Well played, Travel Gods. Well played indeed.
Just when I thought the luck and good karma I had developed last week in Boston and Philadelphia had maybe opened up a new door of opportunity for me, you reminded me who’s really in charge.
See, folks, the Travel Gods always win. I can’t really complain about this morning’s trip to EWR, we left on time and even arrived a little early, but I was reminded nearly every step of the way who makes the rules to this game.
5:55 AM: I arrived at RDU for my 6:55 flight. I’d gotten my typical spot in section 3U and all seemed well. I went up the escalator to the main level and saw something a man should not have to see at such an hour; a security line at RDU.
Normally, I need all of 10 minutes to clear security at RDU. There’s no line downstairs and usually the upstairs line has about 20 people in it. (Side note: I’m having a very hard time typing on my laptop today. This is not going well at all). Well, the entire queue area downstairs was filled and the line was spilling down the concourse towards the baggage claim. If this were EWR, things would be fine. I allow a week and a half to get through security up here. In Raleigh, I allow about 10 minutes. So, I checked in and got on the line. It was a little after 6:00 by now. Unless things went well, I could potentially be cutting it very close to board the plane.
Fortunately, this was just a tease from the Gods and I was through security and re-shoed by 6:35. I had time to walk to the gate and take in the scene. And what a scene is was. For some reason, the flight had an abundance of foreigners on it; foreigners who had never been to an airport before. A particular group of Chinese men were blocking the entrance to the Jetway and just fucking up the whole boarding process.
It was finally my time to board, and I started down the ramp. I got on the plane and it was packed. There was nary an inch of overhead space to be found. Anyone want to know why? Because our plane had 5 life rafts. They were in the overhead bins. I was happy knowing that I could have used one of the rafts in the event that we found ourselves flying over the mountains of India (stay with me people, this is a Temple of Doom reference) with Kate Capshaw and Data from the Goonies.
I found a space to shove my laptop bag into and disturbed the 2 idiots already seated and buckled into my row. Morons.
I got in my seat and noticed that the 3 Chinese Nationals were directly in front of me; yelling at each other in Chinese. Then, I was nearly rendered unconscious. The man next to me (also of foreign descent) must have been smuggling a dead cat under his jacket. I can’t think of any other reason why he would have smelled so bad. This was the kind of odor that you could taste. It was thick. And, the plane had shut off the air system, so things were getting stuffy. I tried to sit as close to the window as possible and stay far away from the stink cloud. Again, the Gods were sending a message.
We took off and got underway.
The dude in front of me slammed his seat back into my lap. Then he raised it. Then he lowered it. Then he raised it. I could go on repeating those 2 sentences for an hour, or you could imagine what it was like. For the next 65 minutes this guy kept rocking back and forth. Usually during the up swings, Mr. Stinky would lean over towards me and envelop me in his foulness. I’d say it’s an hour and a half that I want back, but I get the feeling that’s not happening any time soon.
So, here I am in NJ. The crew is crabby. It’s a lot of fun for the whole family.