Getting the hell out of Texas
Last week, I left Texas for Alabama. My travel time should have totaled five and a half hours. It took me more than twelve.
It was 9.45 AM.
I should have suspected that it would NOT be a good day when I arrived at the San Angelo airport ticket counter and the ticket agent refused to allow my two suitcases to be checked, weighing fifty-two and fifty-seven pounds. She frowned and snapped that I could either lighten their loads each to fifty pounds or pay one hundred dollars apiece to offset their extra weight. Okay, the fifty-seven pound suitcase--understandable. But fifty-two pounds? Seriously?
Frankly, I was pretty impressed with myself for cramming my entire life into two suitcases and a carry on. I had managed to condense everything I would need for my three months with Dan--my entire summer wardrobe, reading stockpile, and stationery collection--into a little more than one hundred pounds worth! Minimalist I am not. The ticket agent, however, did not seem to share in my admiration of my light packing skills.
So Dan and I frantically began cramming the clothes from my two suitcases into my carry on duffel. My carry on became increasingly heavy and resistant to zipping as we move between the checked bags and the scale. Fifty-one and a half pounds. Damn. Reshuffle. Okay, forty-eight and a half pounds. But wait, the other one was overweight. You get the idea.
We finally scored suitcases that clocked in at precisely fifty pounds and I made my way to the security line. Although the distance between the ticket counter and the security line in the San Angelo airport probably totals fifteen feet, the walk took me awhile since I carried a duffle now the equivalent of my body weight on my right shoulder. So much for a romantic and sentimental goodbye to my husband.
It was 10.15 AM.
The flight did not leave for another hour and a half, apparently fairly typical and in fact good for the San Angelo airport.
When we finally disembarked the aircraft in Dallas, about half of our plane of course missed their connections, but I had a full hour before I needed to catch my flight. Oh, but I found out that my flight was cancelled because of an "aircraft malfunction." My confidence in commercial airlines increases by the minute. Another flight was not scheduled to depart for Birmingham for six hours. Terrific--I could stay in Texas for even longer! And I still had my forty pound duffel strapped to my shoulder.
It was 2.05 PM.
A sweet ticket agent took pity on me and checked my duffel (he didn't threaten to charge me an overweight fee or even charge me at all, for that matter), and I proceeded to waste six hours of my life in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. I visited and walked every concourse. I read. I counted the number of ice cream and frozen yogurt shops (seven). I really wished that I had a smartphone.
On the bright side, the bathrooms in the Dallas airport had hand soap AND paper towels, unlike the San Angelo airport. Gold mine.
It was 4.17 PM.
But my so-not-even-close-to-Chipotle naked burrito bowl salad cost more than the twelve dollar meal voucher American Airlines gave me. I shelled out two dollars of my own for some slimy, cold, oil-drenched sauteed vegetables and canned black beans, and then, to dampen my chagrin at having to pay for such disgusting food, purchased dark chocolate covered espresso beans. May as well lose big, right? The Dallas airport now has far more of my money than I care to admit.
It was 8.05 PM.
I boarded the plane and finally made it to Birmingham. With the fifty other bleary-eyed, agitatedly resigned passengers, I headed down to the baggage claim area to find one of my bags, only then to discover that the carousel for the Dallas flight luggage had mysteriously stopped. Where, oh where were my other two suitcases?
It was 10.55 PM.