life stories

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Time Travel

Travel goal: get from Anchorage, AK to Albany, NY

My in-laws kindly took care of my plane ticket using their frequent flyer miles. But the short notice made for using three different airlines. What were the chances of everything going smoothly?

Anchorage to Seattle on Continental: The plane was late arriving in Anchorage. Then a man who got off the plane collapsed right there at the gate. He hit his head but quickly came to. He got up again and collapse again. It took at lease 30 minutes for the EMT’s to get there. Did they have to go through security?

Getting on the plane: People didn’t seem to have ever flown before and wouldn’t move out of the aisle. Then I discovered my seat was next to the loud drunken woman. She did settle down.

There was a member of Hell’s Angels on the flight. He sat in first class.

The flight attendant announced repeatedly that our flight time from Anchorage to Seattle would be 2 hours and 30 minutes. I laughed out loud.

We arrived in Seattle without incident and the gate agent didn’t know where my next flight, on Alaska Airlines would depart from. And did the boards have all the flights? No. Just the ones in that terminal. Luckily I had a little bit of time to wander around lost.

Flight to Minneapolis on Alaska: was calm and the crew was more polished than the average Alaska Airlines crew. I wasn’t terribly comfortable in a window seat next to two young woman in one of the armed services. They appeared to be 16 years old. They giggled. I wanted to ask why they joined the service. The landing in Minneapolis was the smoothest I’ve experienced in a long while.

In Minneapolis I prepared to dash across the airport in order to catch my next flight – on Northwest. It took a good 5 minutes to even find a board. But I found one and made my way to gate B15. Halfway there I check another board. Flight cancelled.

I went to the original gate but no one was there. I went to another gate and the agent sent me to B1. Thankfully the agent there, Jason, a disaffected 30-something, knew what he was doing. He told me I was already re-booked on a flight to Detroit with a connection to Albany. I sheepishly asked if there was any chance of my bag getting there. He put in a report to baggage… twice.

After wandering around the airport for a while looking for something to eat, I settled on a Chinese place in the food court. But this family came up and they were yelling – no mad but as if they were all hard of hearing. And so the food service people started yelling. It was some kind of strange circus so I left.

I ended up at a Rock Bottom Brewery and had glass upon glass of Diet Coke. The server wouldn’t stop filling the glass. I had the first food I’d had since leaving the house – chips and spinach dip. Oh delicious spinach dip!

Flight to Detroit on Northwest: was uneventful and uncomfortable. I was in a middle seat. The guy in the window seat did that dreadful male sprawl that gives one the appearance of trying to show off one’s genetalia and expand one’s own personal space with no regard for the personal space of others.

Flight to Albany: Late. The plane arrived late. We finally boarded and sat for a while until we were permitted to go to the de-icing area. De-iced and took off. Arrived in Albany after a bumpy landing about an hour late.

My bag beat me to Albany. They had twenty people without bags and lots of bags without people. But my bag was there. With a giant tag that said RUSH/EXPIDITE.

Walking out into the Albany airport was like walking into wall. Some places are suspended in time by memory and when you get there and nothing has actually changed, you become suspended in time.

And that where the real journey begins.

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