*written during the first of three flights (CLE to LGA)
Oh man, the adventure has already begun (as evidenced by the buckets of sweat coming off my face).
P came to my house at 8:30am this morning but stated that the heat in his car wasn't working. I said that we could take my car, but P noted that my back left car tire was flat! (I couldn't believe this, especially as I had just driven my car late last night, driving home from work).
We started to take his car but after five or ten miles he noted that his heat or engine light had just come on. We pulled off at the next BP station near 83 and 71. P's engine was steaming. Great. Any hope of it being a quick fix was soon dashed as I saw the steam coming out of his hood. Realizing that time was ticking, I offered to call my ex-boyfriend K to see if he could take me the rest of the way. P contacted his brother while I contacted K to see if it was even possible for him to come rescue me. K said that he could do it. I said that I would contact him in 5 minutes after I assessed the situation. Well, after 5 minutes, things didn't look better. I called K and stated, "I need you." This was around 9:07am. I wanted to be at the airport by 9:55am. K arrived around 9:30am. I had called him a few minutes earlier to see if he was close.
K arrived but in someone else's car (a co-worker of his). Turns out that K had walked to work today! Oh man. He did arrive; bless his heart. It seemed like he actually drove fast on 71 which I appreciated. We didn't talk much.
We got to the Continental drop-off area around 10:07am. Knowing that I had to check my bags 45 minutes before departure, I booked it to the counter. K refused the $20 I offered for him and his co-worker to split. He's a saint (K).
I checked my bags, no problem. There was a long security line. Great. Approximately 15 people in front of me. It was when I observed the slow pace of the security checkers that I began to freak. I contacted Dad and said, "We might have a problem." He encouraged me to go to the front of the line and ask if I could jump ahead because I had an international connection.
He also told me to cry to help my case.
There wasn't a clear path to the front of the line, so I decided to wait. When the guy checked my ticket and passport, though, I jumped over to the elite security line and asked a bald-headed man who looked about my age if I could cut in front of him. He said, "sure, but I don't know about the people behind me." I looked at the man behind him who luckily smiled (a sign that it was okay). Phew. The bald man asked where I was going. I said, "Africa." He then asked what had happened this morning. I told him about P's car, all while taking off my shoes, coat etc. etc.
I rushed through security and hurriedly gathered my belongings. One of the older TSA gentlemen looked at me with a friendly face and said something like, "You're okay. Slow down." I wanted to say, "No, I'm not okay! I have to book it!"...but I didn't.
Luckily, there was a guy on one of those carts sitting by security, so I got him to take me to the D concourse. I gave him a $1.00 tip. I then bypassed the other cart at the bottom of the stairs and ran/walked quickly along the tunnel to D17. I finally got to the gate (the farthest one away!), only to learn that they weren't boarding yet.
I really had to go pee, so I called Dad as I headed toward the bathroom. Dad had started to look for alternative flights during this time. I was out of breath. I told him that I made it. He said that he would see me at baggage claim (at LGA). As the flight wasn't boarding yet, I filled up my Nalgene at a drinking fountain. I walked back to the gate and called Mom and explained how the adventure had already begun. Oh man! Mom said, "I love you!" and mentioned how things always seem to work out in "Kate fashion." I ended the call because we began to board the plane.
The flight people said that it was up to me on whether I wanted to gate check my bag. I decided to bring it on, especially since I had a single seat. It's a tight squeeze, but it works. I'm in 18A, the last single seat in the back row. It's all good :) I got orange juice to drink. Now on to see Dad!..."