminal this morning. I am familiar with this terminal. Enough to know to hit McDonald's on the left before going back and heading the other way to my gate. Which was at the END of the concourse. There is some sort of cosmic law that dictates my gate, my door, my room, will always be at the very end. The distance I have to walk usually increases based on the amount I have to carry, whether or not my feet are working or I am dragging a leg that day, or how much time I have to get from HERE to THERE. If I have a connecting flight I can pretty much guarantee that I will arrive at the one end of the concourse and be departing from the other, that I will have a broken wheel on my briefcase and a heavy coat, my left leg will be dragging and I will have foot-drop on the right, and about two minutes before my connecting flight leaves. I hear people complain about the wait at baggage claim, but fortunately I have no idea what they are talking about. By the time I get my butt there (you know, from the very last gate and stopping every few seconds to ask and make sure I am going the right way to luggage claim, and state very loudly that pictures of sausages are no help at all), my luggage has gone around enough times to be dizzy. Today I had more than enough time before boarding (I always do) to visit the washroom after eating the breakfast I dragged from one end of the terminal to the other. *Before going further, I want to make a note to write the head of McDonalds and complain about their bags. By the time I got to my gate, the steam from my food (which had been tepid at best when I got it) had disintegrated the bag right through. It was in shreds. It is not fun to try and catch falling hashbrowns while balancing purse and briefcase handle on a moving walkway*. I thought to myself, I LOVE airport bathrooms. There is enough room for me and my luggage. They have this fold down thingy to put your stuff on so you don't have to balance it while trying to potty, and a hook on the door (a door that goes almost to the ceiling so you don't have to worry about somebody snatching your purse over the top). I am usually one of the first visitors of the day so they are always clean, have a full supply of paper, and who doesn't like a nice fresh disposable toilet seat cover. That was before I realized that my coffee was too light to hold down the spring-loaded fold down thing by itself until I could hook my purse handles around the end. Basically, I catapulted my coffee. Now that I have had time to reflect (and my shirt has dried - I had to rinse out the coffee), I realize that it was probably a good thing. Having to bring my coffee into the bathroom was traumatic enough. I wasn't really convinced that closing the cover and putting a napkin over the top was actually keeping it from being contaminated by bathroom cooties. Not to mention overspray from the toilet flush. So it was probably for the better that it was catapulted. Except I spent the rest of the morning with a wet shirt, and no screaming college boys to show for it. As for the flight itself? I have no idea. I was asleep before we even took off. I didn't even get to watch the safety demonstration - I am going to lose sleep over that one for sure. I am convinced I am the only person that ever even pays attention, but that is neither here nor there. My eyes fluttered open as we were pulling into the gate. We had to wait for the getway, so my seatmate and I chatted for a bit. He was a chatty one. Once he saw I was awake, he packed an entire flights worth of conversation in the few minutes we were trapped on the plane waiting for them to open the door. "Wow, you were really out!". I verified that I was not snoring or drooling first before explaining that my week-end was spent camping with a troupe of little girls. Very little sleep, a LOT of activity, and more fresh air than I ever want at one time again. Last night I didn't sleep well because I was worried I forgot something and was leaving early in the morning. Why is it, the earlier I have to get up the less sleep I get? It's like I am so afraid to sleep in that I toss and turn. The Brownie camping was a blast. The kids had fun, it was hard work but I did have a good time. The cabins we all slept in were unheated, no electricity, and we were only indoors to sleep (and it rained and was cold), but it was still fun. I got such a kick out of how the girls took to washing their own dishes and preparing their own food, doing activities, making up their own beds. We only lost two to homesickness, had one wet their bed waiting for somebody else to get ready and go to the bathrooms with her (the buddy system has it's drawbacks sometimes), and one threw up banana boats all over her cabin steps. Banana boats are kind of like a s'more packed into a banana peel. Like a melty banana split without the ice cream. Sweet, gooey, sweet, and did I say sweet? Pack a little girl full of melted chocolate and marshmallow when she is already up past her bedtime and you are just asking for trouble. But I have to say, having only three girls not finish the weekend (somebody loaned a spare sleeping bag to the girl with the wet one) was pretty darn good. DD was stoked, she had such a good time. But then she returned home to bad news. Princess the potato bug did not make the week-end. It seems daddy forgot he was on bug duty and forgot to mist her towel and put new food down. He told her "We don't know how long potato bugs live for honey, it was just her time" but then let slip that he didn't even notice she had died until a few minutes before we came home. "Weren't you watching over her?????" DD wailed. She asked him specifically to do that right before we left. She showed him how to mist the paper towel, and rest the carrots on their sides so Princess could climb up and eat them. But then he forgot. And when she cried her heart out and sobbed like she was going to die, I slowly backed out of the room and let HIM deal with it. Sometimes when you spend so much time thinking only about your own needs, you forget the needs of others. And if I always clean up the mess for him, there is no reason for him to learn how to do it himself. He could have remembered. He could have gone out and found a replacement and said nothing before we got home. He could have said something other than "Here, your bug died" as he thrust the container at her. Hard lessons for us all. And I miss the stupid little bug too.

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